January 28, 2022

College Press: "Government Photos Take New Form Online" (Yale Daily News)

From the Yale Daily News:

With the help of Yale students and faculty, Depression era government photographs are gaining new accessibility, 21st-century style.

In early September, a Yale team received a $50,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to construct an innovative online archive of government-owned photographs taken during the Great Depression. When the grant, issued by the United States Office of Digital Humanities, goes into effect in October, it will enable the team to create a website with the server capacity to support the 160,000 images in the archive.

Taken between 1935 and 1943 by renowned photographers such as Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, the photographs document scenes of American poverty and were used as propaganda in government pamphlets in support of the New Deal. In the early 1940s, photographers shifted gears, focusing on images relevant to World War II.

While the photographs have long been accessible to the public through the Library of Congress website, the new website aims to enliven and increase public engagement with the material, said Professor Laura Wexler, the project’s director and a faculty member in the Public Humanities at Yale program.


The team is currently at work gathering census data and creating captions for the photographs. They hope to have the data in a more interactive form within the next six months, Arnold said.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.