May 10, 2004 Library of Congress Publishes Historic Documentary Color Photographs of America

Photos Made With Early Kodachrome Film for FSA Project

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Contact: View the "Bound for Glory" exhibition. | View the FSA/OWI photo collection. | Purchase this book.
Contact: Renee Louis (212) 229-7128,, Harry N. Abrams Inc.

"Bound for Glory: America in Color 1939-43" has been published by the Library of Congress in association with Harry N. Abrams Inc. This volume showcases pioneering color work by photographers Jack Delano, John Collier, Marion Post Wolcott, Russell Lee, John Vachon, Arthur Rothstein and others, which was carried out under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the Office of War Information (OWI).

"The photographs of the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information form an extensive pictorial record of American life in the late 1930s and 1940s," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Viewed as a whole, the collection, which the Library acquired in 1944, documents America as it emerged from the Great Depression and mobilized to fight World War II."

Shot on the Eastman Kodak Company's new film, Kodachrome, which was first introduced in 1935, the photographs offer a rare color portrait of America in the pre-war era.

"The color work by the FSA and OWI photographers remains little known and not enough appreciated," said National Book Critics Circle award-winner Paul Hendrickson who wrote the book's introduction. "This book is being offered as a hopeful corrective."

The FSA/OWI collection, comprising more than 170,000 black-and-white photographs and 1,600 color prints, is the result of a government photography project undertaken by a succession of federal agencies. The FSA originally initiated the project to document the devastating effects of the Depression on America's rural population in order to garner support for government relief efforts. As the country began to mobilize for World War II, however, the photographic unit of the FSA was transferred to the newly-created OWI, and war preparations became its focus. The result is a portrait of Americans at work in farms and factories during the first half of the 20th century - in Hendrickson's words, "a pictorial encyclopedia of America herself" - from Vermont to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and almost every state in between.

The complete collection of some 170,000 FSA/OWI photographs is available on the Library of Congress Web site at

"Bound for Glory," a 192-page hardcover book with 175 color photographs, includes a Library of Congress reference number for each of the photographs, which enables readers to search for the specific image online or order photographic prints from the Library's Photoduplication Service ( The book is available for $35 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library's Sales Shop. For credit card orders, call (888) 682-3557.


PR 04-100
ISSN 0731-3527