Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Volume 44, Page 59, May 4, 1942; cardboard notebook bound with string, 8 1/2 x 11 inches; Gift of the Charles E. Burchfield Foundation, 2000
59. in spite of their all too evident poverty and shiftlessness, fundamentally well-bred - that is, they sensed that they should not watch too long, or talk (which is something people of greater apparent culture and opportunity, do not know) Everything about them and their belongings suggested extreme poverty, due to indifference and wastefulness. The 3 children were thinly clad, and altho the morning was raw and cold, they were bare foot. (Their feet were raw + red) - still one young woman apparently the mother, had on a fur jacket, and smoked cigarettes. An older lady, probably the grandmother, was thin + won and emaciated, obviously defeated by her circumstances. Squalor, worse because it was unnecessary is the only word that can describe their state. In accordance with this, the three dogs they had were thin, and mangy.
Cruelty seems to go hand in hand with poverty often - in was so (sic) in their case, at any rate - the mother following the children at their play with a long switch, and the children in turn tortured the dogs -
There always seemed to be someone going in or out of the place - and they did not lack for cars - two nice looking cars stood in the drive-way - and another of older vintage stood in the farm yard - In addition two or three trucks seemed to belong there.
All this was in violent contrast to the theme of my picture, and I realized that all I could gather here was realistic data, and that the real creative work would have to come later in the studio