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The Great Depression in Photography

By Photorist Eugeniy → Friday, June 19, 2015
A woman’s work is never done Mrs Viola Sievers, one of the wipers at the roundhouse, giving a giant ‘H’ class locomotive a bath of live steam in Clinton, Iowa, April 1943
The Great Depression was an economic slump in North America, Europe, and other industrialized areas of the world that began in 1929 and lasted until about 1939. It was the longest and most severe depression ever experienced by the industrialized Western world. The Great Depression had devastating effects in countries rich and poor.


Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, while international trade plunged by more than 50%. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25%, and in some countries rose as high as 33%. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its nadir, some 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of the country’s banks had failed. Though the relief and reform measures put into place by President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped lessen the worst effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the economy would not fully turn around until after 1939, when World War II kicked American industry into high gear.

The Library of Congress recently released an amazing collection of color photos (not colorized), showing the end of The Great Depression in 1940.
At the Vermont state fair, Rutland, 1941

At Vermont state fair, Rutland, 1941

Bayou Bourbeau plantation

Boy near Cincinnati, Ohio

Boys sitting on truck parked at the FSA labor camp, Robston, Texas

Brockton, Mass., Dec. 1940, second-hand plumbing store

Children with adult in the tenement district, Brockton, Massachusetts

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains, Greene County, Georgia

Co-op orange packing plant, Redlands, Calif. Workman is doing the preliminary sorting, picking out the discards. Santa Fe, 1943

Couples at square dance, McIntosh County, Oklahoma [1939 or 1940]

Distributing surplus commodities, St. Johns, Arizona

Farm Penny  auction. Derby, Connecticut

Railroad worker for 25 years

Sylvia Sweets Tea Room, corner of School and Main streets, Brockton, Mass

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