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Ruth Jacobi

  • Given name:
    Ruth
  • Last name:
    Jacobi
  • Alternative names:

    Ruth Richter, Ruth Jacobi-Roth

  • Date of Birth:
    15-05-1899
  • Place of Birth:
    Poznań (PL)
  • Date of Death:
    21-09-1995
  • Place of Death:
    California (US)
  • Profession:
    Photographer
  • Introduction:

    Ruth Jacobi was a German-speaking, Polish-born photographer who emigrated in 1935 to New York, where she opened a studio together with her sister Lotte Jacobi. She later had her own portrait studio.

    Word Count: 31

  • Signature Image:
    Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Jacobi mit Brille, c. 1935, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
  • Content:

    Before emigrating, Ruth Jacobi worked at her family's photo studio in Berlin, which had been running for four generations. Between 1920 and 1922 she received a professional education in photography at the Photografische Lehranstalt des Lette Vereins, a progressive Berlin establishment given to the advancement of women, and the only place, apart from the Bayerische Lehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen in Munich, where women could study photography. Lessons included portrait photography and technical photography, as well as how to take portraits at different times of day, landscape and architectural photography, colour photography, reproductions and ink or overpainting.

    In 2004, 400 of Ruth Jacobi's photographs were donated to the Jüdisches Museum in Berlin. The estate was in the possession of a sister-in-law of Ruth Jacobi in Massachusetts (exh. cat. Ruth Jacobi, 2008). In spite of this donation, her photographs are still rarely found in either public or private collections. Unlike her sister Lotte Jacobi, who has been the subject of research, Ruth Jacobi continues to be understudied, although her images were published in a number of magazines during her time.
    One source of information is her memoir "Thorn", which contains fragmentary and disorganised descriptions of her life. It can be assumed that the memoir was written in the 1970s. She submitted a version of the memoir, with accounts of her life ending in 1922, to the Leo Baeck Institute in 1987. Another version, in which her accounts extend to 1939 is archived at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.

    Ruth Jacobi saw herself as a progressive and avantgarde photographer. In "Thorn", she describes the conflicts in her parents' studio between the old, traditional methods of portrait photography and the newer approach of the 1920s. “Ende des Jahres 1922 fing ich an ernsthaft im Atelier meines Vaters zu arbeiten. […] Jede Aufnahme die machte wurde ein Ereignis fuer mich. Es schien mir – als wuerde ich jetzt erst anfangen zu sehen. Ich sah Alles in einem neuen Licht. […] Mia [R.J’s mother, HR] erkannte das Neue in meiner Photographie: die junge – die neue Generation. Vater – Meister Jacobi war kritisch. Ihm gefielen meine Portraits gar nicht: 'die grossen Koepfe – wo jeder Zug in de Gesichtern entbloesst war'. Dazu kam noch – dass ich gegen – Retuschieren war. Tortzdem ueberliess er mir das Photographieren mehr und mehr.” (Jacobi 1970 ) She also writes about how she got involved with the Berlin intelligentsia, whose members came to the studio to commission portraits, how she put on her first small exhibitions in the shop window of her studio and succeeded in publishing her images in magazines.

    The end of the 1920s marked a new stage in her life. Together with her husband Hans Richter, whom she married in 1926, she decided to emigrate to New York in 1928. In the metropolis she searched in vain for employment as a photographer, but was able to find only freelance jobs. Shortly after her arrival in New York, she made a series of pictures of poor Jewish street vendors and life on the Lower East Side. Her sensitive, humanistic images, taken with a Leica, capture unguarded moments amidst the hustle and bustle of the streets and made Ruth Jacobi an important figure in social photography. During her lifetime only few images of this series were published. In 1931, they were used for the cover and the book design, designed by John Heartfield, of the German edition of Michael Gold's autobiography, Juden ohne Geld (Jews without Money), in which he describes his childhood on the Lower East Side in New York City, at the time a poor area populated by emigrated East European Jews.

    In addition to this social approach to New York, Ruth Jacobi, like many of her émigré colleagues, also focused on the city's skyscrapers, using tightly cropped and upward tilted perspectives. Her aim was to experience the metropolitan architecture through her camera. In 1932, four images of her street scenes, signed with “Jacobi, Berlin”, were published in New York, a photobook and essay collection by the Austrian émigré Ann Tizian Leitich. This publication of her images puts her on an equal footing with the book's internationally renowned photographic contributors. Among them were Edwing Galloway and Emil Otto Hoppé. Agencies that contributed included Presse-Photo, Berlin and Mauritus (a photo agency which was found by Ernest Mayer, who later was co-founder of Black Star Agency in New York). The book's images chimed well with the huge interest in New York that existed in 1930s Europe.

    As her marriage with Hans Richter did not go well, Ruth Jacobi returned at the end of the 1930s to Berlin, where she went back to work at the family photo studio alongside her sister Lotte Jacobi. But only two years later, with the boycott of Jewish businesses imposed on 1 April, 1933, the situation rapidly deteriorated and the family made efforts to publish under pseudonyms like "folkwang-archiv", "Behm's Bilderdients" and "Bender-Jacobi”. In 1933, Lotte Jacobi resumed a previous relationship with her first love, Zsolt Roth, and their marriage in Budapest and a joint trip to Hungary followed.

    As the situation in Europe under the National Socialists continued to get worse, Ruth and Zsolt Jacobi-Roth emigrated in 1935 via Le Havre to New York. A few months later in 1935, her sister Lotte Jacobi arrived in New York and in 1936 her mother Mia Jacobi (1872–1950) and the son of Lotte Jacobi, Joachim Jacobi (1917–1985; who Americanised his name into John Hunter) followed. That same year the two sisters opened a studio together on 1393 Six Avenue 57th Street, which they ran until 1936, when they each opened studios of their own. Ruth Jacobi’s studio was located on the corner of Madison Avenue and East 58th Street, only one street west of the old studio and close to a number of other galleries such as the Julien Levy Gallery and the Matisse Gallery, where she also held classes as well as to Lotte Jacobi's studio. Towards the end of the 1930s, since the studio was not profitable and the rent was high, she gave up her studio to support her husband in his medical practice. It was located on the first floor of their house in Astoria (Queens), where they lived on the second floor. Images of Astoria, taken by her émigré colleague Rudy Burckhardt, show that Astoria was not as densely populated as Manhattan during the time, but enjoyed rich cultural diversity, including German emigrants and Jews.

    Only very few images have survived from Ruth Jacobi's "second" time in New York, but the considerable number of photographs that appeared in magazines as Popular Photography and U.S. Camera show that she achieved success and built something of a reputation in the 1930s and 1940s. A photograph of dolls was published in the December 1937 issue of Popular Photography and was followed by an image of twin sisters in February 1938. The latter was described thus: “The charming photograph of the twin sisters by Ruth Jacobi-Roth is a candid shot taken without their knowledge and consequently not posed.” (Anonymous 1938, 68) In March 1938, her picture of grapes was highly praised and selected as “Picture of the Month”: “The study of the grapes by Ruth Jacobi-Roth possesses a naturalness and quality that can be obtained only by one who has mastered photographic technique and lightning. This ordinary subject, in the hands of an artist, has been made into a still-life of luscious beauty.” (Anonymous 1938, 42) In the same issue was printed another image of rag dolls, sharing a double-page spread with the émigré photographer Walter Sanders and Philippe Halsmann. In the March issue of 1939, for the "Salon Section 1-2-3”, a montage of three pelicans was published, featuring a single image of a pelican taken by Jacobi at the Berlin Zoo using a 9x12 reflex type camera. Popular Photography was an important magazine for émigré photographers, who were able to publish both their images from their previous times in Europe as well as newer photographs from their exile in New York. Among the émigré photographers published were Lucien Aigner, Ruth Bernhard, Erwin Blumenfeld, Josef Breitenbach, Alexey Brodovitch, Rudy Burckhardt, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Andreas Feininger, Philippe Halsman, Fritz Henle, Lilly Joss, Clemens Kalischer, George Karger, André Kértész, Hermann Landshoff, Lisa Larsen, Herbert Matter, Hansel Mieth, Lisette Model, Martin Munkacsi, Fritz Neugass, Walter Sanders, Kurt Safranski, Xanti Schawinsky, Rolf Tietgens, Werner Wolff, Roman Vishniac and Ylla.

    In 1940, a portrait study of a sleeping girl by Ruth Jacobi was published in U.S. Camera. It appeared in the edition to mark the 100th anniversary of the magazine and was selected by the photographer and editor Edward Steichen (who became in 1947 curator of the photographic department at the Museum of Modern Art). At this time, when she was already working less as a professional photographer, she was presented on equal footing with her sister Lotte Jacobi.
    During the 1940s Ruth Jacobi also produced experimental photographs and photograms and took painting lessons with Zoltan Hecht und Hans Hofmann. In the 1970s she returned to photography, doing experimental work and nature studies and also taught at the Jewish Institution of the Educational Alliance.

    Ruth Jacobi’s photographic estate from her time in Germany is almost completely lost. The photographs that have survived consist of portraits, still lifes, nature and plant photographs, and travel photography. Often these are undated and without names, which makes it difficult to assign them and does not reveal exactly which photographs were taken in exile in New York. The series of photographs taken in 1928 in New York are fortunately assignable and consist of a series taken on the Lower East Side and city views. The photographs of the skyscrapers, window washers or park entertainments show very clearly Ruth Jacobi’s experimentation with the camera in the urban space and reflects the photographic modernistic style of the 1920s. These aesthetics can also be recognised in her portraits, which are often in close-up, in profile and cropped, also demonstrating the principles of the “New Woman”. Through her work at the portrait studio she mastered the art of lighting which she applied to her still lifes such as the grapes. Two of her cameras, a Leica and a Rolleiflex, are stored in the Jüdisches Museum in Berlin.

    Word Count: 1678

  • Media:
    Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Jacobi, c. 1935, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    A Study in Doll Heads by Ruth Jacobi-Roth published in "Salon Section. Four Of A Kind." Popular Photography, December 1937, p. 48 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Sisters by Ruth Jacobi-Roth for the "Salon Section. Twins." Popular Photography, February 1938, pp. 46–47 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Ruth Jacobi-Roth, Grapes, published in the “Picture of the Months” section of Popular Photography, March 1938, p. 42 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Ruth Jacobi-Roth, Doll, published in "Salon Section." Popular Photography, March 1938, p. 53 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Montage of three pelicans by Ruth Jacobi-Roth published in "Salon Section 1-2-3." Popular Photography, March 1939, p. 47 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Head by Ruth Jacobi-Roth published in Maloney 1940, p. 138 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Hafen-Romantik und Wolkenkratzer (image by Jacobi, Berlin) and Schönheit der Wolkenkratzer (image by E.O. Hoppé, Mauritius) in New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 14–15 (Archive Helene Roth).
    Das arme New York (image by Jacobi, Berlin); Trödelladen im Italienerviertel (image by Scherl) New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 56–57 (Archive Helene Roth).
    Medical Center, die größte Klinik der Welt (am oberen Hudson) (image by Presse-Photo, Berlin); Tausendäugige Häuserfront (image by Jacobi, Berlin), New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 48–49 (Archive Helene Roth).
    Ruhepause bei den Grabsteinen der Trinity Church (image by Scherl); Auch ein Platz für Mittagsruhe (image by Jacobi, Berlin); Orangedrink nach heißer Bahnhfahrt (image by Ewing Galloway, N.Y); Ein Fünfcentstück öffnet die Drehtür zur Untergrundbahn (image by Ewing Galloway, N.Y), published in Leitich 1932, pp. 16–17 (Archive Helene Roth).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Anonymous. "Salon Section. Four Of A Kind." Popular Photography, December 1937, pp. 48–49.

    Anonymous. "Salon Section. Twins." Popular Photography, February 1938, pp. 46–47; 68.

    Anonymous. "Picture of the Months" Popular Photography, March 1938, pp. 42–43; 62.

    Anonymous. "Salon Section. Dolls." Popular Photography, March 1938, pp. 52–53; 62.

    Anonymous. "Salon Section. 1-2-3." Popular Photography, March 1939, pp. 47–48; 64.

    Atelier Lotte Jacobi. Berlin – New York, edited by Marion Beckers and Elisabeth Moortgat, exh. cat. Das Verborgene Museum, Berlin, 1997.

    Maloney, Tom. U.S. Camera. Annual 1940. Random House, 1940.

    Ruth, Jacobi. "Thorn." (unpublished memoir, 1970s). Center for Jewish History. Leo Baeck Insitute, New York.

    Ruth Jacobi. Fotografien, edited by Aubrey Pomerance, exh. cat. Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Berlin, 2008.

    Word Count: 101

  • Archives and Sources:

    Word Count: 27

  • Acknowledgements:

    My deepest thanks go to Sherard Harrington of the University of New Hampshire for providing me with material and images by Ruth and Lotte Jacobi.

    Word Count: 25

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Exile:

    New York, US (1928–1930); New York, US (1935–1970s?).

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Post Avenue, Inwood, New York City (residence, 1935–1936); Astoria, Queens, New York City (residence, 1936–ca.1970s); 1393 Six Avenue 57th Street, Central Park South, Manhattan, New York City (studio, 30.10.1935–10.1936); Corner Madison Avenue to East 58th Street, Times Square District, Manhattan, New York City (studio, 10.1936–1939).

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Helene Roth. "Ruth Jacobi." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2948/object/5138-10853161, last modified: 12-10-2021.
  • Walter Sanders
    Photographer

    Walter Sanders was a German émigré photographer. In 1938 he arrived in New York, where he worked from 1939 until the end of his life for the Black Star agency and, from 1944, for Life magazine.

    Word Count: 33

    Portrait of Walter Sanders, Cuba, Havana, 1938 (Estate Walter Sanders).
    Walt Sanders and Alfred Kornfeld, son of Black Star cofounder Kurt Kornfeld. Sheldrake Lake, New Rochelle, NY, November 1939 (© Heirs of Kurt Kornfeld).First cover by Walter Sanders for Life, 26 June 1939 (Estate Walter Sanders).Letterhead with name Walter Suessmann, a reference to Echo and an address (Estate Walter Sanders).Photo of the Aquacade swim show by Walter Sanders for Black Star, reproduced in Life, 3 July 1939, p. 60 (Estate Walter Sanders, Photo: Helene Roth).“Life goes to The Futurama.” Image of the General Motors Show by Walter Sanders in Life, 5 June 1939, p. 79 (Estate Walter Sanders, Photo: Helene Roth).“Life visits Statue of Liberty.” Images by Walter Sanders published in Life, 2 June 1941, pp. 94–95 (Estate Walter Sanders, Photo: Helene Roth).“Por las entrañas de una estatua.”. Images by Walter Sanders, MUNDO Argentino, June 1941 (Estate Walter Sanders, Photo: Helene Roth).“The Road Back to Berlin.” Images and text by Walter Sanders in Life, 10 November 1946, p. 29 (Estate Walter Sanders, Photo: Helene Roth).Americans in Heidelberg, Life cover, Image by Walter Sanders, Life, 21 July 1947 (Estate Walter Sanders, Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Andreas Feininger
    PhotographerWriterEditor

    Andreas Feininger, was a German émigré photographer who arrived in New York with his wife Wysse Feininger in 1939. He started a lifelong career exploring the city's streets, working as a photojournalist and writing a large number of photography manuals.

    Word Count: 39

    Portrait of Andreas Feininger by Fritz Henle, 1940/41, cropped detail (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).
    Portrait of Andreas Feininger by Fritz Henle, 1940/41 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Andreas Feininger, 1, Stockholm, 1937 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Andreas Feininger, Close Up Equipment, 365 West 20 St. New York, 1940 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Andreas Feininger, “An Amateur’s Wartime Darkroom.” U.S. Camera, April 1942, pp. 28–29 (Photo: Helene Roth).Scrapbook of Andreas Feininger with photographic essay “New York. A big spectacle in big pictures.” Life, 14 April 1941, pp. 86–87 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Scrapbook of Andreas Feininger with article and photographs by him. “Experimenting with Lights at Night.” Popular Photography, February 1947, pp. 44–45 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).“Feininger’s Workshop - photo facts in pictures. Unsharpness and its cause.” Popular Photography, May 1949, pp.54–55 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Ruth Bernhard
    Photographer

    Ruth Bernhard was a German émigré photographer who lived in New York from the 1920s to the 1940s. Beside her series on female nudes, her place in the photography network, as well as in the New York queer scene, is unknown and understudied.

    Word Count: 43

    Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Bernhard, 1945, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    Scrapbook and published work by Ruth Bernhard (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).Lifesavers by Ruth Bernhard, published in Advertisment Arts, January 1931 (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).Still Life of dolls for Macy’s by Ruth Bernhard, published in Graphic Arts, 1931 (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).Ruth Bernhard, Eighth Street Movie Theater, Frederick Kiesler-Architect, New York, 1946 (Diversity Corner is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0).Exhibition flyer for Ruth Bernhard Photographs, PM Gallery, 1938 (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).Description of Ruth Bernhard Photographs exhibition, by Kurt Safranski, PM Gallery, 1938 (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).
    New York
    Lotte Jacobi
    Photographer

    In October 1935 the German émigré photographer Lotte Jacobi, together with her sister Ruth Jacobi, opened a photo studio on 57th Street. The two sisters had to leave their parents' photo studio in Berlin in the 1930s and emigrated to New York.

    Word Count: 41

    Lotte Jacobi, Self-portrait, New York, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).
    Lotte Jacobi, Central Park, New York, 1936 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, New York Stock Exchange, New York, 1938 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ernst Fuhrmann, New York, 1942 (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Hanya Holm dancing with troup, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Flyer for Lotte Jacobi’s exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery, 1948 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Willi Wolfradt. "Lichtbild-Schöpfungen." Aufbau, 15 October 1948, p. 19.Lotte Jacobi, Werner Wolff, 1943, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Bernhard, 1945, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    New York
    Gerda Peterich
    Photographer

    The German émigré Gerda Peterich had a photographic studio at 332 West 56th Street and in New York, where she specialised in dance and portraiture. In addition, she visited dance studios and photographed outside in the city.

    Word Count: 36

    Portrait of Gerda Peterich, n.d. (© Gerda Peterich Papers, University Archives Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries).
    Pear Primus by Gerda Peterich published in The Dance, edited by John Martin, Tudor Publishing, 1947, p. 146 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Ann Tizia Leitich
    JournalistAuthorArt Critic

    Ann Tizia Leitich was an émigré Austrian author, journalist and art critic, who wrote essays, feuilletons and reviews on the American society and women for German and Austrian newspapers.

    Word Count: 29

    Portrait photograph of Ann Tizia Leitich by Arnold Genthe, 11 June 1930 (© Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Arnold Genthe Collection, [Reproduction number e.g., LC-DIG-ppmsca-123456]).
    Book cover of New York , edited by Ann Tizia Leitich, Velhagen & Klasing, 1932 (Archive Helene Roth).
    New York
    Carola Gregor
    PhotographerSculptor

    The German émigré photographer Carola Gregor was an animal and child photographer and published some of her work in magazines and books. Today her work and life are almost forgotten.

    Word Count: 30

    Portrait of Carola Gregor (cutout of her papers of naturalisation).
    Petitions for naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York of Carola Gregor (Naturalizations, box 1018-1020, cert. no. 513486-513958, 9-12 Apr 1945, Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009, RG 21. National Archives at New York, familysearch.org).Homer- The Hydrophobic Duck by Carola Gregor published in U.S. Camera 1943, p. 63 (Photo: Helene Roth).Portrait of Fritz Goro by Carola Gregor, published in Life, 13 September 1937, p. 104 (Photo: Helene Roth).Photograph of Amazonian birds by Carola Gregor for the brochure Pavilhão do Brasil. Feira Mundial de Nova York de 1939, pp. 11–12 (Photo: Helene Roth).Mending Nets by Carola Gregor, published in Popular Photography, October 1942, p. 40 (Photo: Helene Roth).A gleaming spider by Carola Gregor, published in Popular Photography, August 1948, pp. 81–82 (Photo: Helene Roth).Reportage “Liger. A lion and a tigress produce a new kind of zoo baby” with images by Carola Gregor, published in Life, 20 September 1948, p. 109 (Photo: Helene Roth).Reportage “Liger. A lion and a tigress produce a new kind of zoo baby” with images by Carola Gregor, published in Life, 20 September 1948, pp. 111–112 (Photo: Helene Roth).War Manpower Commission. Farm labor poster distributed to Department of Agriculture. Photograph by Carola Gregor (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives).
    New York
    Trude Fleischmann
    Photographer

    Trude Fleischmann was an Austrian-Jewish portrait and dance photographer who emigrated in 1939 to New York, where she opened a studio in Midtown Manhattan with the photographer Frank Elmer.

    Word Count: 28

    Portrait of Trude Fleischmann by Annie Schulz published in Die Bühne, vol. 265, January 1931, p. 15 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Declaration of intention of Trude Fleischmann, April 1939. New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824–1946, Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1944 box 927, no 485551-485750 (© Southern District of New York Petitions for Naturalization, 1897-1944. Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685–2009, RG 21. National Archives at New York).Trude Fleischmann, Adriadic Wash Line, before 1939 published in U.S. Camera 1940, p. 131 (Photo: Helene Roth).Trude Fleischmann, Arthur Toscanini und Robert Haas, 1946, New York (© Wien Museum / Foto Birgit und Peter Kainz).Trude Fleischmann, Robert Haas bei der Arbeit in New York City, 1940s/1950s (© Wien Museum / Foto Birgit und Peter Kainz).Trude Fleischmann, Group portrait behind the scene of “Players from Abroad”, New York, 1947/48 (© Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933-1945, Frankfurt am Main).Announcement of an exhibition by Trude Fleischmann at the New School for Social Research published in New School Bulletin, no. 13, 13 April 1943 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-03-01-02. The New School Archives).Trude Fleischmann, Portrait of Gert von Gontard, Elisabeth Bergner and Felix Gerstmann for the performance Iphigenie auf Tauris,New York, 1947/48 (© Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933-1945, Frankfurt am Main).
    New York
    New York
    BookPhotobook

    In 1932, after her remigration to Vienna, the Austrian journalist Ann Tizia Leitich published New York, an account of her life and writing experiences started as an emigrant in New York in the 1920s.

    Word Count: 33

    Book cover of New York , edited by Ann Tizia Leitich, Velhagen & Klasing, 1932 (Archive Helene Roth).
    Ruhepause bei den Grabsteinen der Trinity Church (image by Scherl); Auch ein Platz für Mittagsruhe (image by Jacobi, Berlin); Orangedrink nach heißer Bahnhfahrt (image by Ewing Galloway, N.Y); Ein Fünfcentstück öffnet die Drehtür zur Untergrundbahn (image by Ewing Galloway, N.Y), published in Leitich 1932, pp. 16–17 (Archive Helene Roth).Medical Center, die größte Klinik der Welt (am oberen Hudson) (image by Presse-Photo, Berlin); Tausendäugige Häuserfront (image by Jacobi, Berlin), New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 48–49 (Archive Helene Roth).Hafen-Romantik und Wolkenkratzer (image by Jacobi, Berlin) and Schönheit der Wolkenkratzer (image by E.O. Hoppé, Mauritius) in New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 14–15 (Archive Helene Roth).Das arme New York (image by Jacobi, Berlin); Trödelladen im Italienerviertel (image by Scherl) New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 56–57 (Archive Helene Roth).Dachgarten; Sitzplatz; Terrassengarten (images by Richard Averill Smith, New York), New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 38–39 (Archive Helene Roth).
    New York
    Christmas Exhibition of The Center for European Immigrant's Art and Handicraft
    Anonymus. "Gifts by refugees." Daily News, 30 November 1939, p. 108.
    L. W. "Emigrierte Künstler stellen aus." Aufbau, 15 November 1939, p. 14.
    Spiratone
    Photo Supplier

    Spiratone was a photo company and photo supplier founded in 1941 by the Austrian émigré family Hans (1888–1944) and Paula Spira (?–?) and their son Fred Spira (1924–2007).

    Word Count: 24

    Logo and address of Spiratone in Popular Photography, June 1947, p. 104.
    Advertisement in Minicam, vol. 5, no. 1, September 1941 p. 73; 84; 100Advertisement for Spiratone in Popular Photography, October 1949, p. 5.
    New York
    Hermann Landshoff
    Photographer

    Besides outdoor fashion shots, Hermann Landshoff was a portrait and street photographer. During his time in New York, he captured the cultural, artistic and intellectual émigré scene as well as his photographer colleagues.

    Word Count: 33

    Hermann Landshoff, Selfportrait, New York 1942 (© bpk / Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie / Archiv Landshoff).
    Hermann Landshoff, Die Fotografin Lisette Model, New York 1948 (© bpk / Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie / Archiv Landshoff).Hermann Landshoff, Der Grafikdesigner, Fotograf und Art Director Alexey Brodovitch in seiner Wohnung, 1942–45, New York (© bpk / Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie / Archiv Landshoff).
    New York
    Kurt Safranski
    Picture AgentFounding MemberTeacherCartoonistPublisherIllustrator

    Kurt Safranski was one of the founding members of the Black Star photo agency, a teacher at the New School for Social Research and the author of photojournalistic articles and books.

    Word Count: 31

    Portrait of Kurt Safranski with his wife Maria and daughter Tina Safranski, photographer unknown, n.d. (© Heirs of Kurt Safranski).
    Cover of Selling Your Pictures by Kurt Safranski (Ziff Davis Publishing Company, 1940).Kurt Safranski “Backgrounds.” Minicam Photography, July 1945, pp. 52–53 (Photo: Helene Roth).Kurt Safranski. “Dr. Salomon.” Popular Photography, August 1948, pp. 56–57.Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism" course by Kurt Safranski in New School Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 9, 1944, p. 84 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism. Photographs as a Language and their special Problems" course by Kurt Safranski at the New School for Social Research, Spring 1949 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York).
    New York
    Werner Wolff
    Photographer

    Werner Wolff was forced to leave Germany in 1936 due to his Jewish background and emigrated via Hamburg to New York, where he could follow his career as photographer and photojournalist.

    Word Count: 30

    Lotte Jacobi, Werner Wolff, 1943, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    “Speaking of Pictures. Mrs. Roosevelt Takes Voice Lessons.” Life, 13 March 1939, pp. 6–9 (Photo: Helene Roth).Agreement between Black Star and Werner Wolff, 1947 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).Camera Features stamp (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).Contact sheets for reportage on Empire State Building by Werner Wolff, 1946 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).Rear side of contact sheets for reportage on Empire State Building by Werner Wolff, 1946 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).Text for reportage on Empire State Building, written by Werner Wolff, 1946 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).List of images and description for reportage on Empire State Building, written by Werner Wolff, 1946 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).“Daredevil at Work” reportage by Werner Wolff in Popular Photography, September 1946, p. 39 (Photo: Helene Roth).Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).
    New York
    Josef Breitenbach
    Photographer

    On arriving in New York in 1941, the German photographer Josef Breitenbach tried to restart as a portrait, street and experimental photographer, as well as a teacher of photo-history and techniques.

    Word Count: 30

    Fred Stein, Joseph Breitenbach, n.d. (© Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933-1945, Frankfurt am Main).
    Fred Stein, Backside portrait Joseph Breitenbach, n.d. (© Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933-1945, Frankfurt am Main).Attestation of Identity of Josef Breitenbach, Agen, September 1940 (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:5).Affidavit for Josef Breitenbach, April 1941 (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:12).Address book Josef Breitenbach, New York (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:6).Page with collected addresses of photographers in New York by Josef Breitenbach (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:6).Page with collected addresses of colleagues at the New School for Social Research in New York by Josef Breitenbach (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:6).Application for use of photographic equipment by Josef Breitenbach, 1942 (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:12).Business card Josef Breitenbach (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:6).Letter from Fortune Magazine, 1942 (© Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:4, Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona).
    New York
    Lisette Model
    Photographer

    Lisette Model was an Austrian-born photographer who lived in New York with her husband Evsa Model after emigrating from France. Her street photographs capturing the curiosities of everyday life quickly caught the interest of museums and magazines.

    Word Count: 37

    Hermann Landshoff, Die Fotografin Lisette Model, New York 1948 (© bpk / Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie / Archiv Landshoff).
    Lisette Model at New School by Joe Covello, 1960s, New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection, NS.04.01.01:16 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York, NY).Announcement of "The Small Camera In Photography Today" course by Lisette Model. New School Bulletin. Art Classes, vol. 9, no. 2, September 1951, front cover and p. 34 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Lisette Model's naturalisation papers. New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824–1946. Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1944 box 942, no 490001-490300 > image 702 of 1406; citing NARA microfilm publication M1972 (Family Research. © Southern District of New York Petitions for Naturalization, 1897–1944. Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685–2009, RG 21. National Archives at New York).Page with photos of the apartments at 55 Grove Street and 137 7th Avenue, published in Le Pommeré, 2010, pp. 58–59 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Alexey Brodovitch
    PhotographerArt DirectorGraphic Designer

    Alexey Brodovitch was a Belarus-born émigré graphic artist, art director and photographer who, from 1933, worked in New York for Harper’s Bazaar magazine and at the New School for Social Research.

    Word Count: 31

    Hermann Landshoff, Der Grafikdesigner, Fotograf und Art Director Alexey Brodovitch in seiner Wohnung, 1942–45, New York (© bpk / Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie / Archiv Landshoff).
    Announcement of Alexey Brodovitch “Advertising Design” course at the Pennsylvanian Museum School for Industrial Art (The Philadelphia Inquirer, 24 September 1933, p. 30).Announcement of the Design Laboratory by Alexey Brodovitch at the New School of Social Research (© Clara Meyer Papers. Brodovitch, Alexey, 1949-1959, Box: 1, Folder: 35. The New School Archives).Announcement of "Art Applied to Graphic Journalism, Advertising, Design, Fashion" course by Alexey Brodovitch, published in New School Bulletin. Art Classes, 1942/43, p. 11 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Cover of Ballet by Alexey Brodovitch (J.J. Augustin, 1945).Design of a lamp by Alexey Brodovitch (St. Louis Post Dispatch, 25 March 1951, p. 103).
    New York
    Rolf Tietgens
    PhotographerEditorWriter

    Rolf Tietgens was a German émigré photographer who arrived in New York in 1938. Although, in the course of his photographic career, his artistic and surrealist images were published and shown at exhibitions, his work, today, is very little known.

    Word Count: 39

    Portrait of Rolf Tietgens, n.d. (© Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York).
    Der Hafen by Rolf Tietgens, Ehrmann Verlag, 1936.Rolf Tietgens. “What is Surrealism?” Minicam, July 1939, pp. 30–31 (Photo: Helene Roth).Photo by Rolf Tietgens of Streamliners at the World’s Fair published in the World's Fair special issue of U.S. Camera, August 1939, p. 45 (Photo: Helene Roth).Photo by Rolf Tietgens of the Communication Mall at the World’s Fair 1939 published in the World's Fair special issue of U.S. Camera, August 1939, p. 38 (Photo: Helene Roth).Rolf Tietgens. “Capture the ‘Life’ of the object.” Minicam, January 1940, pp. 46–47 (Photo: Helene Roth).Rolf Tietgens. “Capture the ‘Life’ of the object.” Minicam, January 1940, pp. 48–49 (Photo: Helene Roth).Felix Kraus. "Why Photographers experiment." Popular Photography, February 1945, pp. 28–29 (Photo: Helene Roth).Hans Arp. Human Concretion, 1935, limestone 73 x 49,5 x 45 cm, photograph by Rolf Tietgens and reproduced in Arp: On My Way. Poetry and Essays 1912–1947, edited by Robert Motherwell, Wittenborn, Schulz, 1948, pp. 130–131 (Photo: Helene Roth).Published photo by Rolf Tietgens (Feininger 1952, 116–117).Times Square. U.S.A. (1952) photobook by Rolf Tietgens, Keith de Lellis Gallery, 1992 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    John Heartfield
    ArtistGraphic DesignerFotomonteur (mounter of photographs)

    After escaping from his first exile in Prague in December 1938, the political artist John Heartfield lived in London since 1950, working for Picture Post and the publisher Lindsay Drummond.

    Word Count: 28

    Richard St. Barbe Baker. Africa drums. Lindsay Drummond, 1943, cover design by John Heartfield (METROMOD Archive, © The Heartfield Community of Heirs / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).
    London
    Lilly Joss
    Photographer

    Lilly Joss was an émigré freelance photographer in New York. She worked for the Black Star photo agency and magazines and was also a portrait and theatre photographer.

    Word Count: 28

    Portrait of Lilly Joss, detail from an article, published in Barbara Green. “Magazine Photographer Lilly Joss.” The Camera, March 1948, p. 42 (Private Archive Helene Roth).
    Frühling im Central Park series. Junges Paar mit Kinderwagen by Lilly Joss, New York, 1944 (© Wien Museum / kunstdokumentation.com).“The Kid’s spoke up” article with images by Lilly Joss, The Los Angeles Times, 4 February 1945, p. 79 (Photo: Helene Roth).Four images by Lilly Joss for the “Spring 1944” reportage, Life 24 April 1944, pp. 96–97 (Photo: Helene Roth).Two little boys in a Chinese kindergarten by Lilly Joss for the “Salon Section”, Popular Photography, March 1945, pp.46–47 (Photo: Helene Roth).Joss Reich, Lilly. The Viennese Pastry Cookbook. From Vienna With Love over 200 authentic recipes for classic pastries and warm desserts. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1970.
    New York
    Ylla
    Photographer

    Ylla was an Austrian-born photographer who emigrated to New York in 1941. Specialising in animal photography, she produced not only studio photographs, but also shot outside on urban locations in the metropolis.

    Word Count: 31

    "Speaking of Pictures … this is the work of the Bachrach of Dog Photography.”, images by Ylla and published in Life, 17 November 1947, pp. 18–19. (Photo: Helene Roth).“Babytime at the Zoo”, images by Ylla, Life,14 May 1944, p. 43. (Photo: Helene Roth).“Ylla’s cameras tells. A tale of two kittens ... .” Popular Photography, Dezember 1951, pp. 50–51 (Photo: Helene Roth).Profile photo of terrier by Ylla (Camilla Koffler), ca. 1938, published on the cover of U.S. Camera, October 1940 ( © Waverley123 (Pryor Dodge) at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons).Advertisement in The New Yorker (November 14, 1953, p. 184) for Ylla’s book Animal’s in Africa (Photo: Helene Roth).Published photograph by Ylla Back to Methusala, Regent's Park London for U.S. Camera. Annual 1943, edited by Tom Malloney, Radom House, 1943, p. 90.Fritz Neugass. “The saga of the S.S. Winnipeg.” Modern Photography, July 1951, pp. 72–73 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Fritz Henle
    Photographer

    Fritz Henle was a German Jewish photographer who emigrated in 1936 to New York, where he worked as a photojournalist for various magazines. He also published several photobooks of his travels throughout North America and Asia.

    Word Count: 35

    Portrait of Fritz Henle by Herbert Matter, New York, 1937 (© Estate Fritz Henle).
    Fritz Henle, New York at Night, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).Fritz Henle, New York Reflections, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).Fritz Henle, The L Train on Wall Street, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).Fritz Henle, Brooklyn Bridge and Baby Carriage, New York, 1936's-1950 (© 2021.Fritz Henle Estate)Fritz Henle, New York Skaters from the RCA Building, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).Fritz Henle, New York Art Critic at Washington Square, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).“The American Legion takes New York City.” Life, 4 October 1937, pp. 24f.Photographs by Fritz Henle for the reportage “Memo to: Walter Wander, Subject: 52nd Street.” Life, 29 November 1937, pp. 64–67 (Photo: Helene Roth).Cover of Paris photobook by Fritz Henle (Ziff Davis, 1947).“Men who love Paris. Fritz Henle and Elliot Paul combine pictures and text in a handsome book about their favorite city.” Popular Photography, January 1947, pp. 60–61.Norris Harkness. "Simplicity. Fritz Henle’s fashion shots prove that the easy way is often the most effective." Popular Photography, August 1944, pp. 36–37.Victor Kepler. “There’s adventure in night photography.” Popular Photography, August 1942, pp. 28–29.Cover of Fritz Henle’s rollei (Hastings House, 1950).Cover photo by Fritz Henle, Life, 30 July 1939.
    New York
    Ernest Mayer
    Picture AgentFounding MemberPublisher

    Ernest Mayer was co-founder of the Black Star Publishing Company photo agency, which built a network for émigré photographers and the American magazine scene from the mid-1930s until the end of the 1950s.

    Word Count: 34

    Portrait of Ernest Mayer at the Black Star Office, December 1936, New York (© Heirs of Kurt Kornfeld).
    Signature by Ernest Mayer in a letter to Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Walt Sanders and Alfred Kornfeld, son of Black Star cofounder Kurt Kornfeld. Sheldrake Lake, New Rochelle, NY, November 1939 (© Heirs of Kurt Kornfeld).
    New York
    Rudy Burckhardt
    PhotographerFilmmakerPainter

    Rudy Burckhardt was a Swiss-born photographer, filmmaker and painter who emigrated from Basle to New York City in 1935. He was well networked within the emerging Abstract Expressionist art scene of 1940s' and 50s'.

    Word Count: 33

    Rudy Burckhardt, Selftportrait, New York 1937 (© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).
    Announcement for an exhibition by Rudy Burkhardt at the Photo League Gallery in Brooklyn Eagle, 30 September 1948, p. 18.Jaqueline Judge. “Rudi Burckhardt … photographer of everyday life.” Popular Photography, January 1949, pp. 52–53 (Photo: Helene Roth).Rudy Burckhardt, Portrait of the painter Willem de Kooning, New York 1937/38 (© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).Rudy Burckhardt, Building Front Detail with Acanthus Molding in Doorway, New York City, 1938 (© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).
    New York
    Black Star Agency
    Photo Agency

    The German émigrés Kurt S(z)afranski, Ern(e)st Mayer and Kurt Kornfeld founded Black Star in 1936. The photo agency established was a well-run networking institution in New York.

    Word Count: 31

    Letterhead of Black Star (Black Star Archive. Ryerson Image Center, Photo: Helene Roth).
    Logo and Stamp of Black Star Photo Agency (Photo: Helene Roth, 2019).Description of Black Star in a photographic guide (Ahlers, Arvel W.. Where & how to sell your pictures. Photography Publishing Corp., 1953, p. 45).Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).Facade and entrance of the Graybar Building on Lexington Avenue (Photo: Helene Roth, 2018).Cover of Selling Your Pictures by Kurt Safranski (Ziff Davis Publishing Company, 1940).Black Star contract by Fred Stein, April 1, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism. Photographs as a Language and their special Problems" course by Kurt Safranski at the New School for Social Research, Spring 1949 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York).Letterhead with the logo and address of Black Star (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    Julien Levy Gallery
    Art Gallery

    The Julien Levy Gallery was founded by the art dealer Julien Levy (1906–1981) in 1931, and was situated in the New York gallery district around 57th Street, where the Weyhe and Norlyst Gallery were also located.

    Word Count: 34

    T. Lux Feininger, The Painter Muriel Streeter and Julien Levy, 1940, New York (© The Estate of T. Lux Feininger, Repro: www.Kunst-Archive.net).
    Exhibition flyer Paintings of Ships by T. Lux Feininger at the Julien Levy Gallery from May, 7 until December, 31 1937 (© T. Lux Feininger Estate).Exhibition flyer by Theodore Lux Feininger at the Julien Levy Gallery from January, 21 until January, 31 1947 (© T. Lux Feininger Estate).Announcement of the exhibition Modern European Photography at the Julien Levy Gallery (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 21 February 1932, p. 52).
    New York