America in color, 1939-1943

Going to town on a Sunday afternoon in Greene County, Georgia, 1941.

I saw this link to the Denver Post’s photo blog on Facebook this morning and have been enraptured for the past 20 minutes. These 70 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‚Äôs 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.

And I am in awe. These photos look like they could have been taken yesterday, with a cast in costumes and with props. The only things I know about how this period looked come from the movies–and these images are so much realer than that. The clothes never quite fit, the hair is not quite so coiffed. And makeup? Nonexistent. You really do see some hard faces here. I can’t even imagine what this life was like.

This is my favorite.

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

I’m not sure how the woman (the only one dressed in white and bathed in sunlight) happened to be the only one looking at the camera. I feel like she knows something no one else knows.

And replace the English with French in this next image and it would look like a street in France today.

Grand Grocery Company in Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942.

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

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

You really MUST check out the rest of these images on the Denver Post’s blog. Enjoy!


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