On the eve of the Great Depression, most Texans lived on farms or ranches or in small towns. Though the previous decade saw successes in oil, the economy was still dominated by agriculture – cotton in the north, livestock in the west and a growing citrus industry in the south.
When the stock market crashed in 1929, many Texans believed the state’s rural nature would insulate the region from the worst of the financial crisis. As the nation’s economy collapsed, it became clear that Texas would suffer, too. Across the state, agriculture and the new industries of oil and lumber fell victim to the growing economic depression.
These vintage photographs are filled with pathos, but they also make the Great Depression seem otherworldly--wholely dissimilar from the vivid color of the struggling economy we now find ourselves in.
A big house on a Houston street, Texas, May 1943
A doctor giving a typhoid inoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas, April 1943
A general view of Amarillo, Texas, March 1943
Boy building a model airplane as girl watches, Texas, 1942
Boys flying a kite in front of the community center at the FSA camp, Robstown, 1942
Boys playing marbles, Robstown, Texas, 1942
Boys sitting on truck parked at the FSA labor camp, Robstown, Texas, Jan. 1942