The Harvest Gypsies

Context

Overview

1936 photography for The Harvest GypsiesThe Harvest Gypsies (1936) is a collection of seven newspaper articles John Steinbeck was commissioned to write for the San Francisco News, which were published consecutively from October 5 to October 12, 1936. In 1938 the Simon J. Lubin Society published The Harvest Gypsies, with an added eighth chapter, in pamphlet form under the title, Their Blood is Strong.

Hundreds of thousands of Dust Bowl migrants were pouring into California from the Central Plains during the 1930s seeking work and ending up greatly impoverished in makeshift, roadside camps known as Hoovervilles. Steinbeck traveled through the labor camps and fields with Tom Collins, staff member of the Federal Resettlement Administration, recording the terrible living conditions faced by the migrants. Besides leading to one of his earliest works of journalism, Steinbeck's experiences touring the migrant camps would lay the foundation for his most famous work, The Grapes of Wrath (1939).

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