Home of Peacock family, RR (Rural Rehabilitation), four 4 years. Coffee County, Alabama

Marion Post Wolcott, Coffee County, Alabama, 1939

Wolcott used quilts as props in her shots of the exterior of the Peacock family’s home, another client family who had at the time of the photos been part of the Rural Rehabilitation Program for four years. The three boys and father wear overhauls, while the mother and daughter appear in clean, cheery dresses, posed on the front steps of their wooden farmhouse. Hanging on the porch behind them are five quilts, two with their patchwork fronts showing.  In this series of photos of the this “rehabilitated” family, Wolcott also picture shelves of canned food, and a nutritious family meal in progress, with the caption “Through help and supervision of home and field supervisors, diet and health of many RR (Rural Rehabilitation) families have been greatly improved. The Peacock family (RR four years) had for dinner (noon meal): sausage, cabbages, carrots, rice, tomatoes, cornbread, canned figs, bread pudding and milk.” This caption credits the FSA supervisors, many of whom appear in other of Wolcott’s Coffee County photographs showing the Rural Rehabilitation program’s work in progress, emphasizing how a bit of governmental intervention can lead to greater self-sufficiency. While perhaps in part merely a decorative backdrop, the quilts—make do objects made from scraps and used until they are threadbare, and paired with rows of canned food and other objects of domestic fortitude—symbolize this attitude of using one’s resources to better one’s families lives.

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