America, 1920s-30s, in color

Arizona - A group of cowboys exit a plane in Phoenix

Arizona - A Hopi Indian and his burro stand at the edge of a high mesa, near Walapai

Arizona - An informal portrait of Nampeyo, a famous Hopi potter

Arizona - Dude ranch guests pretend to be cowboys

Arizona - Portrait of a Hopi Indian holding one of the baskets she's made

Arizona - Portrait of Hopi Snake Clan priest adorned in paint and ornaments

Arizona - Two men stand by a car in a field looking at the nearby canyons, Moenkopi Wash, Western Navajo Indian Reservation

California - A family on the bank of a water body with a view of a cliff waterfall, Yosemite

California - A man repairs a light on the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

California - A woman picks wildflowers in a Paso Robles field

California - A woman poses in rippled sand dunes near Crescent City

California - A woman stands at the edge of a pond observing the view, near Mount Shasta

California - Fishing boats in a San Francisco Harbor with the city as a backdrop

California - Lumbermen conversing among fallen giant redwood trees, Scotia

California - Woman adorned like a Chinese goddess poses in a garden

Connecticut - A tobacconist poses next to his statue of a Native American Indian, Danbury

Florida - A child and an adult stand by a tiled sea horse at the Carillon Tower, Iron Mountain

Florida - A girl gets into a car in front of a house covered in Flame vines, Tarpon Springs

Florida - A young woman stands by a garden full of poinsettias beside a house, Coral Gables

Florida - Crowds form at a Miami Beach pool for a swim competition

Florida - Six women sit on a St. Petersburg beach with the water behind them

Florida - The guests play "Obstacle Golf" on the lawn of a Davis Island hotel, Tampa Bay

Florida - Two girls pose with rifles, dressed for the Gasparilla Carnival, Tampa

Hawaii - A group of surfers on Waikiki beach pose leaning against their boards, Honolulu, Oahu Island

Indiana - A group of women hold bouquets of Gladiolus, near Goshen

Iowa - Men harvest corn in a Polk County field

Iowa - Women compare an original painting with its reproduction, Red Oak

Louisiana - A Choctaw Indian woman makes baskets from palmetto leaves, near Lacombe

Louisiana - A girl sits spinning cotton into yarn in preparation for cloth

Louisiana - A group of people from a Natchitoches art colony paint ouside

Louisiana - A view of a street in the French Quarter, New Orleans

Louisiana - A woman sits outside the doorway of New Orlean's Absinthe House

Louisiana - A woman sitting on stone steps in The French Quarter, New Orleans, sells pralines

Louisiana - An informal portrait of a young New Orleans boy eating watermelon

Louisiana - Children gather by a vendor selling "snowball" treats, New Orleans

Louisiana - Five boys sit together, eating large watermelon slices, New Orleans

Louisiana - Two Creole women standing in the doorway to their Uptown home, New Orleans

Louisiana - A vendor sells pralines in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana

Maryland - A child and her dog walk down the dock to meet the mail boat, Tylerton

Maryland - A group of actors portray an exhibit at The Fair of the Iron Horse, near Baltimore

Maryland - The Fair of the Iron Horse, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad exhibit. The "Atlantic", circa 1832. Locomotive and two coaches.

Maryland - Pilots inspect their planes at the Congressional Airport, Maryland

Maryland - Women relax on Smith Island, weaving fabrics and talking

Mississippi - A group of dancers perform at the Mississippi State College for Women, Columbus

Mississippi - A woman admires pictures at the Lauren Rogers Gallery, Laurel

Mississippi - A woman works in a factory testing radio instruments, Greenwood

Mississippi - A young girl removes raw fiber from spools to spindles for weaving, Hattiesburg

Mississippi - High school bands march on Capital street for an annual contest, Jackson

Mississippi - Women hold seven flags at site of historic lighthouse in Biloxi

Mississippi - Women walk down a spiral staircase in an ancestral home, City Park, Natchez

Mississippi - Young women have tea in a French inspired mansion

Montana - A chief on the Crow Indian Reservation

Montana - A Crow Indian child wears a buckskin dress of beads and teeth, Crow Indian Reservation

Montana - A portrait of the Indian 'Red Tomahawk', Crow Indian Reservation

Montana - An informal portrait of 'Red Tomahawk', Crow Indian Reservation

Montana - An informal portrait of the Indian named "White man runs him", Crow Indian Reservation

Montana - Native American children pose on a blanket

Montana - Portrait of a Flathead chief adorned in strips of the popular ermine, Glacier National Park

Montana - Sioux Indians pose in the feather headdresses, Crow Indian Reservation

Montana - Three men stand in front of a plane on the Crow Reservation

New Hampshire - People set out for a straw ride from the Old Toll House, Crawford Notch

New Mexico - A portrait of a Native American wearing turquoise earrings, Santa Fe

New Mexico - A Taos Indian pueblo rests on the hill behind women in the foreground

New Mexico - A tourist stops to get directions from a cop in Questa

New Mexico - A view of the development built up around Elephant Butte Reservoir

New Mexico - Cochiti Indians sit on the stairs to a kiva, Cochiti

New Mexico - Portrait of a Taos Indian chief with war bonnet, Taos

New Mexico - Pueblo woman puts bread into an oven in preparation for corn dance, Laguna

New Mexico - Water carrier stands on ladder in Acoma pueblo balancing jug on head

New York - A family live in a trailer at Fish Creek Tourist Camp

New York - A view of New York City's Brooklyn Bridge

New York - A view of New York City's Hudson River

New York - A view of Washington Square at Fifth Avenue, New York City

New York - An aerial view of New York City

New York - Commuters stop to look at hardware for sale along downtown streets, Manhattan

New York - People sit around a fountain in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York City

Ohio - A view of two train tracks up Price Hill, Cincinnati

Ohio - Coastguardsmen go out in their boat, Ashtabula

Ohio - Experimental planes are parked in line at Wright Field, Dayton

Ohio - Four women stand beside an apple stand at a fair in Loundonville Agricultural Fair, Loundonville

Pennsylvania - Veterans of the Civil War pose at High Water Mark memorial, Gettysburg

Pennsylvania - Wisteria blooms where General Lee marched his men in battle, Gettysburg

Rhode Island - A view of a business block in New Port resembling English buildings

Rhode Island - People relax on the beach in front of a new bathing casino, Newport

South Dakota - Boys pose outside a sod roof house at the Pine Ridge Reservation

Tennessee - An Appalachian man converses with an Indian in front of a log cabin, Great Smoky Mountains, Near Gatlinburg

Tennessee - Highlanders play and sing old mountain tunes

Tennessee - Two couples have a cookout in Cherokee National Forest

Tennessee - Women stencil on cotton fabric, Memphis

Texas - A cowgirl parks her horse at a meter in downtown El Paso

Texas - A farmer washes carrots with a water hose, Lower Rio Grande Valley

Texas - A group of cowgirls and trick riders watch a rodeo in Fort Worth

Texas - A group of women dress in costume to greet women off a Pan Am flight, Brownsville

Texas - A man shovels sulfur in storage bins on the docks of Galveston

Texas - A Mexican family sits outside their thatch-roof home, near Brownsville

Texas - A pistol team of the Border Patrol practices their shooting, Laredo

Texas - A trick rider poses with her blue pony at the San Antonio rodeo

Texas - A view of the court, saloon and store near Langtry

Texas - A woman displays varying stock models of a cowboy boot manufacturer, Fort Worth, Texas

Texas - A woman feeds a parking meter in El Paso

Texas - A woman picks dates along the lower Rio Grande valley, San Benito

Texas - A woman stands next to a sign at the end of the International Bridge, Brownsville

Texas - A young girl poses in a "China Poblana" costume, San Antonio

Texas - A young girl stands in costume at the archway to her home, Brownsville

Texas - Cowboys and riders sit along a fence at the San Antonio Rodeo

Texas - Girls pose in Mexican costume and frilly headdresses, Brownsville

Texas - Men load storage bins with sulfur on the docks of Galveston

Texas - Three girls attend a rodeo in Fort Worth

Texas - Two border patrol officers attempt to keep a fugitive in the US near El Paso

Texas - Woman wears China Poblana, man wears Charro garb of gentleman rancher, Brownsville

Texas - Women attend an archery class at the University of Texas

Texas - Women talk to the pilot of a large airliner, Brownsville

Vermont - A woman picks various flowers from a wide field, between Tyson and Ludlow

Vermont - Oxen plow where machinery is impractical

Virginia - A large group of actors relax and talk on the lawn at Monticello

Virginia - A mountaineer family poses in front of a cabin, Dark Hallow, Shannondoah National Park

Virginia - A woman admires the Potomac running over the boulders in Great Falls

Washington - a gas station in front of the Capitol

Washington - A woman looks at fruit from a vendor in front of the U.S. Capital

Washington - Three girls pose in front of a fountain near the Washington Monument

Washington DC - Employees of the government work to print money, Bureau of Engraving and Printing

West Virginia - A glass-blower works on a vase in his shop, Milton

West Virginia - Four boys bob for apples, Martinsburg

West Virginia - Governor Holt crowns the Forest Festival queen, Elkins

West Virginia - Two girls sit in front of an apple display in the shape of a turkey, Martinsburg

All images are original colour autochromes drawn from National Geographic’s image collection.

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16 comments to America, 1920s-30s, in color

  • Riot Nrrrd™

    As an American these are incredible photos to see. The NatGeo site looks a bit impenetrable - thanks so much for ‘curating’ these images for us all to see so easily (and alphabetically!).

  • Laura Orabone

    Amazing photos - surreal to see these in color. Doesn’t seem so long ago…. Just one small typo (but it appears at least twice) - it’s Fort Worth, Texas, not Forth Worth.

  • Claire

    Some additional ID information:

    “Florida - Crowds form at a Miami Beach pool for a swim competition” was taken at the Roman Pools:

    “California - Woman adorned like a Chinese goddess poses in a garden”. Lotus gardens were very popular in 1930′s Los Angeles. Given the carefully composed photo, I would hazard a guess that this was taken at China City (even though it didn’t open until 1938):

    “California - A family on the bank of a water body with a view of a cliff waterfall” could be Upper Yosemite Falls.

  • Chris

    Thank you, Laura. I have corrected the typos. The typo exists in the National Geographic records as well.

  • Jennifer

    Wonderful, wonderful post. One minor correction from Florida : The woman getting out of the car in Tarpon Springs is in front of a flame vine, not a bigonia vine (I have the same vine clambering over my garage).

  • Jennifer

    ….Also, the carillon tower on Iron Mountain, Bok Tower, is to this day meticulously preserved, as are its splendid gardens.

  • Chris

    Thanks Jennifer, I loved creating it. These 125 were whittled down from 500 images.

    I have changed the Bigonia to a Flame.

  • Estelle

    Tea dresses and Mary Jane shoes - a lot of the clothes here look like clothes being worn now. So strange to think that it is around 90 years ago.

  • M ichael

    very interesting , and great shots. Love the one of the girl in Dutch dress and clogs.

  • Kate Fisher

    LOVE! your shots. You might want to re credit “A family on the bank of a water body with a view of a cliff waterfall” could be Upper Yosemite Falls.

    Thats definitely Yosemite, one of my favorite places on the planet :)

  • Emily

    Great pictures! Another quick note- the famous Hopi potter’s name is Nampeyo, not Nanpeo. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photographs!

  • Dana

    I’m from Louisiana and a bit *confused* about the Louisiana girl in Dutch dress and clogs. The spinning-cotton part I do understand; I read an article in the newspaper back home about traditional Cajun crafts, including work with cotton. They’d grow it in their backyards. Often it was colorgrown cotton, yellowish or brown.

    The Dutch thing though… I don’t get that. Maybe Acadian costume was similar to Dutch at some point?

  • Jim

    Fascinating. I can tell you that the sreet scene of Newport, Rhode Island looks exactly the same today, except that the cars are a bit more modern.

  • Chris

    Hi Dana - that is the title given to the original autochrome. It would be great to find out more

  • Chris

    Thanks Emily. That is the name used by National Geographic’s records, and I’ll change it straightaway.

  • Chris

    Thanks Kate. I have added a reference to Yosemite.

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