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Vintage Denim Inspiration: Depression Era America

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From left:

Rural school children. San Augustine County, Texas, April 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by John Vachon. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Saying grace before the barbeque dinner at the New Mexico Fair. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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From Left:

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains. White Plains, Greene County, Georgia, June 1941. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Homesteader and his children eating barbeque at the New Mexico Fair. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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From Left:

Barker at the grounds at the state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Boy building a model airplane. Robstown, Texas, January 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Arthur Rothstein. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

These images, by photographers of the Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations.

The images perfectly capture a time in history where denim workwear garments were a part of everyday wear. Cover-alls, dungarees and railroad jackets all feature in this perfect little slice of denim history.
The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit, Bound for Glory: America in Color.

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