The Depression

Just fourteen years old at the start of the Great Depression in 1930, Alfred Watson lived in a small house near the Ohio River with his mother, sister, grand-parents, and two uncles. His father had deserted the family in 1924, and the family was forced to survive solely on his Grandfather Thorn’s $95 railroad pension.  

The hardships of his childhood years in Pennsylvania. are reflected in his late Depression photographs.


 This poignant image of an elderly homeless woman on the side of the road was taken in Venango County, PA in 1939.  The anguished look on her face reveals the deprivation she and so many Americans faced on a daily basis during the Great Depression.                 


This portrait of a blind man sitting in a chair in front of his dilapidated house was taken in Rouseville, PA.  The battered front door with its broken frame and torn screen gives visual proof of the hardship of his daily life. A dog looking watchfully out the door adds a sense of humanity to the scene.


A young boy looks eagerly thru a storefront window at a small dog in Dormont, Pennsylvania during the late depression. The detail of the boy’s hat and coat adds to the scene as does the advertisement for wingtip shoes on the store’s window.