How to Use This Site - Times of Sorrow and Hope

The Times of Sorrow and Hope website is dedicated to documenting the Pennsylvania photographs in the FSA-OWI collection and making them accessible to the public. The main feature of this website is the catalog of approximately 6,000 Pennsylvania photographs that have so far been identified. The catalog offers comprehensive information about each photograph, and we eventually hope to include links to the actual images.

The main catalog lists the photographs only under the name of the photographer. We also have provided five guide pages, currently viewable as PDF files, to give viewers a broader range in which to search. Each PDF guide is specifically indexed to help viewers find what they need as quickly and as easily as possible. The photographs are categorized by 

  • Dates
  • Personal Names
  • Photographers
  • Places
  • Subjects

In time, the catalog will be upgraded to a database that will enhance the catalog’s searchability and ease of use. Until then, follow the simple instructions below to learn more. If you already know what you’re looking for, you can go straight to the Collection.

Choose a Photo

Begin by opening up the guide that is most appropriate for finding the topic that interests you. Once you have found a photograph you would like to learn more about, note the photographer’s name, the date, and the place, and move on to the Online Catalog.

  • Guide to Dates : For example, “I am looking for a photo taken in the Spring of 1941.”
  • Guide to Personal Names​​ : For example, “I am curious about whether photos of my grandmother were taken in Pennsylvania during the Depression.”
  • Guide to Photographers: For example, “I am interested in the work of Ben Shahn.”
  • Guide to Places : For example, “I’d like to see photos of what Allentown looked like in the late 1930s.”
  • Guide to Subjects: For example, “I am researching Pennsylvania farm workers.”

Find a Photo 

Locate the photographer by last name in the Online Catalog and find the citation for your specific photograph. A typical citation lists the place, title, and date of the photo, followed by the sources for the photograph. If a digital image exists on the Library of Congress website, two access numbers for that online collection are given.

Homeade Pool

Homemade swimming pool built by steelworkers for their children. Pittsburgh, July 1938. Arthur Rostein


Grading Asparagus

Italian workers from Trenton and nearby areas grading and bunching asparagus in the packing house. Starkey Farms, Morrisville, May 1941. Marion Post Wolcott.


Miner and Mule

Miner and mule at the American Radiator Company Mine. Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, February 1936. Carl Mydans