Pictures of The Great Depression
in San Antonio, Texas by Russell Lee
for the United States Farm Security Administration 1939

Library of Congress
Making tortillas in bake shop, San Antonio, Texas. Tortillas are made of corn flour
which is very finely ground and mashed corn. No moisture or baking powder or salt
is added
March 1939
Weighing vegetables in fruit and vegetable market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Housewife buying vegetables in market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Better houses in the Mexican quarter, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Boys playing in front of backyard house, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Privy and water supply, Mexican district,
San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Fruit symbol on side of produce truck, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Part of commodity relief line, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Weighing chickens in produce market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Vegetable peddlers in open air market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican picking over peas in market in San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Imitation Turkish spread for sale in market,
San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Honey peddler reading newspaper in market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Man painting automobile top near market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Front of peddler's car, market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Front of fruit peddler's car, market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Produce peddler's truck in market at San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Peddler's licenses on poultry truck, market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Potato peddler and newsboy, market, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Burlap-covered water bottle in Mexican house, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican mother and child in doorway, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Household goods in backyard of Mexican house, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Front of corral in Mexican section, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Men waiting in line for relief commodities, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Relief line with clerk, Mexican district, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Relief line waiting for commodities, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Relief line waiting for commodities, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Detail of house of Mexican family, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Rear view of Mexican house, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican women sitting on porch, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Sign in privy of Mexican district, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Privy and corral in Mexican district, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Interior of privy in corral, Mexican district,
San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican boy sitting on door step, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Corral, woman sweeping up trash, San Antonio, Texas
March 1937
Decorations in front of Mexican barbershop, San Antonio, Texas
March 1937
Sign in front of baby clothes manufacturers, San Antonio, Texas
March 1937
Sign on side of shoe shine parlor, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican boys looking at movie poster, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexicans looking at suits for sale, San Antonio, Texas
March 1937
Russell Lee (July 21, 1903 - August 28, 1986) was an
American photographer and photojournalist, best known for
his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and for
his images documenting the ethnography of various American
classes and cultures.

During the fall of 1917, Lee enrolled in Culver Military
Academy in Indiana, where he spent the next four years, until
his graduation in 1921. Lee then attended Lehigh University
in Pennsylvania from 1921 to 1925 and earned a degree in
chemical engineering.

He took his first photographs in 1935. Lee is responsible for
some of the iconic images produced by the FSA, including
photographic studies of San Antonio, Texas in 1939, and Pie
Town, New Mexico in 1940.

In the fall of 1936, Lee joined the photographic staff of the
Resettlement Administration (RA), which was renamed the
Farm Security Administration (FSA) in 1937. Both the RA and
the FSA were New Deal programs created to assist poor and
destitute farmers during the Dust Bowl and the Great
Depression.

He worked directly under the creative supervision of Roy
Stryker, the head of the Historical Section and the director of
photographic projects. The Historical Section's purpose and
function was to publicize and gain national support for the
FSA, through the dissemination of photographs illustrating the
plight of tenant farmers, sharecroppers, and migrant workers.
Stryker's documentary team created 77,000 still photographs
from 1935 until 1942; many of these were published in a
variety of newspapers, books and magazines. His graphic
designers and editors produced posters and exhibitions of
these photographs that toured cities around the United
States, educating mostly urban Americans about the country's
rural problems.
Proprietors of general store, Mexican district, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican boys peering through grating in sidewalk, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Girl putting penny into vending machine, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Decorations in front of Mexican barbershop,
San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Sign on shoe shine parlor, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Woman in front of secondhand furniture store, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican man in front of movie theater, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Proprietor of credit clothing store, Mexican district, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Street scene in Mexican district of San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican woman in her home. San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Detail of living room of Mexican house. San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican house on outskirts of San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Bureau and decorations in Mexican house. San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Interior of underground storage space. Mexican section, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Looking into kitchen from outdoors. Mexican house,
San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican girl in storage shed. San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Yard and house of Mexican. San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican boy sick in bed. San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Corner of bedroom. Mexican section, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Corner of living room. Mexican house, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Detail of living room. Mexican house, San Antonio, Texas
March 1939
Mexican woman cleaning her backyard. San Antonio, Texas
March, 1939
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