Unidentified family helping pick potatoes in the field


Unidentified family helping pick potatoes in the field


Black and white (overexposed) image of a woman with several small children sitting in a bare field. She kneels beside a wire basket and wears gloves and arm guards as she picks potatoes up from the ground. Small children stand with her, while one slightly older child kneels nearby, holding a potato ready to place in the bag behind her. The wooden bar which holds a harvesting bag open so the worker can more easily fill it rests across her lap. These bags were traditionally suspended between the workers legs, with the worker bending over at the waist to fill the bag as it drags along the ground with each step. Another worker harvest potatoes in the distance, and filled bags are scattered about the field itself. The shadow of the photographer dominates the center of the image. Museum records identify the people in the image as members of a group of 'potato pickers,' most likely migrant workers. Migrant farm labor has been an important part of agriculture in Washington County since the early 1900s, though the cultural groups which provide the majority of the laborers have changed over time.

Date Created

circa 1959


gelatin silver negatives




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Still Image