Where People Live (1886-1943)

Where People Live- banner

Historical context

We all live somewhere, but that somewhere varies depending on location, socio-economic status, cultural background, and some factors out of our control, such as wars or natural disasters. This is true for people in the past, too. Because of new technologies and industrialization, some of the places we live now are very different from the places people lived in the past. Note: we deliberately use the phrase "places people live" instead of "homes," to be sensitive to students' various living conditions. We also use "similar and different" and avoid "better and worse", for the same reason.

Culturally relevant pedagogy considerations

An important consideration to make when comparing the human experience across time and culture is to explicitly discuss and define the concepts of same and different. There are often unconscious connections draw between the idea of "same" and the idea of "better"; conversely unconcious connections may be drawn between the idea of "different" and "worse". Consider how those unconscious biases may affect how you view these photographs and explicitly explore that concept with students as they observe this set. Push them to find connections rather than become preoccupied with the unfamiliar. Finally, ensure that a clear purpose guides their thinking about these images and why it matters for students to look at them today.

Classroom ready resources

Where People Live: Text to Self Activity (Elementary)

Places People Live (Elementary School)

Connecting to Our School Neighborhood (Elementary School)

Where People Live sod house

Sylvester Rawding family sod house, Nebraska

Date: 1886
Creator: Solomon D. Butcher
Type: Photograph

Where People live pine ridge reservation

Young Oglala girl sitting in front of a tipi, Pine Ridge Reservation

Date: 1891
Creator: John C. H. Grabill
Type: Photograph

Georgia Porch

Home of an African American lawyer, Atlanta, Georgia

Date: 1899 or 1900
Creator: Thomas E. Askew
Type: Photograph


Yard of tenement, New York

Date: 1900-1910
Creator: Detroit Publishing Company
Type: Photograph


Eskimo igloo

Date: 1900-1930
Creator: Lomen Bros.
Type: Photograph


Hopi Indian pueblo, southwest United States

Date: 1913
Creator: Unknown
Type: Photograph

Ohio Suburb

Houses on Laconia Street in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio

Date: 1935
Creator: Carl Mydans
Type: Photograph

Lousiana Bayou

Fisherman’s home along the bayou, Akers, Louisiana

Date: 1938
Creator: Russell Lee
Type: Photograph

California Trailer

Family moving into trailer at the FSA camp for defense workers

Date: 1941
Creator: Russell Lee
Type: Photograph

New Mexico

Trampas, New Mexico. The home of Juan Lopez, the majordomo (mayor)

Date: 1943
Creator: John Collier, Jr.
Type: Photograph


Meghan Davisson (meghan.davisson@mnhs.org), grant director

Disclaimer: Content created and featured in partnership with the TPS program does not indicate an endorsement by the Library of Congress.