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15 Amazing Vintage Photographs That Capture America’s Great Depression from the 1930s

The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was Created in 1937 from an earlier agency named the Resettlement Administration, or RA. The RA had been created by a 1935 executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help struggling farmers and sharecroppers by providing loans, purchasing depleted farmland and resettling destitute families into government-designed communities.

Rexford G. Tugwell, a former Columbia University economics professor, was chosen by Roosevelt to lead the RA, and Tugwell appointed his former student and friend Roy K. Stryker to head the agency’s historical section. Stryker’s mission was to document the hardships and conditions around the country, particularly across the Midwestern states and into California. In all, Stryker’s team of photographers produced over 175,000 black and white negatives and 1,610 color transparencies, as well as several films.

These photos are just a small sampling of their work.

Soda jerk flipping ice cream into malted milk shakes. Corpus Christi, Texas, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee.

Frame Houses and a Billboard, Atlanta, Georgia. Photograph by Walker Evans, March 1936.

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lyman, Polish tobacco farmers near Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo by Jack Delano. Published September, 1940.

Saturday afternoon in London, Ohio, “the main street.” Ben Shahn, Published: Summer, 1938.

“Toward Los Angeles, California.” Photo by Dorthea Lange. Created / published: March, 1937.

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15 Amazing Vintage Photographs That Capture America’s Great Depression from the 1930s


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