Date of Award

Summer 1985

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Peter C. Stewart

Committee Member

Alf J. Mapp, Jr.

Committee Member

Douglas Greene

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H85J63


During the years 1935 to 1943 photographers employed by the Farm Security Administration documented America struggling through the Great Depression and its subsequent entry into World war II. Originally conceived as a way to provide information about problems in the rural areas of the country and to help sell the New Deal. The director, Roy Stryker, transformed the project into more than just a bureaucratic exercise in propaganda. Instead, Stryker consciously attempted to create a photographic portrait of the American culture.

The majority of the 159 photographs on which this thesis is based have not been seen outside of the Library of Congress. The author has selected these images from approximately two thousand Virginia photographs. The author has conducted interviews with three of the photographers who worked on the project and has used first person accounts by those involved who are now deceased.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).