RA/FSA (Resettlement Administration/Farm Security Administration)

(1935 - 1942)


The RA/FSA photographs at ICP are comprised from the photographic section of two government agencies, the Resettlement Administration (1935 - 1937), and the Farm Security Administration (1937 - 1942). Roy Stryker's photographic section, initially titled the Historical Section, was designed to inform the public about governmental programs that aided impoverished farmers and tenants during the Depression. In the later years of the photographic section, the images were increasingly aimed at showing the progress that was made through governmental funding. Numerous agencies used photography to document their activities during the 1930s, but Stryker's RA/FSA was certainly the most ambitious photographic project ever undertaken by the government. The images documented changes that took place across the country as rural agriculture was subsumed by increasing modernization and urbanization. In 1942, the RA/FSA became the Office of War Information (OWI), shortly before losing Congressional funding in 1943. Stryker left to begin a photographic project at Standard Oil of New Jersey, while also working to secure a place for the RA/FSA photographs at the Library of Congress. Stryker feared, with reason, that opponents of the photographic project's ideological stance would try to destroy the 270,000 images that had been taken over the years. As a result of his work to preserve the collection, the photographs can be accessed by the public in the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress.
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