Born out of farmers’ frustration with the New Deal agricultural policy, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) began in 1935 as the Resettlement Administration with the goal of initiating “rural rehabilitation” efforts for farmers impacted by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. By 1937, the agency transformed into the Farm Security Administration. Within its Information Division, economics professor and Chief of the Historical Section Roy Stryker headed the agency’s documentary photography initiative, capturing the experience of rural life and the working class. With the onset of World War II, the agency again transitioned to the Office of War Information (OWI) in 1942 to photograph military operations and American industry’s transition to wartime production. During its run, the agency employed eleven photographers including Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Marion Post Wolcott. By the time the agency disbanded in 1945, it captured 270,000 photographs, solidifying the initiative as one of the most robust governmental investments in public art.
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