By looking at pictures. Beautiful, clear, intimate, sensitive colour pictures. They were taken by the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (and I find myself wondering about the conjunction of the names here) during the late 1930s and early 40s. Wikipedia tells me that the Farm Security Administration was set up during the Depression to improve the conditions of sharecroppers, tenant farmers and very poor landowning farmers by resettling them in group farms on more suitable land. My! this all sounds rather socialistic, and obviously the Conservative Coalition thought so too, as the program was reshaped to help poor farmers buy their own land.
Anyway- look at these beautiful colour pictures, and here’s an even larger black and white collection at the Library of Congress. I’m off to indulge….