Monday, August 16, 2010

America in Colour in the 1930's & 1940's - LoC

(A cross roads store, bar, "juke joint," and gas station in the cotton plantation area, Melrose, La. 1940 Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-, photographer)

Going by the number of posts that have crossed my Reader in the last couple of weeks it would seem that the rest of the photo-blogosphere has discovered that there are some fascinating colour photographs of the US in the 1930's and 1940's which are held by the Library of Congress. Many of which were taken were by some of the well FSA/OSW photographers such as Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano and Russell Lee.

However, just remember, you actually heard it here first - January 24th, 2008 to be precise...

(The "original" Rosie the Riveter - Riveter at work on Consolidated bomber, Consolidated Aircraft Corp., Fort Worth, Texas 1942 Oct. Howard R. Hollem, photographer (LoC))

Many of these photographs are indeed very fascinating although it the colour ones in particular which seem to have caught peoples imagination.

While these have been up on the LoC website for a number of years, they have become much more widely known since the LoC put a large selection up on Flickr. In fact there are quite a range of institutions and collections which have joined in adding a fascinating array of work to the Flickr Commons from the Getty to the Imperial War Museum to The National Archives UK to the State Library of New South Wales and more.

One result of this is that many institutions are finding they have been able to glean a large amount of extra information about the images through the crowd-sourcing of descriptions on Flicker.

Mind you, although they re easier to view on Flickr, one of the nice thing abut going back to the Library of Congress site for them is you can frequently download very large versions of the files - 50mb to 100mb or so - if you fancy printing off a few for your wall.

All in all worth a look (or another look)

P.S. - The Library of Congress recently updated the front end of it's normal image catalogue database system which improved its user friendliness quite significantly

(Louise Rosskam, 1910-, photographer. Shulman's market, at the southeast corner of N Street and Union Street S.W., Washington, D.C. 1941/42 (LoC))

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