Rural America After the Depression, 1939-1943

African American’s tenant’s home beside the Mississippi River levee. Near Lake Providence, Louisiana, June 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

“These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.”

Sent us by Bob Kahn

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

2 Responses to Rural America After the Depression, 1939-1943

  1. What strikes me is the depression looks a lot less depressing in color. Heartening to know since we may very well be heading for similar times. Unfortunately the majority of us no longer have the self sufficient skills that allowed rural folks back then to hunker down and survive on their own means. I notice there is not an obese person in sight in any of the photos.

    Seeing these folks in color helps me relate to them in a wholly more connected light, they seem much more like us moderns than I had imagined from the lifetime of grainy B&W photos I have seen. The women's dresses really stand out with the festive prints and colors that always looked so dull and lifeless in B&W.

    It seems the world was still a beautiful place in which to live even in those difficult times, and so it shall always be.

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