WPA Color, 1939-1943

Labor

For those struggling throughout the Great Depression, the New Deal WPA (Works Progressive Administration) promised not just employment, food and shelter, but hope for the American dream.

From 1939 – 1943 workers participated in massive public projects from building roads, to making art across the country. A collection of photographs depicting this period are in the archives of FSA/OWI (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information). They show not only a monumental time in American history, but a still applicable vision of American fantasy.

While most of us are familiar with the Dorothea Lange’s Depression-era photos, this particular era of American life has been largely forgotten. These rich color images, taken within three years of the invention of Kodachrome, serve to inspire as much as to document.

(Click images to enlarge.)

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A collection of photographs like the ones above, on a wide range of subjects, are in the archives of FSA/OWI (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information). These rich color images, taken within three years of the invention of Kodachrome, serve to inspire as much as to document. To see more of them on this site, type “WPA color” into the small search window in the sidebar on the right of this page. For the complete collection, visit the WPA site by tapping the link in the sidebar box marked “Photography.”

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