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Collection Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs

About this Collection

Photographers working for the U.S. government's Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 made approximately 1,600 color photographs that depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The pictures focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working.

The original images are color transparencies ranging in size from 35 mm. to 4x5 inches. They complement the better-known black-and-white FSA/OWI photographs, made during the same period [view information about the black-and-white FSA/OWI photographs].

The Library of Congress is sharing the FSA/OWI Color Photographs on Flickr, where Flickr community members add comments, notes, and tags. [View FSA/OWI Color Photographs on Flickr External | View more information about this project].

Between 1939 and 1944, government photography units within the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) produced the approximately 1,600 color photographs shown here, along with about 171,000 black-and-white photographs. Roy Stryker led the FSA unit during its active years and played a key role in the OWI unit in 1942-43. (The black-and-white photographs are available by searching the FSA/OWI Black-and-White Negatives. Further discussion of the FSA and OWI photography units is available in information about the FSA/OWI black-and-white negatives.)

The 644 color photographs produced by the FSA are less well known and far less extensive than the unit's black-and-white photographs. Most of the color images are 35mm Kodachrome slides; a few are color transparencies in sizes up to 4x5-inches. The FSA color photographs depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, with a focus on rural areas and farm labor.

The 965 color photographs from the OWI are color transparencies in sizes up to 4x5-inches. The photographs depicted life and culture in the U.S., with a focus on factories and women employees, railroads, aviation training, and other aspects of World War II mobilization.

For further discussion of the FSA/OWI color photography, see the Library of Congress online exhibit, " Bound for Glory."

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