Farm Security Administration

Walker Evans, 1935-1944, USA

These photographs, many of them iconic, were made for the Farm Security Administration when America was in the throes of the Great Depression. The intent was to document the desperate need for, and the positive effects of, this program but they have become a timeless historical record of America during a period of upheaval and change. The prints are made from the original negatives housed in the Library of Congress in the late 1970s.

Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Old woman resident of Winton, Minnesota. Winton, Minnesota. August-September 1937.
Walker Evans (1903 - 1975). Church. Southeastern U.S. 1936.
Arthur Rothstein (1915 - 1985). Switch engine. Saint Louis, Missouri. January 1939.
Marion Post Wolcott (1910 - 1990). Soil erosion gullies on farm in Caswell County, North Carolina. Caswell County, North Carolina. October 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Sign at a filling station which also sells liquor. Waco, Texas. November 1939.
Dorothea Lange (1895 - 1965). Wife of a migratory laborer with three children. Childress (vicinity), Texas. June 1938.
Walker Evans (1903 - 1975). Country store near Moundville, Alabama. Moundville, Alabama. Summer 1936.
Arthur Rothstein (1915 - 1985). Cutting hay, Windsor County, Vermont. Windsor County, Vermont. September 1937.
Walker Evans (1903 - 1975). Church. Southeastern U.S. 1936.
John Collier Jr. (1913 - 1992). The churchyard of the Penitente Miranda. Toas, New Mexico. January 1943.
John Vachon (1914 - 1975). Women removing stems and defective cherries. Door County, Wisconsin. July 1940.
Arthur Rothstein (1915 - 1985). Eroded land on tenant's farm. Walker County, Alabama. February 1937.
Arthur Rothstein (1915 - 1985). Forest Carpenter, handy man. Eden Mills, Vermont. October 1937.
Arthur Rothstein (1915 - 1985). Dalton, Allegany County, New York. John Dudeck, an old bachelor living on a submarginal farm. Dalton, New York. December 1937.
Russell Lee (1903 -1986). Mrs. Hale, wife of cut-over farmer. Black River Falls, Wisconsin. June 1937.
Arthur Rothstein (1915 - 1985). Play given by visiting Arvin camp. Tulare migrant camp. Visalia, California. March 1940.
Arthur Rothstein (1915 - 1985). Farm. Frederick County, Virginia. February 1940.
John Vachon (1914 - 1975). Cincinnati, Ohio. October 1938.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Camp of migrant workers near Prague, Oklahoma. Prague, Oklahoma. June 1939.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). An all-day community sing. Pie Town, New Mexico. June 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). A community settles by about 200 migrant Texas and Oklahoma farmers who filed homestead claims. Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt which she made. Mrs. Staggs helps her husband in the fields with plowing, planting, weeding corn and harvesting beans. She quilts while she rests during the noon hour. Pie Town, New Mexico. June 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Statue by a local Artist. Cimarron, New Mexico. August 1939.
Gordon Parks (1912 - 2006). Bethune-Cookman College. "Zoot suits." Daytona Beach, Florida. January 1943.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Fruit farmer. Placer county, California. December 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Workers' automobiles parked rear the airplane factories. Providing parking space for automobiles and getting the cars in and out at shift-changing time have been big problems. San Diego, California. December 1940.
Louise Rosskem (1910 - 2003). Country store with car parked in front. Lincoln, Vermont. July 1940.
Arthur Rothstein (1915 - 1985). Painting by local artist. Reno, Nevada. March 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Cattlemen at auction of prize beef steers and breeding stock at San Angelo Fat Stock Show. San Angelo, Texas. March 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Part of the novelty race at the Imperial county fair. El Centro, California. March 1942.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Ride at the carnival. Vale, Oregon. July 4, 1941.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Sign at gas station, advertising a particular brand of petroleum product, New Iberia, Louisiana. New Iberia, Louisiana. November 1938.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Sign which can be seen on and every highway in California. December 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Sign on US highway 80 leading into San Diego. San Diego, California. December 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Josie Caudill looking over slab fence on her father's farm. Pie Town, New Mexico. May 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). FSA defense housing project. All the posts in the center are for electrical Connections. San Diego, California. June 1941.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Guayule nursery, Snow fencing in the foreground will be used for windbreak in the nursery. Salinas, California. May 1942. Gift of Jane Korntued Deome.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Marilee-Ann Simpson holding a pan of vegetables freshly gathered from her family's garden at the Farm security administration migratory workers' camp. Yuba City, California. June 1942.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Low hills. San Benito county, California. May 1942. Gift of La Verta Zarnowski, Salinas, CA.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Sing in front of a real-estate office. San Diego, California. May 1941.
David Myers (David Moffat). Advertisements of the palmist's booth at Glen Echo Park. Glen Echo, Maryland. 1939.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Display of work of Homer Tats. Safford, Arizona. May 1940.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). The Farm security administration exhibit at the Texas state fair. Dallas, Texas. October 1939.
Russell Lee (1903 - 1986). Traveling evangelists between Lafayette and Scott, Louisiana. They have spent twenty five years on the road preaching the gospel, sharpening knives to meet expenses. Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. October 1938.
Marion Post Wolcott (1910 - 1990). A garden in front of a trailer. Sarasota, Florida. January 1941.
Ben Shahn (1898 - 1969). Cumberland homesteads, a US Resettlement administration project. A dance team. Crossville, Tennessee. 1937.
Marion Post Wolcott (1910 - 1990). The mother and other relatives of the deceased weeping at the grave at a memorial meeting. The preacher, with his hands over his ears, is praying. Jackson (Vicinity), Kentucky. August 1940.
Marion Post Wolcott (1910 - 1990). Farmers must often wait over night before their tobacco is sold at auction. They sleep anywhere, one is lying on a desk, one on the floor, and one is sitting in a chair sleeping in this warehouse office. Durham, North Carolina. November 1939
Ben Shahn (1898 - 1969). Mrs. Mary McLean at Skyline farms. A US Resettlement administration project. Scottsboro (vicinity), Alabama. 1937.

The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was a New Deal agency created in 1937 to combat rural poverty during the Great Depression in the United States. It succeeded the Resettlement Administration (1935–1937).

The FSA is famous for its small but highly influential photography program, 1935–44, that portrayed the challenges of rural poverty. The photographs in the FSA/Office of War Information Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. This U.S. government photography project was headed for most of its existence by Roy Stryker, who guided the effort in a succession of government agencies: the Resettlement Administration (1935–1937), the Farm Security Administration (1937–1942), and the Office of War Information (1942–1944). The collection also includes photographs acquired from other governmental and nongovernmental sources, including the News Bureau at the Offices of Emergency Management (OEM), various branches of the military, and industrial corporations.

In total, the black-and-white portion of the collection consists of about 175,000 black-and-white film negatives, encompassing both negatives that were printed for FSA-OWI use and those that were not printed at the time. Color transparencies also made by the FSA/OWI are available in a separate section of the catalog: FSA/OWI Color Photographs. 2021. Farm Security Administration - Wikipedia. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 14 December 2021].

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