Cover image for Restless spirit : the life and work of Dorothea Lange
Restless spirit : the life and work of Dorothea Lange
Partridge, Elizabeth.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Viking, [1998]

Physical Description:
122 pages : illustrations; 27 cm
A biography of Dorothea Lange, whose photographs of migrant workers, Japanese American internees, and rural poverty helped bring about important social reforms.
Reading Level:
970 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.0 3.0 28226.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.6 6 Quiz: 19521 Guided reading level: Z.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR140.L3 P37 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Dorothea Lange chose to work as a photographer during a time when family was supposed to come first for a woman. Like so many women, she had a husband and children to take care of'but no matter how hard she tried, family life could not substitute for the work she loved. Her passion was photographing people. During her career, Dorothea Lange captured some of the most desperate and beautiful faces America has seen in photographs. Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange includes over sixty of Lange's extraordinary photographs printed in high quality duotones, and chronicles Lange's life from her childhood on the Lower East Side of New York, through her early years as a portrait photographer in San Francisco, to her famous work for the government photographing starving migrant workers in California. Also included are her heart-breaking photographs of Japanese Americans interned on the West Coast during World War II.Author Elizabeth Partridge has woven Lange's own words into her book, creating not just another biography, but an intimate portrait of the artist who put faces on some of the darkest episodes in America's history. Restless Spirit presents a magnificent showcase of work that will not soon be forgotten.Dorothea Lange was Elizabeth Partridge's godmother and her father was Lange's photographic assistant in the 1930s.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-12. Lange's stirring black-and-white photographs, more than 60 of them, exquisitely reproduced, provide the drama in this biography of the famous camera artist. Here are the famous pictures that brought the nation up close to the man on the bread line during the Depression, a migrant mother unable to feed her children, a sharecropper in the South, a homeless child on the road, a Japanese American family interned during World War II. The beautiful, spacious design of this photo-essay, with thick quality paper, clear type, and brief quotes from Lange at the head of each chapter, invites you to come back and look and look at her work. The pictures show how Lang got close to people and that she caught her subjects in relation to harsh, powerful events and to one another. Partridge draws on letters, journals, and oral history to give a strong sense of Lange's personal struggles as a child, a wife, and a mother; her lasting pain at her father's desertion; her shame over the disability caused by a childhood bout with polio; and her awareness as an adult that that vulnerability helped her in her work. The author also provides an insider's viewpoint: as a child, she knew Lange. Partridge's father became Lange's assistant at the age of 17, and he worked with her for years in the field and in the darkroom. Many of the photos of Lange in the book are by him, including some of Lange with the child Elizabeth. Like Freedman's, Martha Graham [BKL Ap 1 98], this fine photo-essay will interest adults as much as teens. A Junior Library Guild Selection. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-As a photographer, Lange specialized in documentary-type portraits, seeking to capture in people's faces the stories of their lives. Through the years of the Great Depression and the Second World War, she recorded the down-and-out, the oppressed, the needy. Her portrait "Migrant Mother" has become a familiar icon of hardship, a symbol of the dislocation and poverty caused by the dust bowl in the 1930s. Her camera recorded the Japanese Americans sent to internment camps in the 1940s, and in later travels she preserved the images of children around the world. As a young girl the author knew Lange and was, through her photographer father, connected with the intimate circle of Lange's family and friends. She uses personal memories; her subject's own written words in diaries, interviews, and letters; and especially a liberal selection of dramatic photographs to show the talent and the complex personality of this extraordinary woman. It was hard for Lange, in the decades in which she lived, to pursue her career while balancing family responsibilities and personal crises. She was independent, even radical, in her political thinking and social philosophy. Her story resonates with issues of gender, social policies, artistic merit, and human interest. This well-constructed, sympathetic biography deserves many readers and is a must for every library.-Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.