Rare Color Photographs from Depression-Era America


We’ve all seen many photographs of Depression-era and World War II-era America, but we’re used to seeing them in black and white — the dominant medium at the time. These incredible photographs, which we spotted over at the International Business Times , were taken between 1939 and 1944 by photographers working for the United States Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information, and depict rural America (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and give glimpses of the war effort. There is something unnerving about seeing these photographs in color — as if that time wasn’t so far off from our own after all. Click through to look at some of our favorites, and if you can’t get enough of history in color, head over to the Times for even more.

Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif. Shown checking electrical assemblies

Mike Evans, a welder, at the rip tracks at Proviso yard of the C & NW RR, Chicago, Ill

Ens[ign] Noressey and Cadet Thenics at the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas

Instructor explaining the operation of a parachute to student pilots, Meacham field, Fort Worth, Tex.

Jim Norris, homesteader, Pie Town, New Mexico 1940 Oct.

Jack Whinery, homesteader, and his family, Pie Town, New Mexico

Lincoln, Nebraska

Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid innoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas 1943 April

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of Jack Whinery, homesteader, Pie Town, New Mexico

An army practice

School children singing, Pie Town, New Mexico 1940 Oct.

Lincoln, Nebraska

Sugar cane workers resting at the noon hour, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico 1941 Dec.

Delta County Fair, Colorado 1940 Oct.

Boy looking at store window display of toys [between 1941 and 1942]

After seven years in the Navy, J.D. Estes is considered an old sea salt by his mates at the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas

Seed and feed store, Lincoln, Nebr. [1942]

Girl inspectors at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company make a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes

Rural school children, San Augustine County, Texas 1943 April

Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber, Tennessee 1943 Feb.