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

  • Peter Morgan / Reuters

    Photos: 15 Years Since the 2003 Northeast Blackout

    On August 14, 2003, more than 50 million people across eight U.S. states and parts of Canada were left without power for days in the most widespread blackout in North American history.

  • FTCS (SS) Bob Nguyen / U.S. Navy

    Photos of the Week: Robot Cat, Purple Water, Tunnel of Love

    Missiles fly between Israel and Gaza, dizzying views in Hong Kong, a migrant family is reunited in Guatemala, a boisterous rodeo in Australia, wildfires intensify in California, and much more.

  • Tatan Syuflana / AP

    Images From the Lombok Island Earthquake

    On the Indonesian island of Lombok, near Bali, at least 250 deaths and many hundreds of injuries have been reported, and tens of thousands have been left homeless.

  • Bettmann / Getty

    Historic Cat Photos on International Cat Day

    Fashions and technologies may change over time, but cats never go out of style.