A Colorful Peek into the Past

By Alix G. RSS Tue, May 24, 2011

I was talking this week to my Free Library colleague Camille—who frequently blogs here—about the Library of Congress’s striking “Bound for Glory” exhibition that premiered in September of 2005. The exhibition, which is still available for viewing on the web, highlights rare color photographs taken by the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information between 1939 and 1943.

As the Bound for Glory website notes, the “exhibition reveals a surprisingly vibrant world that has typically been viewed only through black-and-white images. These vivid scenes and portraits capture the effects of the Depression on America's rural and small town populations, the nation's subsequent economic recovery and industrial growth, and the country's great mobilization for World War II.”

Although the photos have been available publicly and online for more than five years, they continue to amaze me and Camille, as I’m sure they do for anyone who takes a moment to view them. What is most striking to me is how these photos offer a colorful reminder that even in the direst of times, life moves on: There are square dances to attend, model airplanes to be built, and Fourth of July celebrations to be had.

View the photos for yourself at the Bound for Glory website! You can also find additional color photos from ‘40s and ‘50s on the Library of Congress’s flickr page.

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