Exhibitions/ Art Object

[A Frontier Home]

Albumen silver print from glass negative
Sheet: 7 3/8 × 9 15/16 in. (18.8 × 25.2 cm) Image: 7 3/8 × 9 9/16 in. (18.8 × 24.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Sam Salz Foundation Gift, 2005
Accession Number:
Not on view
The Homestead Act of 1862 provided that any citizen or applicant for citizenship who was either the head of a family or twenty-one years of age (or, if younger, had served in wartime not less than fourteen days in the U.S. Army or Navy) could apply for ownership of 160 acres of unappropriated public land, and would acquire title to the land by residing on and cultivating the land for five years. An addendum to this act provided that after six months the land title could be acquired by paying $1.25 per acre.
Somewhere in the Great Plains a family sits on the porch of their new home, taking the late afternoon breeze. The father tilts back in his chair with an air of satisfied ownership, and the mother shows off their child. In the raw expanse of the West, they are comforted by a bit of millwork gingerbread on the barn and by a slender white washed fence picketing their small yard. The photograph focuses on the essential relationship between family, shelter, and the land, and is a rare view of formative domesticity in the American West.
Inscription: [no inscriptions or annotations]
[Rinhart Galleries]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, June 14, 1982

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