Telling the Story of a Nation

The Migrant Worker

37-cent Ditched, Stalled, and Stranded stamp
The stamp featuring Dorothea Lange's photograph "Ditched, Stalled, and Stranded, Joaquin Valley, California" was issued June 13, 2002.

Some of the most striking portrayals of the average American during the twentieth century are captured in photography. One such image known as “Ditched, Stalled, and Stranded, Joaquin Valley, California” by American photographer Dorothea Lange shows a migrant worker. The image effectively depicts the feelings of despair and frustration experienced by many during the Great Depression, when Lange took this photograph.

“Ditch, Stalled, and Stranded, Joaquin Valley, California” was issued on a stamp in June 2002 as part of the Masters of American Photography Issue, designed by USPS art director Derry Noyes. It was imperative to the Postal Service that the issue utilized images that represented the major fields of photography. The issue, while focusing on photography as an art form, also depicted subjects showcasing many different peoples and backgrounds including women, African Americans, and Native Americans. The images had to represent all regions of the United States, and the designers of the series placed a special emphasis on depicting the western part of the country. While creating the series, Noyes was careful not to place pictures of similar subjects close together and at the same time keeping the works in chronological order.

32-cent America Survives the Depression stamp
Another photograph taken by Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression expressing the desperation of the period was "Migrant Mother." This image was featured on a postage stamp as part of the 1998-2000 Celebrate the Century Stamp Series.