1939-1943: Colour photographs of America

Worker at carbon black plant. Sunray, Texas, 1942

Worker at carbon black plant. Sunray, Texas, 1942

Rural school children. San Augustine County, Texas, April 1943

Rural school children. San Augustine County, Texas, April 1943

Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, stock pile of coal and iron ore. Detroit, Michigan, November 1942

Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, stock pile of coal and iron ore. Detroit, Michigan, November 1942

Woman is working on a "Vengeance" dive bomber Tennessee, February 1943

Woman is working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber Tennessee, February 1943

P-51 'Mustang' fighter in flight. Inglewood, California, October 1942

P-51 ‘Mustang’ fighter in flight. Inglewood, California, October 1942

Assembling B-25 bombers at North American Aviation. Kansas City, Kansas, October 1942

Assembling B-25 bombers at North American Aviation. Kansas City, Kansas, October 1942

Construction work at the TVA's Douglas Dam. Tennessee, June 1942

Construction work at the TVA’s Douglas Dam. Tennessee, June 1942

Welder making boilers for a ship, Combustion Engineering Company. Chattanooga, Tennessee, June 1942

Welder making boilers for a ship, Combustion Engineering Company. Chattanooga, Tennessee, June 1942

Marine glider at Page Field. Parris Island, South Carolina, May 1942

Marine glider at Page Field. Parris Island, South Carolina, May 1942

Servicing an A-20 bomber. Langley Field, Virginia, July 1942

Servicing an A-20 bomber. Langley Field, Virginia, July 1942

Shepherd with his horse and dog on Gravelly Range Madison County, Montana, August 1942

Shepherd with his horse and dog on Gravelly Range Madison County, Montana, August 1942

Street corner. Dillon, Montana, August 1942

Street corner. Dillon, Montana, August 1942

At Beecher Street School. Southington, Connecticut, May 1942

At Beecher Street School. Southington, Connecticut, May 1942

Children stage a patriotic demonstration. Southington, Connecticut, May 1942

Children stage a patriotic demonstration. Southington, Connecticut, May 1942

Backstage at the “girlie” show at the state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941

Backstage at the “girlie” show at the state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941

Mrs. Viola Sievers, giving a giant "H" class locomotive a bath of live steam. Clinton, Iowa, April 1943

Mrs. Viola Sievers, giving a giant “H” class locomotive a bath of live steam. Clinton, Iowa, April 1943

General view of part of the South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad Chicago, Illinois, May 1943

General view of part of the South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad Chicago, Illinois, May 1943

Switch engine in yard near Calumet Park stockyards, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad. Calumet City, Illinois, January 1943

Switch engine in yard near Calumet Park stockyards, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad. Calumet City, Illinois, January 1943

Putting the finishing touches on a rebuilt caboose at the rip tracks at Proviso yard. Chicago, Illinois, April 1943

Putting the finishing touches on a rebuilt caboose at the rip tracks at Proviso yard. Chicago, Illinois, April 1943

Ike Evans, a welder, at the rip tracks at Proviso yard of the Chicago and Northwest Railway Company. Chicago, Illinois, April 1943

Ike Evans, a welder, at the rip tracks at Proviso yard of the Chicago and Northwest Railway Company. Chicago, Illinois, April 1943

Switchman throwing a switch at Chicago and Northwest Railway Company's Proviso yard. Chicago, Illinois, April 1943

Switchman throwing a switch at Chicago and Northwest Railway Company’s Proviso yard. Chicago, Illinois, April 1943

View in a departure yard at Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company's Proviso yard at twilight. Chicago, Illinois, December 1942

View in a departure yard at Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company’s Proviso yard at twilight. Chicago, Illinois, December 1942

A welder who works in the round-house at the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company's Proviso yard. Chicago, Illinois, December 1942

A welder who works in the round-house at the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company’s Proviso yard. Chicago, Illinois, December 1942

Chapel, Vadito. Near Penasco, New Mexico, Spring 1943

Chapel, Vadito. Near Penasco, New Mexico, Spring 1943

House. Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942

House. Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942

Shulman's market, on N at Union Street S.W. Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942

Shulman’s market, on N at Union Street S.W. Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942

Children aiming sticks as guns, lined up against a brick building. Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942

Children aiming sticks as guns, lined up against a brick building. Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942

African American migratory workers by a "juke joint". Belle Glade, Florida, February 1941

African American migratory workers by a “juke joint”. Belle Glade, Florida, February 1941

A store with live fish for sale. Vicinity of Natchitoches, Louisiana, July 1940

A store with live fish for sale. Vicinity of Natchitoches, Louisiana, July 1940

Boys fishing in a bayou. Schriever, Louisiana, June 1940

Boys fishing in a bayou. Schriever, Louisiana, June 1940

A crossroads store, bar, "juke joint," and gas station in the cotton plantation area. Melrose, Louisiana, June 1940

A crossroads store, bar, “juke joint,” and gas station in the cotton plantation area. Melrose, Louisiana, June 1940

African American's tenant's home beside the Mississippi River levee. Near Lake Providence, Louisiana, June 1940

African American’s tenant’s home beside the Mississippi River levee. Near Lake Providence, Louisiana, June 1940

Bayou Bourbeau plantation, a Farm Security Administration cooperative. Vicinity of Natchitoches, Louisiana, August 1940

Bayou Bourbeau plantation, a Farm Security Administration cooperative. Vicinity of Natchitoches, Louisiana, August 1940

African Americans fishing in creek near cotton plantations. Belzoni, Mississippi, October 1939

African Americans fishing in creek near cotton plantations. Belzoni, Mississippi, October 1939

Planting corn along a river. Northeastern Tennessee, May 1940

Planting corn along a river. Northeastern Tennessee, May 1940

A Fourth of July celebration. St. Helena Island, South Carolina, 1939

A Fourth of July celebration. St. Helena Island, South Carolina, 1939

Wisdom, Montana, April 1942.

Wisdom, Montana, April 1942.

Young African American boy. Cincinnati, Ohio, 1942 or 1943

Young African American boy. Cincinnati, Ohio, 1942 or 1943

Grand Grocery Company. Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942.

Grand Grocery Company. Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942.

Shasta dam under construction. California, June 1942

Shasta dam under construction. California, June 1942

Road cut into the barren hills which lead into Emmett. Emmett, Idaho, July 1941

Road cut into the barren hills which lead into Emmett. Emmett, Idaho, July 1941

On main street of Cascade. Cascade, Idaho, July 1941

On main street of Cascade. Cascade, Idaho, July 1941

Hay stack and automobile of peach pickers. Delta County, Colorado, 1940

Hay stack and automobile of peach pickers. Delta County, Colorado, 1940

Hauling crates of peaches from the orchard to the shipping shed. Delta County, Colorado, September 1940

Hauling crates of peaches from the orchard to the shipping shed. Delta County, Colorado, September 1940

Distributing surplus commodities. St. Johns, Arizona, October 1940

Distributing surplus commodities. St. Johns, Arizona, October 1940

Mill at the Camp Bird Mine. Ouray County, Colorado, October 1940

Mill at the Camp Bird Mine. Ouray County, Colorado, October 1940

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of Jack Whinery, homesteader. Pie Town, New Mexico, September 1940

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of Jack Whinery, homesteader. Pie Town, New Mexico, September 1940

School children singing. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

School children singing. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

Homesteader and his children eating barbeque at the New Mexico Fair. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

Homesteader and his children eating barbeque at the New Mexico Fair. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

Saying grace before the barbeque dinner at the New Mexico Fair. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

Saying grace before the barbeque dinner at the New Mexico Fair. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

The Faro Caudill family eating dinner in their dugout. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

The Faro Caudill family eating dinner in their dugout. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

Rural school children. San Augustine County, Texas, April 1943

Rural school children. San Augustine County, Texas, April 1943

At the Vermont state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941

At the Vermont state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941

Barket at the grounds at the state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941

Barket at the grounds at the state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains. White Plains, Greene County, Georgia, June 1941

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains. White Plains, Greene County, Georgia, June 1941

Going to town on Saturday afternoon. Greene County, Georgia, May 1941

Going to town on Saturday afternoon. Greene County, Georgia, May 1941

Children in the tenement district. Brockton, Massachusetts, December 1940

Children in the tenement district. Brockton, Massachusetts, December 1940

Headlines posted in street-corner window of newspaper office (Brockton Enterprise). Brockton, Massachusetts, December 1940

Headlines posted in street-corner window of newspaper office (Brockton Enterprise). Brockton, Massachusetts, December 1940

Trucks outside of a starch factory. Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, October 1940

Trucks outside of a starch factory. Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, October 1940

Children gathering potatoes on a large farm. Vicinity of Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, October 1940

Children gathering potatoes on a large farm. Vicinity of Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, October 1940

Farm auction. Derby, Connecticut, September 1940

Farm auction. Derby, Connecticut, September 1940

Connecticut town on the sea. Stonington, Connecticut, November 1940

Connecticut town on the sea. Stonington, Connecticut, November 1940

Faro and Doris Caudill, homesteaders. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

Faro and Doris Caudill, homesteaders. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940

“These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.”

- Denver Post

16 Responses

  1. beckybim

    These are wonderful! What an amazing set of images. Thanks for sharing them.

    Reply
  2. elaineland

    Thanks for the wonderful evocative images,a different age , a different country…..

    Reply
  3. maluc21

    Amazing!! I enjoyed so much everyone of this pictures, i really really feel like i was there, is a very exiting feeling. Thank you and wow again!

    Reply
  4. yoda

    The Vermont State Fair in Rutland is still held in September, a couple weeks after the Champlain Valley fair that usually straddles Labor Day weekend. (Also a couple weeks after school starts!)
    Unfortunately, none of the series of photos taken there (and there are more) shows a good, wide view of the grounds so I can say what has or hasn’t changed in 70 years.
    The residential neigborhoods on side streets around the grounds may well be pre-WW2, but the commercial development surrounding it on US 7 itself is definitely postwar!

    Reply
  5. Ken

    The one that really is sad is what appears to be the auctioning off of someone’s farm. What is supposed to happen when you don’t have a home or a way to make a living?

    Reply
  6. Milquetoast

    Nothing’s better than Hollywood, but seeing these pictures in color is like watching old films run at their proper speed; not looking like the “Keystone Cops” all the time, which has you believing that times were different, which they weren’t. These pictures make you realize that the sky was always blue and people were people.

    Reply
  7. pkp1530

    Simply beautiful and moving photos that serve as a reminder nothing changes.

    Reply
  8. ronsmith

    Love these photos!

    #60 – An African American Rosie the Riveter – Fantastic….

    Reply
  9. Jason

    #60 looks more like any other Rosie I’ve seen, apart from the Afro features.
    I wonder if she was the model for Rosie and they painted her with caucasian features?
    Terrible misrespresentation if they did.

    Reply
  10. Semih demircioglu

    This is the best photo stream of the 1940′s america . When you see this photos u can realize everything is not easily accessable at that times. Thanks for all who have effort on this

    Reply
  11. Avatar of Scout Paget
    Scout Paget

    These photos are remarkable in that they reflect not only a kind of forlorn resignation, but also a quiet determination on the part of the people during this difficult time. The photographers captured the difficult realities the peoples in these rural and small town areas faced – and the dignity with which they did it. To end the photo-set with Faro and Doris Caudill’s image was a nice touch: the storm clouds seem threatening in the background but this young couple, in their lack of wealth, show a kind of nobility in their serene smiles.

    ReplyReport user

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