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The People's America

Selections from the Henry Holmes Smith Archive

"No medium has changed the history of
art more profoundly than photography.

The twenty-five photographs in this exhibition, selected from the collection of the Indiana University Art Museum, are a tiny portion of approximately 270,000 negatives produced by a department of the Farm Security Administration during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Their immediate purpose was to show the need for government intervention and to promote government programs intended to help impoverished rural citizens. Their larger purpose was to record for future generations the way of life on America's farms and small towns during the 1930s.


View the photographs

Artists' biographies

Selected bibliography

Henry Holmes Smith Archive


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© 1999 Indiana University Art Museum