The Library of Congress THE LOC.GOV WISE GUIDE
Why Do Toes Wrinkle in the Bath?

Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor, is known as a ?day of infamy? in American history. The following day, Alan Lomax, then "assistant in charge" of the Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture at the American Folklife Center), sent a telegram to fieldworkers in 10 localities across the United States, asking them to collect "man-on-the-street" reactions of ordinary Americans to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war by the United States.

Reading War News Aboard Streetcar. San Francisco, California,? 1941 ?Pearl Harbor bombing

A second series of interviews, called "Dear Mr. President," was recorded in January and February 1942. Both collections are included in ?After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor.?

The recordings feature a wide diversity of opinion regarding the war and other social and political issues of the day, such as racial prejudice and labor disputes. The result is a portrait of everyday life in America as the United States entered World War II.

For images of that war, go to the black-and-white photographs of the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information, which are a landmark in the history of documentary photography. The images show Americans at home, work and play. In its latter years, the project documented America's mobilization for World War II. You can view these in American Memory at ?America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945.?

The Office of War Information was created in 1942 and served as an important U.S. government agency during World War II. In 1942 and 1943, the OWI contained two photographic units: a section headed by Roy Emerson Stryker and the News Bureau (the units were merged in 1943). The photographers in both units documented America's mobilization during the early years of World War II, concentrating on such topics as aircraft factories and women in the workforce.

The American Memory Collection Finder page will lead you to nearly 300 items relating to World War II. Just type in ?World War II? in the search box. If you then click on the ?Gallery View? button, you will be able to preview these items quickly to find what interests you most.

A. John Collier, photographer. ?Reading War News Aboard Streetcar. San Francisco, California,? 1941. Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USF34-081821-E DLC (b&w film nitrate neg.); Call No.: LC-USF34- 081821-E

B. ?Pearl Harbor bombing. Destruction. Smoke pours from the USS Shaw, bombed dry dock (right center) while in the foreground lies the capsized USS Oglala, a minelayer. To the left is the 10,000 ton cruiser, USS Helena, struck by an aerial torpedo on the starboard side. The concussion caused the Oglala, formerly berthed alongside the Helena to flood and she turned over after being brought to dock. At the extreme left, may be seen some of the superstructure of the USS Pennsylvania and at the right appears to be the USS Maryland burning,? 1941. Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USE6-D-007415 DLC (b&w film neg.); Call No.: LC-USE6- D-007415

The Library of Congress | Contact Us