Fathers and Daughters

The instinctual bond between father and daughter is so fundamental that it must be writ deep within us at the level of blood and bone.

Below are five photographic portrayals of a father and daughter: three by John Vachon and two by Russell Lee. Four of the five were shot in 1939 during each man’s work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), while the one from 1943 is associated with the FSA’s World War II era successor, the Office of War Information (OWI).

Enough said as the photographs speak plainly and clearly for themselves.

Father and Daughter at Tygart Valley Homesteads, West Virginia. Photograph by John Vachon, June 1939.

Father and Daughter at Tygart Valley Homesteads, West Virginia. Photograph by John Vachon, June 1939. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8a04282

Father and Daughter, Kempton, West Virginia. Photograph by John Vachon, May 1939.

Father and Daughter, Kempton, West Virginia. Photograph by John Vachon, May 1939. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8a04106

Father and Daughter in Front of the Drugstore, San Augustine, Texas. Photograph by John Vachon, April 1943.

Father and Daughter in Front of the Drugstore, San Augustine, Texas. Photograph by John Vachon, April 1943. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8d28834

Migrant Father and Daughter near Harlingen, Texas. Photograph by Russell Lee, February 1939.

Migrant Father and Daughter near Harlingen, Texas. Photograph by Russell Lee, February 1939. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8a2526

Migrant Father and Daughter in Camp. Edinburg, Texas. Photograph by Russell Lee, February 1939.

Migrant Father and Daughter in Camp. Edinburg, Texas. Photograph by Russell Lee, February 1939. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8b37318

Learn More:

  • See more than FSA/OWI 250 black-and-white photographs of children with adults featuring a variety of combinations such as fathers with daughters, mothers with sons, etc. You may also enjoy browsing the FSA/OWI Subject Index which presents the categories assigned in the 1940s to make it possible to browse this extensive pictorial record by what is depicted.
  • A Library of Congress Wise Guide about Father’s Day recounts the history of a designated day to honor fathers from conception to the 1966 official declaration by President Lyndon Johnson.

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