- View All
- About this Collection
- Background and Scope
- Selected Bibliography and Related Resources
- Cataloging the Collection
- Digitizing the Collection
- Documenting America
- FSA and OWI Popular Requests
- FSA and OWI Photographers - A Portrait Sampler
- FSA and OWI Popular Staff Selections
- Rights And Restrictions
Most images are digitized | All jpegs/tiffs display outside Library of Congress | View All
About the FSA/OWI Black-and-White Negatives
The photographs in the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. This U.S. government photography project was headed for most of its existence by Roy E. Stryker, who guided the effort in a succession of government agencies: the Resettlement Administration (1935-1937), the Farm Security Administration (1937-1942), and the Office of War Information (1942-1944). The collection also includes photographs acquired from other governmental and non-governmental sources, including the News Bureau at the Offices of Emergency Management (OEM), various branches of the military, and industrial corporations.
In total, the black-and-white portion of the collection consists of
about 175,000 black-and-white film negatives, encompassing both
negatives that were printed for FSA-OWI use and those that were not
printed at the time. Color
transparencies also made by the FSA/OWI are available in a separate
section of the catalog: FSA/OWI Color Photographs
For a video overview of the collection, see "Documenting America, 1935-1943: The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photo Collection."
Unprinted negatives: You can search for "Untitled" to see images that did not come with a caption card bearing a title and are presumed not to have been printed. Most unprinted negatives simply have "Untitled" as their caption. Some have titles based on similar images that appear to have related content.
To view images that have a hole punched in them (an early method the agency used to indicate the negative should not be printed), you can search "hole punch."
To view unprinted negatives in relation to neighboring, printed negatives:
> go to the description for any FSA/OWI image
> select the "Browse neighboring items by call number" link at the left of the screen.
For insight on FSA selection of images to be printed, see: Fleischhauer, Carl. "Selecting Photographs for the FSA/OWI Print File: a Photo-Assignment Case Study: John Vachon's Documentation of the Roanoke Farms Resettlement Project, Halifax County, North Carolina, April 1938" (25 June 2020). [pdf, 7.8 mb]. http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/Vachon_FSA-1938-RoanokeFarms.pdf
FSA/OWI Written Records: View a description of the written records and a digitized selection of the documents