Rare color photos from the Depression

Rare color photos from the Great Depression were compiled by the Farm Services Administration from 1939 and 1944 –so it’s really more a mix of the Depression and the War years. These depictions of mostly rural life, however, have a lot to say about hard times, and their vivid colors bring to life what black and white, no matter how aesthetically pleasing, sometimes distances the viewer from.

Photographers working for the U.S. government’s Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 made approximately 1,600 color photographs that depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The pictures focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working.

To browse the entire collection, visit the Library of Congress web site.

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