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

  • Henry Nicholls / Reuters

    Images of the Season: Fall Is in the Air, Part 2

    One last look at my favorite season of the year, with more autumnal images from across the Northern Hemisphere

  • Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

    Robots at Work and Play

    Recent images of robotic technology around the world

  • © Google

    Seven Square Miles

    Snapshots from Google Earth, all rectangles of the same size and scale, approximately three and a half miles wide by two miles tall—showing seven square miles of the varied surface of our planet in each view

  • Mark Wallheiser / Getty

    More Photos of the Incredible Devastation Left by Hurricane Michael

    Recent photographs from Mexico Beach, Panama City, and neighboring Florida towns, as the full extent of the damage wrought by Hurricane Michael becomes clearer.