Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Photographs & Films

Here are collections of photographs, newsreels, and films depicting important aspects of the Great Depression in Washington State. Click on an image below to be taken to a special thematic album.

Dorothea Lange's Yakima Valley Collection
The Farm Security Administration commissioned Dorothea Lange to chronicle central Washington's Yakima Valley migrant and agricultural laborers in 1939. View Lange's images, culled from the Library of Congress photograph archives.

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National Guard troops use tear gas on picketers in Tacoma during the 1935 timber workers strike (near what is today the University of Washington campus). Universal Newsreel, National Archives. Courtesy Ronald Magden

Films and Newsreel footage
Here are two newsreel clips from Tacoma and Seattle and a short film about the 1934 Longshoreman's strike. Courtesy Ronald Magden.

Civil Works Administration
The Civil Works Administration was one of many work relief programs provided by the New Deal during 1933 and 1934. These photographs depict CWA projects in Washington state, including road and waterway construction, school maintenance, and parks building. From the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections.

Photographs of Hoovervilles in Seattle and Tacoma
Here are dozens of images of shanytowns and of the large Hoovervilles in Seattle and Tacoma.


Federal Emergency Relief Administration King County
The Federal Emergency Relief Administration provided funds and set up work projects for the unemployed beginning in 1933. These photographs show FERA projects in King County. From the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections.


Grand Coulee Dam Construction 1933-1942
This collection of photographs and documents chronicles the construction of Washington's Grand Coulee Dam. From the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections.

Ronald Ginther Watercolors
Ronald Ginther produced more than 80 vivid watercolors depicting events and scenes in Washington and Oregon during the 1930s.

The Voice of Action Collection 1933-1935
The Communist Party published the Voice of Action and distributed it throughout the state. Here is an extensive collection of articles and graphics from the radical weekly.