Exhibit features photographs of the Great Depression

The Telegram staff
"Girl with Mattress Springs"  in California, by Dorothea Lange, 1935, US Farm Security Administration.

MONTEZUMA - The Stauth Memorial Museum is presenting a focused exhibition of original lifetime prints by the legendary documentary photographer Dorothea Lange through Aug. 14. 

“Dorothea Lange’s America: Photographs of the Great Depression”  is highlighting with oversized exhibition prints of her seminal portraits from the Great Depression, including White Angel Breadline, Migratory Farm Worker, and, most famously, Migrant Mother – an emblematic picture that came to personify pride and resilience in the face of abject poverty in 1930s America. 

Lange herself had known adversity early in life. She was stricken with polio at age 7, and impoverished when her father disappeared from the scene at age 12, so she and her mother lived in Hoboken and rode the ferry to lower Manhattan, to working-class neighborhood teeming with immigrants. During that period Lange learned photography from a diverse set of teachers. She opened a thriving portrait studio that catered to San Francisco’s professional class and monied elite after moving there in 1918. 

But with the crash of 1929 she found her true calling, she became a chronicler of the many faces of America as they dealt with unprecedented hardship, sometimes with resilience, often with despondence. Her immortal portraits seared these faces of the Depression era into America’s consciousness. 

This expanded version of the exhibition is supplemented by other notable social documentarians of the era. All works are from the collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg. This exhibition was organized by art2art Circulating Exhibitions.

The exhibit is supplemented by artifacts of Montezuma residents and include:  

-  Marsha Koehn showing a 1933 Star Quilt that her grandpa, Reuben Schmidt, won at the Methodist Church Women’s Raffle and a collection of papers from the Homestead School 1901-1941. 

-  Kim Legleiter brought furniture passed down from her family that are still used today, a Cox family children's rocking chair and Woolwine family handmade bassinet. 

-  Carrie Nichols displaying a floral plate and platter remaining from a full set won by her parents at a local store.

-  Al and Kim Olinger showing family photos from both sides of their family, the Crump’s and the Palmers.

-  June Smith brought a cream can ladle a chamber pot including the lid. 

-  Claude and Donalda Stauth’s rolling pin and waterfall buffet.

-  Susan Williams sharing some printed stories of family members who lived through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl as well as a copy of the book, The Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History that includes 1930s family photos taken near Garden City.

-  Connie Yost is displaying a pink Depression Glass dish. 

-  Denton Unruh of Sublette is displaying a large framed photo from the Green Family Collection of children wearing goggles that was used in the Ken Burns BPS documentary and book, The Dust Bowl; An Illustrated History. 

-  Bobby Woolwine of Dodge City is displaying family ration books from WWII, 1920 book of townships of Ford County and a 1919 Ford County property map.

This exhibit sponsored in part by a grant from the Robert and Shirley Beals Endowment at the Community Foundation of Southwest Kansas.

The museum’s hours are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.   The museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays and all major holidays. 

Admission is free, but donations are accepted to help pay for the temporary and traveling exhibits. Check out the museum’s website at www.stauthmemorialmuseum.org for more information about this and other exhibits.