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 ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Mario Tama / Getty

    Photo Updates From Kilauea: The Lava Meets the Sea

    Since Kilauea volcano began its most recent eruptive activity on Hawaii's Big Island three weeks ago, the situation has evolved and worsened.

  • Thomas Peter / Reuters

    A Changing Way of Life for Mongolia’s Dukha Reindeer Herders

    In north central Mongolia, the Dukha people have lived a nomadic life with their reindeer herds for generations—today, that way of life is under pressure.

  • Richard Seeley / Shutterstock

    Travel Monday: A Photo Trip to Southeast Alaska

    Recent images from across southeast Alaska, a narrow strip of coastal islands and mountains that stretches more than 500 miles along the Pacific Ocean.

  • Mario Tama / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Kyrgyz Horsemen, Shanghai Steeplechase, Giant Bobbleheads

    Participants at the Wave and Goth festival in Germany, attendees at a “Kiss-a-thon” in Mexico City, observations of Ramadan in Indonesia, and so much more.