a Thanksgiving special: images from the Farm Security Administration

While The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information photograph collection

Detroit (vicinity), Michigan. Girls harvesting medicinal(?) plants

has been part of the Library of Congress’s collection since the 1940’s, only recently the black and white negatives were digitized and made available online.

The Farm Security Administration began as a result of the New Deal as part of the Department of Agriculture. In an effort to document the work of the Department’s programs, photographers traveled throughout the United States and Puerto Rico to observe and capture a changing America. The project initially documented cash loans made to individual farmers by the Resettlement Administration and the construction of planned suburban communities. The second stage focused on the lives of sharecroppers in the South and migratory agricultural workers in the midwestern and western states. As the scope of the project expanded, the photographers turned to recording both rural and urban conditions throughout the United States as well as mobilization efforts for World War II.

Well-researched and trained in documentarian techniques, they were encouraged to photograph everything and anything relevant to their assignment. The byproduct of this effort included jobs for artists and a rich archival record. The photos document everything from farm communities to the development of early suburbs. The collection includes images from photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Russell Lee, among others.

This collection consists of a bounty of over 100,000 images. Feast your eyes on this slice of American heritage!

Family harvesting milo maize