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

  • ESA / Copernicus Sentinel Data

    The Megafire Burning in Oklahoma

    In western Oklahoma, a region suffering through a harsh drought, several wildfires have recently broken out, including the Rhea Fire, a “megafire” which has burned more than 260,000 acres.

  • Larry Busacca / Getty for Coachella

    Scenes From Coachella 2018

    Last weekend, the first part of the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival took place in Indio, California, headlined by Beyoncé.

  • Eric Lafforgue / Art in All of Us / Corbis via Getty

    Travel Monday: A Photo Trip to Ethiopia's Danakil Depression

    In the Afar region of northern Ethiopia, lies a vast, tortured, desert plain called the Danakil Depression.

  • Mikhail Svetlov / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Walls, Whales, the Pope With a Llama

    Protests in France and Gaza, a homemade full-scale Airbus 320 replica in China, Mark Zuckerberg testifies on Capitol Hill, celebrating the Buddhist new year, a toppled statue in China, and much more.