In the 1930's the Federal government sent a group of photographers across the U.S. to photograph the effects of the Great Depression and government efforts to alleviate it. The photographers worked for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Some of the photos were used in the famous 1941 book "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men", which documented the lives of sharecroppers in the South. When WWII started some of the photographers went to the Office of War Information (OWI) to photograph the homefront war effort. After the war the FSA-OWI photos were transferred to the Library of Congress.
Altogether the FSA-OWI photographers took about 160,000 black and white and 1600 color photos. The color photos were Kodak Kodachrome slides, which had just become available and which hold their color far better than older color photo techniques. The color photos sat unused in the Library of Congress archives until rediscovered in 1978. They were the subject of the book "Bound For Glory: America in Color 1939-43", published in 2005.
The FSA-OWI photos constitute the largest and most famous photographic documentary of America. No other country has such a complete photographic record for a period of its history. The photos are available on the Library of Congress website. The photos displayed in this album were obtained by downloading and editing the original .tif files. They were edited for color, contrast, and brightness, and resized and converted to .jpg format.