Library of Congress Offers a New Collection of Depression Era Photographs

The Library of Congress has a great collection of photographs from the Great Depression that has recently been updated. The collection now contains more than 175,000 portraits of America between the years 1935 and 1945, taken by photographers of the government’s Farm Security Administration. The photographs also include all known data about the subject(s) in each photo, including the date and location of the photograph and also the name of the photographer.

Click on the images to view larger versions.

Thanks to a new project known as Photogrammar from Yale University, viewers will have a much easier time exploring the photographs. There’s a map that displays the images by county and another that shows where each picture was taken and by which photographer. There’s also an interactive that allows viewers to sort the photos by theme (e.g. “war” or “religion”) and then browse from there. Other tools are still in the works.

It is possible that you might find an ancestor or other relative in a photograph although the odds of that are slim. However, you undoubtedly will learn about the conditions in which your relatives lived during the Depression Years.

You can access this great collection of Depression Era photographs by starting at http://photogrammar.yale.edu.

My thanks to newsletter reader Dean L. McLeod for telling me about this great resource.

5 Comments

Check the map carefully. I discovered St. Charles, MO, was listed as St. Charles Parish, Louisiana and St. Louis, MO, as St. Louis, CA, because both places are of interest to me. I have sent an email to the person involved: thephotogrammar at gmail.com

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The photos are amazing and the clickable map works very well. Thanks so much for alerting us to this 😀

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I reviewed the photos for Shawnee County, Kansas and found a photo of my father in a group of workers at the AT&SF RR shops in Topeka in March 1943, two years before I was born. Thanks for the tip.

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Annette K. THompson September 8, 2014 at 8:41 am

I was one of the lucky ones! I located a photo of my father!!

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I found an interesting bit of history from a place my father-in-law was working at the time:
http://photogrammar.yale.edu/records/index.php?record=owi2001011118/PP

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