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Children of the Depression in 1930s Georgetown

Great series of photos of poorer sections of Georgetown in the 1930s, taken by Carl Mydans for the Farm Security Administration.
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This is a fascinating series of photos taken by Carl Mydans in September 1935. He was a photographer who worked for both Life Magazine and the Farm Security Administration. This is a series of photos we dug up at the Library of Congress.

He devoted himself to photography while he was a student at Boston University, having abandoned alternative career aspirations to become a photojournalist. In 1935 he went to Washington to join a group of photographers to document conditions of American rural workers. Below are the some of the images he took while wandering the streets of Georgetown, then a much less posh neighborhood with some serious pockets of poverty. And of course, don’t forget that the country was in the depths of the Great Depression.

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Poor whites, Georgetown, D.C.

These images show a very different side of Georgetown from what we’re used to today.

Poor children playing on sidewalk, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
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Poor children playing on sidewalk, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Despite being labeled poor, these children certainly look happy and joyous … and aren’t glued to their iPhones.

Poor children playing on sidewalk, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
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All you need is your buddies and a broken fruit basket to play with.

Poor children playing on sidewalk, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

This little group seems thrilled with a little wooden toy.

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White children playing in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Children playing on sidewalk, the only available playground. Georgetown, inhabited by both white and Negro, Washington, D.C.

Also, take a look at these great cars parked on the side of the street. Maybe this is O Street?

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Children at play on street, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Check out the box of toilet paper from the Scott Paper Company.

Poor white hallway, Georgetown, D.C. Seldom do these people have even the desire to clear up rubbish, and the broom shown here seems to be out of place
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The hallway above is looking a bit rough for sure. The label and commentary on the photo seems a bit unnecessary though, “seldom to these people have even the desire to clear up rubbish.”

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