The Great Depression. Colourised Photos

Most of us are familiar with the many haunting photos taken during the Great Depression in America. We might also have read ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, or seen the film adaptation. I found this 7-minute video on You Tube that uses colourisation techniques to revisit many photos of the period, making the people in them seem familiar.

38 thoughts on “The Great Depression. Colourised Photos

  1. Thousands are living in their cars or in tents or under tarps in my old town in Oregon. All up and down the West Coast of the US I think you could get current photos not much different from the ones in this collection. The rich still get rich and the poor still stay poor.

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  2. Amazing – makes you appreciate the importance of birth control. Also in those white faces you see the roots of many of the people who lived in the South and mid West. Fascinating thanks for sharing.

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  3. Such despair in those faces. I was surprised to see one of the photos was from Caribou, Maine. My parents lived in that area for many years. On second thought, though, the price of potatoes, on which farmers depended, must have plummeted.

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  4. There are some extraordinary photographs here, but I think it was a mistake to include photos from the early 1940’s. The Great Depression is said to have ended in 1939. What’s interesting is that some of the babies in the photos from the 1930’s could still be alive. My mother was born in 1933. She’s 89 years old.

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  5. My late dad would not allow 2 subjects in our house (1) anti military – Vietnam war was all the talk for me as a teenager (2) wasting food or money.
    My dad was born in Sheffield Yorkshire during WW1. Why his dad was allowed to emigrate during that time I don’t know as he was 35.
    My dad was at high school during the depression. So many of our parents went through 2 world wars & a depression in between. I don’t think many understand. If we ever wasted food or said anything anti war, we were stood to attention in front of him and given a severe dressing down.
    They would roll in their graves the way we whinge today.

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    1. My mum told me about wartime rationing. (Which lasted into my early chidhood) She was so obsessed with how little they had to eat during WW2, she vowed never to stint herself on food again. As every male member of my extended family had served in the military during the war, or had done National Service later, we never stopped talking about it. It was normal.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  6. I was born during the Depression. My dad ‘broke the law’ by selling a cow that was mortgaged to the bank because he needed money to get his wife and newborn son out of the hospital. Wasn’t long after he lost the farm.
    Somehow those photos being in color takes away the deep sorrow of the era. I rewatched the movie The Grapes of Wrath recently. I can’t imagine it being in color.

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      1. I remember reading how Jane Fonda tried to explain to her then husband, Ted Turner, that by his colorizing the great movies he controlled, he was taking away from the art of the picture itself. She finally won out and you never see a movie like The Maltese Falcon in Ted Turner color. Thank goodness.
        Years ago one of the little grandkids suggested buying grandpa a TV that shows movies in color because the movies he watches don’t have color.

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  7. It must have seemed so hopeless. It shows in all those faces. Then when things began to recover, a world war. I have always been grateful to have been born when I was. I had never seen a picture of Central Park at that time before. Hard to believe! You are posting some great historical images.

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  8. Even when people were dancing, they had a look of hopelessness in their eyes. I have photos of my mothers family taken during the Depression by itinerant photographers. They all looked cheery and I’m so grateful for those images. My grandmother said there were many of those photographers circulating the country, and I’ve always thought it amazing that people would pay for a service like this, while counting the pennies for food.

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