Skip to Main Content

Puerto Rico's Plantation Economy: Snapshots from the Library of Congress

Edwin and Louise Rosskam

Portrait of photographers Edwin and Louise Rosskam sitting on a wall by the sea, Puerto Rico. 1947. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Edwin and Louise Rosskam documented American life through photography during the Great Depression. Both were from Philadelphia (PA), and they left for Puerto Rico in the late 1930s. Edwin managed a photographic survey of the island for the Farm Security Administration. Louise accompanied him and worked on the project.

Edwin and Louise photographed workers on coffee plantations, tobacco farms, and in sugar cane fields for the Puerto Rico Information Office. These were the main crops on the island at that time. The Rosskams helped people visualize the idiosyncrasies of Puerto Rican life while public policies to transform the island were in process. Their collection in the Prints and Photographs Division revisits Puerto Rico's plantation period through images, that reflect on religion, motherhood, politics, and culture, among other community topics.

The following links and photographs will guide you in discovering more resources and collections available at the Library about this inspiring couple.

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

Selected photographs by Edwin Rosskam