I was supposed to be taking pictures to show that this was a great country and I was finding out it really was. . . . I didnt know it at the time, but I was having a last look at America as it used to be.--John VachonKansans of the 1930s and 1940s lived through more sweeping changes than any other generation past or present.
Destructive forces of nature, an economy gone awry, and a devastating--and ironically, economically renewing--war left the world irrevocably altered. In this captivating collection, some of Americas best-known documentary photographers provide a valuable glimpse into that tumultuous time.Constance Schulz has brought together a diverse array of photographs from three extensive documentary projects: the Farm Security Administration, the Office of War Information, and Standard Oil of New Jersey.
The result is a unique visual record of American life by photographers Arthur Rothstein, John Vachon, Russell Lee, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano, Edwin and Louise Rosskam, and Charles Rotkin. Collectively, their work has immortalized the faces and emotions of FSA-aided farmers and the harsh lives of coal miners, dust-bowl debris and tumbleweeds, a failed bank and a thriving stockyard, locomotives and Mexican-American railroad workers, oil derricks, wheat country, black cavalry troops, and 4-H Club fairs.In his enlightening introduction, environmental historian Donald Worster provides historical context for the images.
Examining state, national, and international events from 1930 to 1950, he explores the agricultural, business, social, political, and environmental climates as well as the composition of the states population and its inevitable shift away from rural life toward urbanization and industrialization.
Schulz also supplies fundamental information on the photographers and the photographic projects.Originally created as a means to promote government and business programs, the FSA, OWI, and Standard Oil photographs--most never before published--are an excellent source for individuals and communities searching for a visual record of their local heritage during two of the most crucial decades in American history.