Dorothea Lange

American (Hoboken, New Jersey, 1895 - 1965, San Francisco, California)

White Angel Breadline, San Francisco

photograph | gelatin silver print
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  • White Angel Breadline, San Francisco

    Dorothea Lange, White Angel Breadline, San Francisco, 1933; gelatin silver print, 12 1/4 in. x 10 1/8 in. (31.12 cm x 25.72 cm); Collection SFMOMA, The Henry Swift Collection, gift of Florence Alston Swift;

Although Dorothea Lange is best known for the iconic Depression-era photographs she made under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration, this picture is one of her first attempts at street photography, taken well before she began working for the government. It records a hungry person at the White Angel Jungle, a soup kitchen near Lange's San Francisco studio. Lois Jordan, the "white angel," was a working-class widow of limited resources who relied only on unsolicited donations to run the breadline. Jordan's compassionate and practical response to human suffering likely contributed to Lange's decision to leave her portrait studio practice and begin using her camera as a tool for social change.

12 1/4 in. x 10 1/8 in. (31.12 cm x 25.72 cm)
Acquired 1963
Collection SFMOMA
The Henry Swift Collection, gift of Florence Alston Swift


hunger, soup kitchens, men, crowds, waiting, poverty, general strikes, Depression, San Francisco, Bay Area, California

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