In 2013, Idaho and Eastern Oregon face water shortages. The Pew Research Center reports that more than 40 percent of American households with children now rely on a mother as their biggest or only source of income. And as is typical in Idaho, we’re debating the size and scope of the federal government (think Medicaid expansion) even though the state is a net gainer when it comes to receipt of federal monies.

Gallery based in part on Blanchard’s 2008 thesis, “From Depression to War: The FSA Photographers and Idaho’s Landscape, 1936‐1942.”

Rewind to the Depression years and the issues weren’t much different. To sell New Deal programs, President Roosevelt sent photographers from the Federal Farm Security Administration (FSA) to document the status of the nation. In Idaho, photographers visited twice—in 1936 and 1942. The first time they came they documented depressed conditions. The second visit documented improvements ostensibly linked to New Deal spending. The collection of photographs that follows highlights issues with water, women and the economy, and Idahoans’ mixed feelings about the more activist role of the Federal Government. Issues then, issues today.

Gallery: Pre- and Post-New Deal Idaho

Photos from the FSA-Office of War Information Photograph Collection

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University, the Center for Idaho History and Politics, or the School of Public Service.