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Library Publishes Rare Depression-Era Color Photos

The transition from the Depression to a war-time footing is visually captured in “Bound for Glory: America in Color 1939-43,” a volume of color photographs recently published by the Library of Congress.

During the late 1930s, the Farm Security Administration dispatched photographers across the country to record the quotidian life of the U.S. population in the throes of the Depression — images intended to rally support for the government’s relief efforts. Once World War II approached, however, the FSA photographic unit was transferred to the Office of War Information, and the emphasis switched to capturing images of Americans using the nation’s farms and factories to prepare for war.

The 175 color photographs included in the 192-page hardcover book were all shot on the then newly introduced Kodachrome, presenting a rare color glimpse into life in pre-war America.

All in all, the FSA/OWI collection comprises some 170,000 black-and-white photographs in addition to 1,600 color images. These can be viewed online at www.

— Bree Hocking

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