After recovering from the crises of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, the spirit of human ingenuity and American entrepreneurship found a way to persevere in the 1940s.

The Library Of Congress' Flickr gallery of vivid color photography from the '30s and '40s offers a glimpse into this era, a time when Main Street reinforced its identity with independent businesses in towns across America. (Hat tip: CBS News.)

As the country prepared for war in the early '40s, collaboration between businesses and the American people represented a collective resourcefulness. Some photos even show ex-housewives working on things like black-out lamps for gasoline trailers. Others show Main Street then as it often remains today, a gathering place where people could go to enjoy shared company while supporting local businesses. (There wasn't a Walmart on every other corner.)

The photos also show the effect of some of the important developments that changed American business in the years prior. The invention of the supermarket by Michael Cullen ushered in an economy of affordability, diversity and convenience, driven by consumers. American companies like Hewlett-Packard and Polaroid were the startups of their day, encouraging other Americans to pursue their bright ideas.

More than anything, the photos offer a candid look at an America in transition and the changing cities that people called home.

Check out some of the 1940s photos from the Library of Congress' collection in the slideshow below:

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  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178387619/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Boy looking at store window display of toys. Between 1941 and 1942.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179117713/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Grand Grocery Co., Lincoln, Neb. 1942.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178249475/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Sylvia Sweets Tea Room, corner of School and Main streets, Brockton, Mass. December 1940 or January 1941.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178251071/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Street corner, Brockton, Mass. January 1941. </a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178389613/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Laundry, barbershop and stores, Washington, D.C.?. Between 1941 and 1942.</a>

  • <a href=" http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178268721/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Natchez, Miss. August 1940.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178381515/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Seed and feed store, Lincoln, Nebraska. 1942.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178345315/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Filling station and garage at Pie Town, New Mexico. October 1940.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179117713/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Street corner, Dillon, Mont. Dillon is the trading center for a prosperous cattle and sheep country. August 1942.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179171500/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Eagle Fruit Store and Capital Hotel, Lincoln, Nebraska. 1942.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179041484/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Brockton, Mass., a second-hand plumbing store. December 1940.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179171338/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Grocery store operated by C.A. Long, Main and High streets, Mount Orab, Ohio. 1942 or 1943.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179179372/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Shulman's market, on N at Union Street S.W., Washington, D.C. Between 1941 and 1942.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178248615/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Commuters, who have just come off the train, waiting for the bus to go home, Lowell, Mass. January 1941.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179074786/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Farmers and townspeople in town, Campton, KY. September 1940.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178281739/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Farmers and townspeople in center of town, Campton, KY. September 1940.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178380573/in/set-72157603671370361" target="_hplink">Lincoln, Nebraska. 1942</a>

Caption information courtesy of the Library of Congress.