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Arts and Entertainment

Thousands Of Old LA Photos Have Just Been Released

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A huge collection of photos just released by Yale offers an incredible look at America during the Great Depression and World War II, and over 1,300 are from around Los Angeles.

The powerful images are part of an archive of 170,000 photo taken all over the U.S. by Farm Security Administration photographers from 1935 to 1945. The photos are physically housed by the Library of Congress, but have now been made easily accessible to the public online. The university's web-based Photogrammer enables you to search the collection using a map of the U.S. where you can click on any county to see the photos from the era. You can easily explore the stunning photos, which show people facing the challenges of the Depression, preparing for war and just going about their everyday lives. The L.A. photos reveal a region struggling with farmers migrating from the Dust Bowl, impoverished areas of downtown, as well as Japanese Americans being sent for internment during the WWII.

Many of the photos—including the ones from around Los Angeles County—were taken by some of the biggest names in photography at the time including Dorothy Lange and Walker Evans. You can also narrow your search by photographer, dates and more. Yale explains the collection on their site:

The Farm Security Administration—Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) produced some of the most iconic images of the Great Depression and World War II and included photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Arthur Rothstein who shaped the visual culture of the era both in its moment and in American memory. Unit photographers were sent across the country. The negatives were sent to Washington, DC. The growing collection came to be known as “The File.” With the United State’s entry into WWII, the unit moved into the Office of War Information and the collection became known as the FSA-OWI File.
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Browse through the gallery and explore the map to see more, or you can use Yale's other cool Photogrammer tools to dig even deeper into the collection.