Here Are The Amazing colour Photos Of The Great Depression That Everyone Is Talking About

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Photo: The Library Of Congress via Flickr

The way Americans perceive the Great Depression is in large part coloured by the fact that most photos of the era are in black and white. The familiar photos are filled with pathos, but they also make the Great Depression seem otherworldly–wholely dissimilar from the vivid colour of the struggling economy we now find ourselves in.

Recently, the Library of Congress has just released about 1,700 new photos of the early 1940s.  Unlike the more familiar black-and-white shots, these photos are in colour.  And they cast the tail end of the Depression in a different–and, unsettlingly, more familiar–light.

Because The Daily Mail is talking about them today, they’re getting a lot of buzz again.

Houston, Texas , 1943

House, Houston, Texas

1943 May, Vachon, John,, 1914-1975,, photographer.

Saying grace before the barbecue dinner at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair, 1940

Saying grace before the barbecue dinner at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair

1940 Oct., Lee, Russell,, 1903-1986,, photographer.

Getting ready to serve the barbecue dinner at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair, 1940

Getting ready to serve the barbecue dinner at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair

1940 Oct., Lee, Russell,, 1903-1986,, photographer.

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland, 1941

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland

1941 Sept., Delano, Jack,, photographer.

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland, 1941

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland

1941 Sept., Delano, Jack,, photographer.

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland, 1941

At the Vermont state fair, Rutland

1941 Sept., Delano, Jack,, photographer.

William London, a railroad worker for 25 years. (1940s)

Melrose Park (near Chicago), Ill, C&NWRR. William London has been a railroad worker 25 years - now working at the roundhouse at the Proviso yards (LOC) (1940s)

C & NW RR, a general view of a classification yard at Proviso Yard, Chicago, Ill., 1942

C & NW RR, a general view of a classification yard at Proviso Yard, Chicago, Ill.

1942 Dec., Delano, Jack,, photographer.

A woman's work is never done: Mrs Viola Sievers, one of the wipers at the roundhouse, giving a giant 'H' class locomotive a bath of live steam in Clinton, Iowa, April 1943

A woman's work is never done: Mrs Viola Sievers, one of the wipers at the roundhouse, giving a giant 'H' class locomotive a bath of live steam in Clinton, Iowa, April 1943

Joseph Klesken washing up after a day's work at the rip tracks at Proviso yards of the C & NW RR., Chicago, Ill., 1943

Joseph Klesken washing up after a day's work at the rip tracks at Proviso yards of the C & NW RR., Chicago, Ill.

1943 April, Delano, Jack,, photographer.

Part of the South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago, Illinois, May 1943

Part of the South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago, Illinois, May 1943

Trucks unloading at the inbound freight house of the Illinois Central Railroad, South Water Street freight terminal, Chicago, Ill., 1943

Trucks unloading at the inbound freight house of the Illinois Central Railroad, South Water Street freight terminal, Chicago, Ill.

1943 April, Delano, Jack,, photographer.

Farm auction. Derby, Connecticut (September 1940)

Farm auction. Derby, Connecticut (September 1940)

Schools did not open until the potatoes are harvested. (October 1940)

Children gathering potatoes on a large farm, vicinity of Caribou, Aroostook County, Me. Schools do not open until the potatoes are harvested. (October 1940)

Grand Grocery Company. Lincoln, Nebraska (1942)

Grand Grocery Company. Lincoln, Nebraska (1942)

Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their rest room, Chicago and Northwest Railway Company. Clinton, Iowa (April 1943)

Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their rest room, Chicago and Northwest Railway Company. Clinton, Iowa (April 1943)

Distributing surplus commodities, St. Johns, Arizona (October 1940)

Distributing surplus commodities, St. Johns, Arizona (October 1940)

Bayou Bourbeau plantation (August 1940)

Bayou Bourbeau plantation, a FSA cooperative, Natchitoches, La. (August 1940)

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains, Greene County, Georgia (June 1941)

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains. White Plains, Greene County, Georgia (June 1941)

Shasta dam under construction. California (June 1942)

Shasta dam under construction. California (June 1942)

Planting corn along a river. Northeastern Tennessee (May 1940)

Harvesting oats, southeastern Georgia (c.1940)

Harvesting corn, Pie Town, New Mexico (October 1940)

Harvesting corn, Pie Town, New Mexico (October 1940)

Boys sitting on truck parked at the FSA labour camp, Robston, Texas (January 1942)

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of homesteader Jack Whinery, in Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of homesteader Jack Whinery, in Pie Town, New Mexico, September 1940

Homesteader (October 1940)

Jim Norris, homesteader, Pie Town, New Mexico (October 1940)

Brockton, Mass., Dec. 1940, second-hand plumbing store

Brockton, Mass., Dec. 1940, second-hand plumbing store

Sugar cane workers, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. (December 1941)

Main Street, Creede, Colorado, at the mouth of Willow Creek Canyon. (December 1942)

Main Street, Creede, Colorado -- main street at the mouth of Willow Creek Canyon. (December 1942)

fertiliser wagon at an arid farm. (c. 1940)

fertiliser wagon with 'Springfield' on its side (c. 1940)

Rodeo at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair (October 1940)

Rodeo at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair (October 1940)

Homesteader and his children eating barbecue at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair (1940)

Homesteader and his children eating barbecue at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair

1940 Oct., Lee, Russell,, 1903-1986,, photographer.

Jack Whinery and his family, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico (1940)

Jack Whinery and his family, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico

1940 Sept., Lee, Russell,, 1903-1986,, photographer.

Parris Island, S.C., barrage balloon 1942

Parris Island, S.C., barrage balloon

1942 May, Palmer, Alfred T.,, photographer.

Sylvia Sweets Tea Room, corner of School and Main streets, Brockton, Mass. (1940)

Trucks outside of a starch factory, Caribou, Aroostook County, Me. (1940)

Trucks outside of a starch factory, Caribou, Aroostook County, Me. There were almost 50 trucks in the line. Some had been waiting for 20-four hours for the potatoes to be graded and weighed

1940 Oct., Delano, Jack,, photographer.

Georgia, ca. 1940

Delano, Jack,, photographer.

Georgia?

ca. 1940

Scrap and salvage depot, Butte, Montana (October 1942)

Robstown, Texas (1942)

Jim Norris and wife, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940

Jim Norris and wife, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico

1940 Oct., Lee, Russell,, 1903-1986,, photographer.

Tying a ribbon on a calf's tail was one of the feature attractions at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair rodeo, 1940

Tying a ribbon on a calf's tail was one of the feature attractions at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair rodeo

1940 Oct., Lee, Russell,, 1903-1986,, photographer.

Co-op orange packing plant, Redlands, Calif. Workman is doing the preliminary sorting, picking out the discards. Santa Fe, 1943

Co-op orange packing plant, Redlands, Calif. Workman is doing the preliminary sorting, picking out the discards. Santa Fe trip

1943 March, Delano, Jack,, photographer.

Mrs. Virginia Young (right) whose husband was one of the first casualties of World War II, is a supervisor in the Assembly and Repairs Department of the Naval Air Base. Ethel Mann operates an electric drill. (1942)

Pearl Harbor widows have gone into war work to carry on the fight with a personal vengeance, Corpus Christi, Texas. Mrs. Virginia Young (right) whose husband was one of the first casualties of World War II, is a supervisor in the Assembly and Repairs Department of the Naval Air Base. Her job is to find convenient and comfortable living quarters for women workers from out of the state, like Ethel Mann, who operates an electric drill.

1942 August, Hollem, Howard R.,, photographer.

Lucile Mazurek, age 29, ex-housewife, husband going into the service. Working on black-out lamps to be used on the gasoline trailers in the Air Force, Heil and Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (1943)

Lucile Mazurek, age 29, ex-housewife, husband going into the service. Working on black-out lamps to be used on the gasoline trailers in the Air Force, Heil and Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1943 Feb., Hollem, Howard R.,, photographer.

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