A new searchable database of images offers a look at life for migratory farm workers and other Southwest Idaho residents in the years around the Great Depression and World War II.
The artful, candid portraits show people at work, farming tent homes, makeshift trailer clinics and schools.
“[Farm Security Administration] dentist looking at the teeth of a young migrant child who lives at the FSA camp for farm families at Caldwell, Idaho.” / Russell Lee, November 1941
A project at Yale University is making more than 1,200 photographs from Depression and World War II-era Idaho available online, in a searchable database and with a map of photos by county. The photos are among 170,000 taken by photographers for the U.S. Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information from 1935 to 1945.
Nearly half of the Idaho photos were shot in Canyon County alone.
“Typical house in Caldwell, Idaho. Caldwell is center of pea, sugar beet, onion and fruit section. Also much dairying.” / Russell Lee, May 1941
“Farm workers [in Wilder] unloading their car and moving into tent in which they will live at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) migratory labor camp mobile unit. Tents are floored. The fact that sanitary facilities are available, hot and cold running water for bathing and laundry work, showers and laundry tubs, community building for entertainment and a trailer clinic are a part of the camp make it a better place to live than perhaps the tents would indicate.” / Russell Lee, May 1941
Click here to be taken directly to all Idaho photos.
Click here for photos taken just in Boise.
“Twin Falls County, Idaho. Gas station.” / Russell Lee, July 1942