World War II: The American Home Front in Color


In 1942, soon after the United States entered World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order creating the Office of War Information (OWI). The new agency was tasked with releasing war news, promoting patriotic activities, and providing news outlets with audio, film, and photos of the government's war efforts. Between 1939 and 1944, the OWI and the Farm Security Administration made thousands of photographs, approximately 1,600 of them in color. In the early war years, OWI photographers Alfred Palmer and Howard Hollem produced some exceptional Kodachrome transparencies depicting military preparedness, factory operations, and women in the work force. While most of the scenes were posed, the subjects were the real thing -- soldiers and workers preparing for a long fight. Gathered here are some of these color images from Palmer and Hollem, complete with original captions from 1942. Also be sure to see these archival movies in our new Video Channel. All of the FSA/OWI photos are available from the Library of Congress. (This entry is Part 8 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)
Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.
Jump to Comments

Most Recent

  • Bill Ingalls/NASA

    Photos of the Week: 3/21-3/27

    This week, we have photos of the Germanwings flight crash scene, preparations for launch at the Baikonur cosmodrome, a sinkhole in New Jersey, unrest and airstrikes in Yemen, Alaskan Wood bison returning to the wild, the last Jew in the Turkish town of Edirne, a memorial to Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew, and much more.

  • AP

    On This Day 36 Years Ago: The Signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty

    Thirty-six years ago, on March 26, 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a historic peace treaty that has held to this day.

  • Frank Rumpenhorst/AFP/Getty Images

    The Big Thaw

    Friday was the vernal equinox, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, despite continued wintry conditions in a few places (I'm looking at you, New England).

  • Google, Inc.

    A Virtual Drive Through Bhutan

    I'd like to show you a few views of Bhutan, its remarkable landscape, and colorful architecture, courtesy of Google's Street View team (with links, so you can explore more on your own).

Join the Discussion