In the early 1940s John Collier and Jack Delano made photographs in Central New York for the Farm Security Administration. The photographs documented life in America during the nation’s recovery from the Depression for the US Department of Agriculture. John Collier ‘swung through here’ during October in 1941. He spent about four days ranging along the barge canal from Albany, through Amsterdam and Syracuse, and on to Oswego. He then headed down through the Finger Lakes and into the Pennsylvania Amish country. He stopped at a good many joints for coffee and a sandwich, paused at many a farm, hit the gun counter at Sears in downtown Syracuse, and roamed the docks at the port of Oswego (he was a seaman at the age of 19).
Jack Delano came upstate earlier in September in 1940 to photograph FSA clients who were attempting to reclaim farmland on sub marginal lands near Ithaca. His portraits of farmers are striking. These photographs are held in the public domain by the Library of Congress and are copyright free.
— Tom Bryan, 1981