Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.
Vintage photos of:
February 1937. "Negroes at Gee's Bend, Alabama. Descendants of slaves of the Pettway plantation. They are still living very primitively on the plantation." Here we see one of the celebrated Gee's Bend quilts. Medium format nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.
December 1936. This formidable-looking lady either had something to do with the Resettlement Administration's creation of Greenhills, Ohio, one of the first planned communities in the United States, or she was tragically misfiled at the Library of Congress. Either way, her caption has no name. View full size. Medium format negative by Brice Martin. [Update: The mystery lady is Dorothy M. Beck, a regional director of the Resettlement Administration.]
Imperial Valley, California, March 1937. "One of a Mexican field gang of migratory laborers thinning and weeding cantaloupe plants. The young plants are capped with waxed paper spread over a wire wicket to protect against cold and accelerate growth. The laborers' wages are 30 cents an hour." View full size. Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the FSA.
November 1941. "Slag runoff from one of the open-hearth furnaces at Republic Steel in Youngstown, Ohio. Slag is drawn off the furnace just before the molten steel is poured into ladles for ingotting." View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information.
Summer 1942. "Good citizenship and plain common sense. This man is performing a duty every car owner owes to himself and to our fighting men. In having his car adjusted to prevent excessive tire wear -- and in observing the simple rules that make tires last longer -- he is making a valuable contribution to our war effort. The man who wastes rubber is a poor citizen and blind even to his own personal interests." View full size. From photos by Martha McMillan Roberts, Howard Hollem, Albert Freeman and Howard Liberman for the Office of War Information.