Material History of American Religion Project

Praying at the fair

Praying before the fair barbeque, Pie Town, NM, 1940

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, photographers working for the Farm Security Administration traveled across the country. The ostensible purpose was to show the impact of New Deal policies, particularly on rural America, but their work served the larger purpose of capturing images of the every-day lives of ordinary Americans. Here, photographer Russell Lee shows fairgoers in Pie Town, New Mexico, praying before the fair barbeque in October, 1940.

Project scholar Colleen McDannell's book will reflect on these images from the FSA and how they depicted American religious life. This particular photo also connects with Dan Sack's work on the central role that food plays in American religious life.

This photograph comes from the collection of the Library of Congress, which has put the FSA's color photographs on-line as part of its American Memory project. 

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