Times of Sorrow and Hope

Documenting Everyday Life in Pennsylvania During the Depression and World War II: A Photographic Record

By (author) Allen Cohen, Ronald Filippelli

Hardback - £53.95

Publication date:

24 June 2003

Length of book:

288 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271022529

Between 1935 and 1946 a group of photographers working for the federal government fanned out across the country to record American life in pictures. Among them were some of the great documentary photographers in American history—including Marjory Collins, Jack Delano, Sheldon Dick, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, and Marion Post Wolcott. This massive photographic project, carried out primarily under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the Office of War Information (OWI) and later preserved at the Library of Congress, was unrivaled in scope: no comparable attempt to document life in this country has ever been made. Times of Sorrow and Hope is devoted to the Pennsylvania photographs in the FSA-OWI collection. It is both a book and an online catalog.

The Times of Sorrow and Hope book features 150 selected images from the approximately 6,000 Pennsylvania photographs, and they cover themes ranging from coal mining, steelworkers, and women in wartime industries to cities and small towns, farm life, family life, and life among the Amish and Mennonites. The book also includes an essay introducing the FSA-OWI project, an introduction to the catalog of the entire collection of Pennsylvania photographs, and a historical essay on Pennsylvania during the Great Depression and World War II.

The website that accompanies this volume offers a complete catalog of all the FSA-OWI photos taken in the state as well as detailed descriptions and guides to the images. The catalog is keyed to the holdings of the Library of Congress, which houses the fullest collection of FSA-OWI photographs. The Times of Sorrow and Hope website, sponsored by the Penn State University Libraries, can be found at https://libraries.psu.edu/about/collections/times-sorrow-and-hope

Times of Sorrow and Hope provides a unique, comprehensive visual and written record of Pennsylvania history as the state struggled through one of its darkest periods and confronted new economic, political, and social challenges.

“These selections are a reflection of the sensitive and historically significant work done in the Commonwealth, an enduring record of a desperate time in America.”

—Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette