Capturing Unity: Building Warships in Richmond

As the nation prepared for war, Fortune magazine hired Lange to document the huge naval production at the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, California. Her photographs of the shipyards emphasized a spirit of patriotic unity. Well paid jobs attracted thousands of workers. Men and women of different races and classes all worked together in a new way to help win the war. Along with conveying the massive scale of production, Lange’s photographs characteristically captured personal moments between workers.

91,000 persons are employed. Operation is continuous, 24 hours a day, every day in the year. Of these workers 27% are women. There are Hindus, Arabs, Hawaiians, Eskimos, American Indians, Chinese, South Americans, Filipinos, Swedes, Danes, etc., etc. They come from all over the U.S., and from all walks of life. — Dorothea Lange