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America in Color from 1939-1943
These are photographs taken by the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information and, according to the site: are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.


These are some thumbnail photos:;st=grid

In the photo taken in Brockton, MA of the people standing in front of the newspaper office and reading the news reports written on what looks like butcher paper and hung up in the windows, there's a story about 'Flying Santa' being behind schedule. I don't know if you know the story of the flying Santa, but that was started in the 1920s by a man named Bill Wincapaw, who was an aviator. While flying on a stormy December night he'd become disoriented while returning to the airfield, and the only way he was able to find his way and return safely was recognizing Maine's Dice Head Lighthouse. In gratitude he dropped a package to the family that lived at the lighthouse the day before xmas. After seeing how excited the family was to receive the package the idea occurred to him to, as a way to thank lighthouse families for their benevolent services, especially at Giftmas with the symbolism of light, according to some, to guide the way, to drop packages to other lighthouse families. Most of the gifts were donated, and contained candy, balloons, gum, books, marbles, yo-yos, crayons, etc. Often times the packages were soggy and pulverized, but the families - especially the children, were so excited and grateful to receive them and to be remembered at Christmas that they didn't care.

Wincapaw did this until a man named Edward Rowe Snow took over the mission in the 1930s, and Snow added more lighthouses during the years to include the Gulf of Mexico, the west coast and Great Lakes. Snow was the Flying Santa for nearly 50 years! And the tradition continues today with packages being dropped from helicopters by Chief Warrent Officer David Waldrop, USCG and Chief Warrant Officer Tom Guthlein, USCG, with the non-profit Friends of Flying Santa, as a way of expressing gratitude for the work performed by the Coast Guard.
'Patia - Really great find, these are amazing pictures. Get yourself a copy of Jesse Colin Young singing Woody Guthrie's "Pastures of Plenty" and give it a listen while going through these - a powerful experience
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
I had seen a few of the photos in an article that was on the Huffington Post, but then my brother-in-law sent the two links I posted and I was amazed at not only how many there were, but the quality - and just the content of the photos.

They really are great pictures, and the stories they tell... such an integral part of American history. I see many of my own family in a lot of them.

I will definitely put 'Pastures of Plenty' on my CD wish-list. I love Woody (and Arlo) Guthrie. What an incredible story teller he was.

Edited by Hypatia on 08/16/2010 15:15
Great historical photos! I don't know that Pastures of Plenty is the name of a CD. It's just a song title. I have an old Jesse Colin Young LP; I'll have to see whether that song is on it or not.
"Pastures of Plenty" is on the album (CD) Good Times. The internet sucks for a lot of stuff but discographies are usually easy to find.
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