Throwback Thursday—Previously Unseen Pix from the Great Depression

From the Yale University interactive database, photogrammar

Photo by Fritz Henle, Library of Congress
A crossroad sign on the property of the Basic Magnesium plant (in the background)
still under construction in December 1942


From 1935 to 1944, the Farm Security Administration—Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) undertook the largest photography project ever sponsored by the federal government.  In order to build support and justify government programs designed to aide the poorest farmers displaced by the Depression, the Historical Section (a division of the Resettlement Administration) set out to document the relief efforts.  

Some of the most iconic images of the Great Depression were shot by photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Arthur Rothstein, who all helped shape the visual culture of the era.  

Of the 170,000 photos, most have been stored in filing cabinets at the FSA-OWI.  A team of researchers from Yale recently created a web-based interactive platform called, Photogrammar, for organizing & searching this collection.  Most of the photos have not been viewed since they were placed in the gov archives over 70 years ago.

I did a search for Clark County, Nevada, and found some remarkable early photos of gambling in Las Vegas, some beautiful black-and-whites of familiar terrain, and some fascinating shots of the Basic Magnesium plant under construction, 1942-43.  Here are just a few from the collection... 

Basic Magnesium 1942 - 1943

Green Valley 

Basic Magnesium plant in Henderson_February 1943
photo by Fritz Henle_Library of Congress

A worker's wife waters a newly planted lawn around one
of the thousand demountable houses built in Henderson for the employees
at Basic Magnesium Inc._Febr 1943
photo by Fritz Henle_Library of Congress

A billboard on the grounds of the Basic Mag plant showing tracer bullets, one of the
products manufactured from the magnesium processed by this plant.
"MacArthur's job is fighting.  OURS is magnesium."
photo by Fritz Henle_Dec 1942

familiar sights

joshua tree_looks like Eldorado Valley
photo by Arthur Rothstein_March 1940

yuccas & rocks in henderson
photo by Arthur Rothstein

Charleston Park
Photo by Arthur Rothstein_March 1940

Main Street_Las Vegas
Photo by Arthur Rothstein_March 194

Vegas slots
Photo by Arthur Rothstein_March 1940

Wheel of Fortune
Photo by Arthur Rothstein_March 1940

Paying the tab at a restaurant in Vegas
No Sales Tax!
Photo by Arthur Rothstein_March 1940

search for more pix on photogrammar HERE

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