30 Amazing Color Photos From the 1930′s and 1940′s

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Today we are spoiled with digital photography, social media, and an advancing technology that literally let’s us create some fantastic color or black and white photos from just about anywhere in the world and share them with anybody. In the 1930′s and 1940′s, black and white was the standard depiction of photos and cameras weren’t exactly widely used by everyone. Being able to find some great old photos is always very interesting, especially if they are in color.

Photographers working for the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) took these color pictures during the Great Depression and World War II. The photos depict life in the rural areas of the United States as well as aspects of World War II mobilization such as women working, aviation training, railroads, and factories.

So here are 30 amazing color photos from the 1930′s and 1940′s that have been maintained by the Library of Congress. Visit their Flickr page to see the full set of over 1600 images. You can also vist their website to view them along with many other links to images and resources to learn more about the history behind these incredible photographs.

1930's and 1940's

Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a "Vengeance" dive bomber, Tennessee (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

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

1930's and 1940's

Shepherd with his horse and dog on Gravelly Range, Madison County, Montana (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

House, Houston, Texas (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Commuters, who have just come off the train, waiting for the bus to go home, Lowell, Mass. (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Street corner, Brockton, Mass. (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Headlines posted in street-corner window of newspaper office (Brockton Enterprise) Brockton, Mass. (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

"Backstage" at the "girlie" show at the Vermont state fair, Rutland (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Planting corn along a river in northeastern Tennessee (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Barker at the grounds at the Vermont state fair, Rutland (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Bayou Bourbeau plantation, a Farm Security Administration cooperative, vicinity of Natchitoches, La. (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Winner at the Delta County Fair, Colorado (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Cherry orchards, farm lands and irrigation ditch at Emmett, Idaho (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Student pilots, Meacham Field, Fort Worth, Tex. (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Faro and Doris Caudill, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Brockton, Mass., Dec. 1940, second-hand plumbing store (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Southeastern Georgia? (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Skating, vicinity of Brockton, Mass. (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Homesteader feeding his daughter at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair free barbeque (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Farm Security Administration borrower, vicinity of Frederiksted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Girl next to barn with chicken (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Santa Fe R.R. streamliner, the "super Chief," being serviced at the depot, Albuquerque, N.M. Servicing of these diesel streamliners takes five minutes. Santa Fe R.R. trip (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Packing oranges at a co-op orange packing plant, Redlands, Calif. Santa Fe R.R. trip (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Retiring a locomotive driver wheel in the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railway locomotive shops, Shopton, near Fort Madison, Iowa. The tire is heated by means of gas until it can be slipped over the wheel. Contraction on cooling will hold it firmly in place. (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Parris Island, S.C., barrage balloon (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

Lieutenant "Mike" Hunter, Army pilot assigned to Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. (LOC)

1930's and 1940's

James Lynch, a roundhouse worker, C & NW RR Proviso yard (LOC)

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  • Comments
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  1. Deborah Lee

    Fabulous shots .. alive, vibrant and still as fresh as ever.

    • Reply
  2. Mark

    It’s amazing how color changes the perspective of how we appreciate the history.. Library of Congress has also a unque collection of color photography of old Russia 1900-1915… – truly impressive.

    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/

    • Reply
  3. jmleclercq

    Love this collection !

    • Reply
  4. iowa fair

    wow! nice pictures

    • Reply
  5. Helmut

    It would be great to get more technical informations about those photos – if possible. I. e.: Wich camera and lens/ type of film/ film size/processing were used. Tx!

    • Reply
  6. Raulin

    Is just amazing how some pictures lets come back todo tha past…

    • Reply
  7. ian patrick cappie

    wonderful photos ,life was so easy then.ian i live in new zealand and australia.

    • Reply

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