Cover image for Bound for glory : America in color, 1939-43
Bound for glory : America in color, 1939-43
Hendrickson, Paul, 1944-
Publication Information:
New York : H.N. Abrams ; [Washington, D.C.] : in association with the Library of Congress, [2004]

Physical Description:
191 pages : largely color illustrations ; 21 X 31 cm
General Note:
"FSA/OWI Collection, The Library of Congress."
The color of memory / Paul Hendrickson -- Color photographs of the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information -- Kodachrome : the new age of color / Jeremy Adamson.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR820.5 .B685 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



The photographs of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and its successor, the Office of War Information (OWI), which recorded American life in the late 1930s and early 1940s, remain among the most moving and famous documentary images from the first half of the 20th century. Yet, while the thousands and thousands of black and white photographs in the FSA/OWI's collection are well known, much less familiar are the some 1,600 colour pictures taken with newly available Kodachrome film. Now back in print, Bound for Glory is a selection of 175 of the best of these colour photographs, introduced by National Book Award finalist Paul Hendrickson and assembled to create a vivid portrait of America as it emerged from the Great Depression to fight World War II. Covering countryside and city, farm and factory, work and play, the images in this book--by the photographers Marion Post Wolcott, John Vachon, Jack Delano and Russell Lee, among others--open a window onto Americas experience from 1939 to 1943. Included are scenes and portraits capturing migrant labour, rural and small town life, industrial growth, women in the workforce, aircraft manufacturing, and wartime mobilisation. They reveal a world that we have always seen in our mind's eye exclusively in black and white. Never before has there been a book that paints this picture in full colour.

Author Notes

Paul Hendrickson, a prizewinning feature writer for the Washington Post, is on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. He has degrees in American literature from St. Louis University and Penn State.

Hendrickson's books are Looking for the Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott (a finalist for the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award); The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War (finalist for the National Book Award in 1996); and Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

More barely known, invaluable early-1940s photos come to complement Angelo Spinelli and Lewis Carlson's Life behind Barbed Wire BKL Mr 15 03 and Evan Bachner's At Ease BKL My 15 03. But whereas those books reveal sparsely documented aspects of World War II servicemen's lives, this one shows mostly civilians in examples of the color work done for the Farm Service Administration (FSA) and its successor, the Office of War Information. FSA, in particular, is a byword for documentary photographic excellence because of the agency's documentation of the Depression by photographers famously including Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans. But those pictures are black and white, and many may not even know that color film was exposed for the FSA. So these images by FSA stalwarts Marion Post Wolcott, John Vachon, Jack Delano, Russell Lee, and others constitute manna from the archives. Affectionately and analytically introduced by journalist Paul Hendrickson, they show farm people and rural life in far-flung corners of the U.S., then urban workers and workplaces, then wartime work and workers. Masterly and powerful as their monochrome siblings, they are as complexly delightful, not least because they boost the documentary reputation of the most popular painter of their time, Norman Rockwell; the faces in the photos look just like those in his paintings. --Ray Olson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Taken from 1939 to 1943 under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information, these 175 "lost" photos feature shots by Russell Lee, Andreas Feininger and Marion Post Wolcott, using the then-revolutionary technology of Kodachrome film. Color photographs taken before 1939 have largely deteriorated, so these surviving photos are later than the most familiar b&w Depression-era shots. This 11 1/2" x 8 1/2" volume thus "colorizes" one's normally black-and-white impressions of a very vibrant time, as Hendrickson (Sons of Mississippi) notes in his introduction. The logic behind the arrangement of the photos, which at first seems largely random, as it follows neither photographer, location nor chronology, becomes clear by the end of the book: the U.S.'s industrial rise. Images of urban lethargy and farmhands picking cotton under hot blue skies (the unbearable conditions of cotton-picking somehow seem more apparent in color) gradually give way to images of mobility, mechanization and a changing economy. Arnold T. Palmer's gleaming portraits of Rosie the riveter-like aircraft workers follow Jack Delano's earthier photos of male railroad workers, their sweaty and intent faces caked with soot. Tellingly, the book ends with photos of bombers flying over California. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved