Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Great Depression to World War II
Painting the American insignia on airplane wings

[Detail] Painting the American insignia on airplane wings

The Farm Security Administration (FSA)/Office of War Information (OWI) collection contains over 1,500 color photographs. The photographs, taken between 1939 and 1945, provide an overview of American social history during the final years of the Great Depression and World War II. Providing rich evidence of daily life in the United States, the pictures focus on rural and small-town United States in the 1930s and 1940s and the mobilization effort during World War II.

Women in the War Effort

Many of the photographs examine women's contribution on the home front during World War II. As men were drafted into military service, women replaced them on the factory floor. The photographs show the many roles women played as they rallied to do their part in the war effort.

Search on employment, factory, and laborers for photographs showing women in the workplace.

New Deal Work Programs

President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised the country a "New Deal", a series of programs aimed at helping the country revive from the Great Depression. These programs affected many aspects of American society, and emphasized creating jobs for the unemployed citizens in the United States. Several photographs within the collections show New Deal work projects. For example:

Search on dams and Tennessee Valley Authority for photographs of TVA projects under construction.

Farm Workers

Throughout the United States, migrant workers provided the labor needed to bring in the harvest. These individuals, who owned no land of their own to cultivate, were some of the hardest hit by the Depression. The photographs highlight the living conditions of these workers.

Search the words agricultural laborers and migrant laborers for photographs showing the lives of farm workers.

Many photographs show farm workers in the fields and at home.

Search on farmers, farming and families for photographs such as this one illustrating agricultural practices.

Relief Programs

The Farm Security Administration was established to help the farmers in the U.S., including those who owned farmland and those who did not. One of the ways this was accomplished was be providing loans to farmers for the purchase of equipment.

Some photographs in this collection show people who benefited from the farm relief program of the FSA and the food relief program.

Search on farm relief and food relief for photographs showing relief programs in action.

Military Training

In preparation for participation in World War II overseas, members of the military received training in the United States. Photographs in the collection show various types of training as well as munitions and military technology of the period.

Search on camouflage, military science, flight training, and military training for photographs showing the process of educating the armed forces.