Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943"

My friend Kim sent me a link to a post about this collection of photographs, sweetie that she is.  She's an historian and educator, and is good at finding great resources.  This collection is a visual treasure trove, especially for those who want to know what life really looked like in the US during this time period.  I picked out a few of my favorites to share here, although I could easily have posted any of these.  (For those of you interested in clothing of the time, especially in everyday working class wardrobes, be sure to check the site out.  And click on these photos below to enlarge them so you can see the fabric in the clothing!  There are some sweet prints.)

Here's the introduction on the Denver Post's page about these photos:

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.

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

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.

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.

(Note: A "wiper" is responsible for hosing down locomotives with steaming hot water to clean the grime away and keep the machinery from clogging.  Hot, nasty, hazardous work; one of the many nasty jobs women were allowed to do during the war, but were removed from when the men returned.)


  1. Yes! I've seen bits and pieces from the collection...amazing color! They all thrill me, but especially the working dresses..sigh.

    Do you ever look at ?

    Have a great day, I'm off sewing :0) really, as soon as I get off the computer.

  2. Wow! Thanks for sharing this. I absolutely love this era and seeing color photos makes it even better.

  3. Aren't these great? And I just realized that I hadn't actually included the link to the Denver Post posting about them...I've rectified that now.

    @Queenplinker - I saw once, forgot to bookmark it, and then couldn't remember the name. Thanks for helping me find it again!!!

  4. Thanks for the reminder about clicking on the photos. Wow! These are gorgeous. And what a wonderful piece of history.

    I'm not used to seeing 1940's photos in color. It gives it the feel of watching a current film (in color) about the 40's. I'm intrigued...

  5. It is really fun to see them in color, isn't it?!


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