Farm Security Administration Collection

Collection History

This digital compilation was developed in support of the NYPL website, "The African American Migration Experience," a sweeping 500-year historical narrative from the transatlantic slave trade to the Western migration, the colonization movement, the Great Migration, and the contemporary immigration of Caribbeans, Haitians, and sub-Saharan Africans.

Related Resources

NYPL. "In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience."(2005) <>

Collection Data

The FSA Collection documents the living and working conditions of African Americans residing mostly in depressed rural and agricultural regions, primarily in the American South and border states, as well as some of the projects sponsored by the FSA to assist them, from 1935-1942. The collection consists of views of farmers, sharecroppers, and migrant workers; factory workers and service employees; their families; displaced persons, including evicted families and flood refugees from the Ohio and Mississippi River flood of 1937; housing and living conditions, including migrant camps; construction and resettlement projects; social and educational activities and religious gatherings; farm and plantation properties; rural towns and businesses. The states most represented are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. Depictions of other states, and of major urban areas aside from Chicago and Washington, D.C., are very limited.
United States. Farm Security Administration (Sponsor)
Collier, John, 1913-1992 (Photographer)
Delano, Jack (Photographer)
Evans, Walker, 1903-1975 (Photographer)
Lange, Dorothea (Photographer)
Lee, Russell, 1903-1986 (Photographer)
Locke, Edwin (Photographer)
Mydans, Carl (Photographer)
Parks, Gordon, 1912-2006 (Photographer)
Rothstein, Arthur, 1915-1985 (Photographer)
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969 (Photographer)
Vachon, John, 1914-1975 (Photographer)
Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990 (Photographer)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1935 - 1944
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division
Shelf locator: Sc Photo Farm Security Administration Collection
African Americans
Rural poor -- United States
African American agricultural laborers
African American farmers
Migrant labor
African American families
African Americans -- Economic conditions
African Americans -- Social conditions
African Americans -- Housing
African Americans -- Social life and customs
Chicago (Ill.)
Washington (D.C.)
North Carolina
South Carolina
Group portraits
Landscapes (Representations)
Biographical/historical: The Farm Security Administration (1937-1942) was a federal government program that provided assistance to the rural poor and migrant agricultural workers during the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The program was created when its predecessor, the Resettlement Administration (1935-1937), was moved to the Department of Agriculture. The program's photography project, formed in 1935 and led by photographer Roy E. Stryker (1935-1943), initially documented cash loan programs to farmers and community construction projects, but later focused on the lives of Southern sharecroppers, migratory agricultural workers in the Midwestern and Western states, and urban and rural conditions throughout the United States. The photography project, after becoming part of the Office of War Information (1942-1944), focused on domestic war mobilization efforts during World War II. The photography project ended in 1944 and the collection was transferred to the Library of Congress. In 1946, the FSA was succeeded by the Farmers Home Administration.
Physical Description
Gelatin silver prints
Extent: 1719 items; 4.5 cubic ft; 15 boxes
1690 photographic prints up to 21x26 cm; 29 photographic prints up to 40x51 cm
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b22609769
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 8031e230-c612-012f-3daf-58d385a7bc34
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