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Arthur Rothstein/Library of Congress

"The FSA (Farm Security Administration) home supervisor has helped this woman make her dress out of flour sacks and decorate her curtain with splatter work. Osage Farms, Missouri," November 1939. 

Profiles: Neita Dudman

Saturday, December 24th, 2011 

Born 1927
Stephenville, Texas

They put plant flour sacks in nice prints and mothers would save those flour sacks and make dresses. And I had one particular friend whose mother did that, and she was very proud of those flour-sack dresses. And they were nice; it was good cloth. I think that was a sign of the Depression that you couldn’t just go to the store and buy anything you wanted and needed.

During the Depression, we lived in a two-bedroom home. We had two young men who roomed and boarded for a year or two.

There was a poor farm in her town, which was the county seat.

This is before any kind of welfare, any kind of government welfare that I know of. When people couldn’t support themselves, they were sometimes sent to the county farm. I don’t know if they were able to work, if they had doctors or nurses out there, but the housing was very poor. There may have been several rooms or apartments in a row. It seems to me that they weren’t painted, just wood. A friend of mine, her father ran the farm, which is how I came to see it.

Interview by Michael Lawson

This profile was produced with help from sources in the Public Insight Network from American Public Media.

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The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

Check out the first chapter of Barlett and Steele's 2012 book here.