20 Wonderful Photographs Showing Everyday Life of the U.S. in 1942

The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territories, 326 Indian reservations, and some minor possessions. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million square kilometers), it is the world’s third- or fourth-largest country by geographic area. The United States shares significant land borders with Canada to the north and Mexico to the south as well as limited maritime borders with the Bahamas, Cuba, and Russia. With a population of more than 331 million people, it is the third most populous country in the world. The national capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City.

Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago, and European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Disputes with Great Britain over taxation and political representation led to the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), which established the nation’s independence. In the late 18th century, the U.S. began expanding across North America, gradually obtaining new territories, sometimes through war, frequently displacing Native Americans, and admitting new states; by 1848, the United States spanned the continent. Slavery was legal in the southern United States until the second half of the 19th century, when the American Civil War led to its abolition. The Spanish–American War and World War I established the U.S. as a world power, a status confirmed by the outcome of World War II. During the Cold War, the United States fought the Korean War and the Vietnam War but avoided direct military conflict with the Soviet Union. The two superpowers competed in the Space Race, culminating in the 1969 spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. The Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991 ended the Cold War, leaving the United States as the world’s sole superpower.

The United States is a federal presidential-constitutional republic with three separate branches of government, including a bicameral legislature. It is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, NATO, and other international organizations. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Considered a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, its population has been profoundly shaped by centuries of immigration. The United States ranks high in international measures of economic freedom, quality of life, education, and human rights; it has low levels of perceived corruption. However, it has been criticized for inequality related to race, wealth, and income; use of capital punishment; high incarceration rates; and lack of universal health care.

The United States is a highly developed country, accounts for approximately a quarter of global GDP, and is the world’s largest economy by GDP at market exchange rates. By value, the United States is the world’s largest importer and second-largest exporter of goods. Although its population is only 4.2% of the world’s total, it holds 30% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share held by any country. Making up more than a third of global military spending, it is the foremost military power in the world and internationally a leading political, cultural, and scientific force. (Wikipedia)


Marjory Collins described herself as a “rebel looking for a cause.” She began her photojournalism career in New York City in the 1930s by working for such magazines as PM and U.S. Camera. In 1941, Collins joined Roy Stryker’s team of photographers at the U.S. Office of War Information to document home front activities during World War II. She created remarkable visual stories of small town life, ethnic communities, and women war workers.

New York. Italian-Americans on MacDougal Street relaxing on Sunday, 1942
Washington, D.C. Sunday swimmers at the municipal swimming pool, 1942
New York. O’Reilly’s bar on Third Avenue in the ‘Fifties’, 1942
Arlington, Virginia. FSA trailer camp project. Hanging out washing in front of the community building, 1942
Washington, D.C. Scrap salvage campaign, Victory Program. Washington schoolchild brings a load of scrap paper to school once a week, 1942
New York. Italian-Americans watching parade on Mott Street and flag raising ceremony in honor of boys from the neighborhood in the United States Army, 1942
New York. Italian-American cafe espresso shop on MacDougal Street where coffee and soft drinks are sold. The coffee machine cost one thousand dollars, 1942
Baltimore, Maryland. School children and workers returning home on a trolley at five pm, 1943
New York. Waiting room at the Pennsylvania railroad station, 1942
New York. Waiting for trains at the Pennsylvania railroad station, 1942
Washington, D.C. Watermelon vendor at the farmers’ market, 1942
New York. Janet and Marie Wynn (lower left), Czech-American children, climbing on monkey bars in Central Park playground, 1942
Washington, D.C. Government workers lunch outside the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington Monument park, 1942
Washington, D.C. Scrap salvage campaign, Victory Program. Children bringing their weekly contribution of scrap paper to school, 1942
New York. The mall restaurant in Central Park on Sunday, 1942
Washington, D.C. Municipal swimming pool on Sunday, 1942
New York. Italian-Americans in the rain watching a flag raising ceremony in honor of the feast of San Rocco at right, 1942
Washington, D.C. Relaxing on the edge of the municipal swimming pool on Sunday, 1942
Washington, D.C. Scrap salvage campaign, Victory Program. Children bringing their weekly contribution of scrap paper to school, 1942
New York. O’Reilly’s bar on Third Avenue in the ‘Fifties’, 1942

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