Thursday, August 5, 2010

Beautiful History: Color Photos from the Great Depression

The Denver Post just published a gorgeous photo essay America in Color from 1939-1943. 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.

Even during Americans toughest times there was some great style.

Jack Whinery, homesteader, and his family. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

This is my personal favorite, I love a woman that uses tools with style...

Woman is working on a "Vengeance" dive bomber Tennessee, February 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Backstage at the "girlie" show at the state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Barker at the grounds at the state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

At the Vermont state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Children gathering potatoes on a large farm. Vicinity of Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Couples at square dance. McIntosh County, Oklahoma, 1939 or 1940, Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Orchestra at square dance. McIntosh County, Oklahoma, 1939 or 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Children asleep on bed during square dance. McIntosh County, Oklahoma, 1939 or 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains. White Plains, Greene County, Georgia, June 1941. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Homesteader and his children eating barbeque at the New Mexico Fair. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

School children singing. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Mill at the Camp Bird Mine. Ouray County, Colorado, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Distributing surplus commodities. St. Johns, Arizona, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Hauling crates of peaches from the orchard to the shipping shed. Delta County, Colorado, September 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Boy building a model airplane as girl watches. Robstown, Texas, January 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Arthur Rothstein. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Grand Grocery Company. Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by John Vachon. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Young African American boy. Cincinnati, Ohio, 1942 or 1943. Photo by John Vachon. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

A Fourth of July celebration. St. Helena Island, South Carolina, 1939. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

A crossroads store, bar, "juke joint," and gas station in the cotton plantation area. Melrose, Louisiana, June 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Children aiming sticks as guns, lined up against a brick building. Washington, D.C.(?), between 1941 and 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photographer Unknown. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Shulman's market, on N at Union Street S.W. Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Louise Rosskam. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Mike Evans, a welder, at the rip tracks at Proviso yard of the Chicago and Northwest Railway Company. Chicago, Illinois, April 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

General view of part of the South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad Chicago, Illinois, May 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their rest room, Chicago and Northwest Railway Company. Clinton, Iowa, April 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Children stage a patriotic demonstration. Southington, Connecticut, May 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Fenno Jacobs. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

At Beecher Street School. Southington, Connecticut, May 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Fenno Jacobs. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Shepherd with his horse and dog on Gravelly Range Madison County, Montana, August 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Marine glider at Page Field. Parris Island, South Carolina, May 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

M-4 tank crews of the United States. Fort Knox, Kentucky, June 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Rural school children. San Augustine County, Texas, April 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by John Vachon. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Rural school children. San Augustine County, Texas, April 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by John Vachon. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Worker at carbon black plant. Sunray, Texas, 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Worker at carbon black plant John Vachon. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress