Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Great Depression to World War II

[Detail] Migrant agricultural worker

The visual nature of FSA/OWI Photographs, 1935-1945 lends itself to a variety of imaginative projects, while the historical content provides a wide variety of writing topics. The collection also affords students the opportunity to consider and write about photographs as "texts" and to explore the connections between the visual and literary media.


Students can use the collection to see the relationship between literature and social history. Have students read excerpts from John Steinbeck's The Harvest Gypsies or The Grapes of Wrath, formulate search words from the texts, and find photographs to illustrate selected passages. Search Tom Collins and Kern County for photographs that document the Resettlement Camp and camp manager upon which those in The Grapes of Wrath are based. Search Joad in Voices from the Dust Bowl, read the notes on the collecting expedition, or turn to page 10 in Charles Todd's Scrapbook to see how the novel in turn affected social history. Alternatively, have students search evacuation and Japanese for photographs to illustrate Ellen Levine's A Fence Away from Freedom or Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston.