Wow ~ Iconic images! Sometimes an image captures an entire era in one frame, and this is an example of one of our photos that matches that description. This picture has been used in books, documentaries, and as wall art countless times, and yet there is no definite information about who the people are, where they are, or when the photo was taken. Its mysterious origin befits the all-encompassing impact of the image: it perfectly illustrates the quintessential pioneer experience ~ the whole family together with all of their worldly possessions, tired yet inspired, doggedly dignified, and headed "West."
Explore the pioneer experience here at the Western History and Genealogy Department, among our many varied collections that provide primary documentation of the amazing era of the settlement of the West. We have a vast number of books, photographs, maps, and manuscripts about the various gold rushes, railroads, ranching, and cultural waves that characterized America's pioneer days.
To see a curated group of "iconic" photos from our collections, use the tag "tag:iconic," or you can search for "covered wagons," "families," "pioneer," or "gold mining," to explore a wider range of images. Whatever your interest, it's pretty much guaranteed you'll find it in some form in the Western History and Genealogy Department of the Denver Public Library.
"Wow Photo Wednesday" celebrates photographs in the Denver Public Library's Digital Collections that have "The Wow Factor" and that highlight the myriad delightful nuggets in our database.
It looks like my wife and kids with me on the ground. Aint got no shoes for the young uns. We headed west with only a dream. wow
So i have rhe original picture of this. Tbis is of thd oregon trail its a kelley family picture. My grandma made us family tree books
Hi Zachary -
If you have an original of this photo with documentation, there are literally 1000s of people who would be eternally grateful if you could share that information. If it's convenient for you, please contact the Denver Public Library Western History staff and they will be delighted to correct the information on the photo after looking at your evidence. Thanks!
Is it possible to use this image "A Pioneer Family" on the cover of a booklet I am writing for the Mendon/Honeoye Falls Library? Thanks.
Mendon Town Historian
Thanks for asking, Diane. Please submit your request through our order form at https://history.denverlibrary.org/order-photos and our photo services specialist will get back to you.
For classroom use, how do I cite this photo?
The proper citation is: Denver Public Library Special Collections, X-11929.
The string of numbers is the photo's call number. Hope this helps!
Thanks so much!