Most of us only know the Great Depression through the black-and-white pictures we’ve seen in the history books. Maybe a great-grandparent recounts stories every now and then, or a parent, even. But, generally speaking, we have no idea of exactly what the Great Depression was really like. Many of us didn’t live it. But the Library of Congress has brought us that much closer to connecting to this historic period of time with the release of a new anthology of photographs. These photos aren’t like the normal Great Depression photos you’ve famously seen – these are in incredibly vibrant color.

These colored photos of the Great Depression are very rare and they so accurately show us first-hand what life in the late ’30s to mid-40s, after the huge hit of the Depression in 1929. Although the crash may have happened ten years or so beforehand, people nationwide were still struggling to get their feet on the ground after this infamous, worldwide case of bankruptcy.

Everything from working the field to nightly dinner to having fun at local state fairs is depicted in these amazing pictures. We may never know exactly what it was like to live through this time of hardship, but the Library of Congress has transported as back in time as well as they could – we don’t know about you, but we definitely feel like we learned more about the era, just from looking at these vibrant shots of everyday life.

Here are just a few pictures from the amazing collection.

A horse-and-cart team pulling a car out of the mud on a roadside near Pie Town, NM, in late 1940.

Horse and buggy pull a car out of the mud.Library of Congress

A group of kids gathering at the Vermont State Fair in Rutland, VT, in late 1941. It’s so funny how all the girls are in matching pink outfits!

A group of kids meeting up at a state fair.Library of Congress

Distributing surplus commodities to a crowd in St. Johns, AZ, in late 1940. This was not only because of the linger effects of the Depression, but because World War II was still being fought overseas; rations were very common and how many people survived.

People wait in line for surplus rations.Library of Congress

Jack Whinery, a homesteader, and his family, in Pie Town, NM, in October 1940. This may be my favorite – I had such a time imagining how this family got to New Mexico, where these parents met in the height of the Jazz Age. Their faces certainly tell an interesting story.

A family of homesteaders who moved out to New Mexico.Library of Congress

Trucks lined up outside of a starch factory in Caribou, Aroostook County, ME, in late 1940. Many of these trucks have been waiting for a full day outside of this factory, waiting for the valuable potatoes inside to be graded and weighed.

A line of trucks wait outside a potato factory.Library of Congress

A farmer hauling crates of peaches from the orchard to the shipping shed, where they would be weighed, packaged, and sent out, in Delta County, CO, in late 1940.

A farmer hauls peaches back to the barn.Library of Congress

Day laborers picking cotton in a field near Clarksdale, MS, in late 1939.

People picking cotton in a huge field.Library of Congress

What do you think of these amazing color photos? Did they give you a clear impression of this historic time period? Share your thoughts on these rare pictures in the comments section below.