US History Federspiel, May, 1999

Assignment Goals:

  • To learn about styles and subjects of New Deal-era photographers
  • To gain an appreciation of the reality of the Dust Bowl and migrant life
  • To see some of the scenes that Steinbeck would have seen while researching The Grapes of Wrath
  • To learn about the purposes and accomplishments of the FSA and OWI

Resources Used:

You will be using the Library of Congress online collection, America from the Depression to World War II: Black and White Photographs from the FSA-OWI 1935-1945. You will also need to use an intercalary chapter from The Grapes of Wrath.

Assignment Components:

Part One: Learning About the Photographers and the FSA-OWI (10 points)

Begin by using the Special Presentation entitled "Documenting America: Photographers on Assignment" which can be found on the collection's homepage (see url above). You are to:

  • read through all 7 photographers' sections, looking at the examples given of their works
  • select one photographer whom you would like to investigate further
  • do a search on the collection using the photographer's name, to identify his/her photographs included in this collection
  • complete a photograph ranking sheet and turn it in.

Part Two: Create a photo scrapbook that visualizes one of the intercalary chapters in The Grapes of Wrath. (40 points; 20 for images, 20 text)

For this part, you will be working with one or two other people to complete a visual study of the topic of the intercalary chapter assigned to you (see assignments below). Think of this visual project as a way of creating a "scrapbook" of your particular intercalary chapter. The photos should help us understand the theme (Steinbeck's point) for this particular chapter.

To complete this portion, you will need to:

  • search (by keyword or subject heading) for photographs related to the topic of your intercalary chapter (for example you could look under "dust," "migration," "camps," "Okies," "Cotton," "farming," "family," etc.)
  • select and save the best four photographs that you can find to illustrate the topic and the message of your intercalary chapter (use bookmarks to help tag potential selections).
  • create a word processing file which contains the images and accompanying text. At the top of this file you should indicate the intercalary chapter you are using, and what it is about. For each photograph you should indicate what it shows, the photographer’s name, and why you chose to include it (i.e. what makes it powerful in relation to your topic). You may wish to include language from your intercalary chapter in the manner of a ‘found poem’ as we did with our ‘Dust Poems.’
  • Place the file in my American History turn-in folder.

Intercalary Chapter Assignments

Intercalary Chapter Group Members

Chapter 3--Turtle Farhan, Meghan H., Laura McD.
Chapter 5--Tractor Elizabeth, Sara H., Megan M.
Chapter 7--Cars Amy B., Chris J., Kara M.
Chapter 9--Selling Possessions Chris B., Charles K., Andrew P.
Chapter 11--Tractor/Houses April B., John K., Chelsea R.
Chapter 12--Route 66 Christina B., Graham K., Jennifer R.
Chapter 14--Manself Adam B., Kristina K., Zach S.
Chapter 15--Diner Kyle B., Christin L, Simone S.
Chapter 17--Camps Sean B., James L, Andrea S.
Chapter 19--Hooverville Sam D., Jill MacD., Nick T.
Chapter 21--Owners/Okies Stefanie D., Morgan M., Laura T.
Chapter 23--Camps/Activities John Haiducek, Michelle M., Heather W.

Even if it means reading your intercalary chapter out of order, you should read the chapter before you go to library on Thursday, May 6.

Due Dates:
Part I--Individual Photographer Sheet- 10 points--FRIDAY, MAY 8

Part II--Group Project / Photo scrapbook - 40 points -- THURSDAY, MAY 14
Dust Bowl Photos from the FSA / OWI

Photograph Ranking Sheet


Your Name:_________________________________________________

Photographer Chosen: ______________________________________

1. Most "Artistic" Photograph
Reason Chosen:

2. Best "Person" Photograph 
Reason Chosen:

3. Best "Place" Photograph 
Reason Chosen:

4. Best "Depression" Photograph 
Reason Chosen: