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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
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Around The Board

Documenting America: Photographs from 1936–1948

Washington, D.C. – Child Riding on a Streetcar by Esther Bubley, 1943 Gelatin silver print

Esther Bubley (1921–98)
Washington, D.C. –
Child Riding on a Streetcar
, 1943
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy Gabriel Wisdom

Untitled (railroad man) by Jack Delano, 1940 Gelatin silver print

Jack Delano (1914–97)
Untitled (railroad man), c. 1940
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Leo and Nina Pircher

An exhibition at the Federal Reserve Board from April 7 to September 5, 2014

This exhibition features photographs from the Federal Reserve Board’s collection that illustrate the range of socioeconomic conditions present in the United States during the Great Depression and World War II years. These images give us a glimpse into the lives of individuals across the country and capture the impact of the economic downturn on Americans in their daily routines.  It includes the work of early female photographer Esther Bubley; New York City photographer Aaron Siskind; Farm Security Administration photographers Jack Delano and Russell Lee; and Life magazine photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Documentary photography became popularized during the 1930s as a means to understand contemporary events. These realist photographs—produced by many of the important photographers of the time—recorded lifestyles across the nation and found their way to the general public via books, newspapers, and magazines. These social documentarians captured images of people from all walks of life in various rural and urban conditions.

Documenting America: Photographs from 1936–1948 is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except federal holidays. Reservations are required at least five business days in advance. For reservations and further information, please use the Contact Us form.






Last update: April 7, 2014