The Library of Congress
[American Memory]

America from the Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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The black-and-white photographs of the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection are a landmark in the history of documentary photography. The images show Americans at home, at work, and at play, with an emphasis on rural and small-town life and the adverse effects of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and increasing farm mechanization. Some of the most famous images portray people who were displaced from farms and migrated West or to industrial cities in search of work. In its latter years, the project documented America's mobilization for World War II. The collection includes about 164,000 black-and-white negatives; this release provides access to over 160,000 of these images. The FSA-OWI photographers also produced about 1600 color photographs. Two illustrated lists of frequently requested images from the FSA-OWI Collection, "'Migrant Mother' Photographs" and "Photographs of Signs Enforcing Racial Discrimination", are also available from the Prints and Photographs Reading Room.
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The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.

Special Presentations

Documenting America: Photographers on Assignment

Selected FSA Images: Popular Requests and Staff Selections

Portrait Sampler of FSA Photographers

Understanding the Collection

About the Collection

Bibliography and Related Web Sites

From the Learning Page
Collection Connections

Working with the Collection

How To View Photos

How to Order Reproductions

Digitizing the Collection

Cataloging the Black-and-White Photographs

Copyright and Other Restrictions


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