Between 1933 and 1940, and continuing through World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent billions of dollars through a number of agencies on a variety of relief and recovery measures. Persuading Congress and the American public that mammoth appropriations were necessary to ameliorate the privations suffered by the bottom third of the nation required a constant lobbying and educational effort. To show the needs of the ill-housed, ill-fed, and ill-clothed during the Great Depression, and to record the progress made by the New Deal, a documentary photography project was established in 1935 in the Resettlement Administration (RA), and became in 1937 part of the newly-created Farm Security Administration (FSA). Under the direction of Roy Stryker, the Historical Section employed nearly thirty photographers, with never more than six photographers working at any one time because of budgetary restraints. Despite public complaints that the FSA was wasting taxpayers’ money, criticism that the FSA was taking silly and irrelevant pictures, and threats to investigate the philosophy and operation of the FSA, Stryker persevered to spend nearly $l,000,000 and compiled a file of nearly 270,000 photographs. Today the FSA collection is hailed as one of the great, perhaps the greatest, collection of documentary photographs in the world.
Snyder, Robert E.
"Marion Post and the Farm Security Administration in Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 65:
4, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol65/iss4/5