Acadian Hard Times: The Farm Security Administration in Maine's St. John Valley, 1940-1943

C. Stewart Doty, Author University of Maine Press $37.43 (184p) ISBN 978-0-89101-071-5
Delano was sent to St. John Valley in 1940 to photograph the ``Rural Rehabilitation'' efforts of the Farm Security Administration, a New Deal agency. Collier followed in 1942-1943, fashioning a ``picture story'' of the region's progress, a la Life magazine, by photographing the daily routines of two farm families. The economy of the valley was devastated by the Depression, when the price of its major crop, potatoes, plummeted. After a thorough yet somewhat tedious history of the FSA's role in the area, we are shown the stark, peculiarly affecting photographs of the region and its inhabitants. Descended from exiled French colonists of Nova Scotia (originally called Acadia), these families appear in plain dress and with plain faces, planting potatoes, milking cows and weaving blankets. Most striking are the pictures of the Daigles and their two-room farmhouse, which housed father Oneil, mother Irene and eventually their 16 children. A final section, by Walas, portrays the valley today and includes contemporary photographs of pk Delano's and Collier's subjects, most of whom no longer live there. Doty, a historian, is the author of The First Franco-Americans. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Hardcover - 184 pages - 978-0-89101-070-8
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