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

  • Getty

    Coronavirus: Photos From Wuhan Under Quarantine

    Several photographers continue to report from Wuhan, China, where streets appear nearly deserted after a quarantine and traffic ban.

  • Marcia Straub / Getty

    Indiana: Images of the Hoosier State

    A few glimpses into the various features of Indiana, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Simon Bruty for OIS / IOC Handout via Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Impeachment Trial, Virtual Singer, Bat Clinic

    The annual Women’s March in New York City, the Tour Down Under cycling event in Australia, a firefighting robot in India, anti-government protests in Iraq, the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Switzerland, and much more.

  • Carl Court / Getty

    Juhyo: The Snow Monsters on Japan’s Mount Zao

    Windblown ice and snow build up hulking shapes on the trees atop Mount Zao.