Indiana Farm Security Administration Photographs
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This website provides background information and educational resources for students and teachers interested in using the FSA photographs in Indiana. The Farm Security Administration was a New Deal agency established in 1937. It originally started as the Resettlement Administration in 1935 and later became the Office of War Information. The photographs cover a timeline from 1935 to 1945. Its goal was to rescue the chronic rural poor and farmers during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The FSA had four main tasks: resettlement, rehabilitation, technical assistance and land utilization.
Organizationally, the Historical Section, responsible for the photography project of the FSA, was part of the Information Division. Nine photographers employed in the Historical Section of the FSA documented economic and social conditions in Indiana, including rural resettlement and rehabilitation programs and planned communities. The nine photographers were Esther Bubley, Paul Carter, Jack Delano, Theodore Jung, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, Arthur Rothstein, and John Vachon. The FSA Indiana photographs provide a wonderful view of traditional rural and farm life in Indiana. The FSA photographers in Indiana photographed tenant farmers, soil erosion, women and homemaking, planting of crops and various forms of relaxation as well as many other topics. Roy Stryker, Director of the Historical Section, also instructed FSA photographers in Indiana to document the Ohio River flood of 1937 as well as three resettlement projects, Decatur Homesteads and Wabash and Deshee Farms.
The FSA photographs are preserved in the Prints and Photography Division of the Library of Congress and as part of the American Memory Project. You can search America from the Depression to World War II – Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945 and identify other FSA photos by states or localities as well as searching by subject. The Library of Congress website also includes a bibliography, related websites, collections connections as well as information about working with the collection. This website provides students and teachers with activities about how to use the FSA Indiana photographs to examine and analyze Indiana’s past and present. It is intended primarily for middle school and high school students taking Indiana or U.S. history.