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Kurt Safranski

  • Given name:
    Kurt
  • Last name:
    Safranski
  • Alternative names:

    Kurt Szafranski, Kurt Stephen Safranski

  • Date of Birth:
    17-10-1890
  • Place of Birth:
    Berlin (DE)
  • Date of Death:
    01-03-1964
  • Place of Death:
    Kingston (US)
  • Profession:
    CartoonistFounding MemberIllustratorPicture AgentPublisherTeacher
  • Introduction:

    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

  • Signature Image:
    Portrait of Kurt Safranski with his wife Maria and daughter Tina Safranski, photographer unknown, n.d. (© Heirs of Kurt Safranski).
  • Content:

    Kurt S. Safranski worked as an illustrator, cartoonist and publisher in Berlin during the 1920s at the Ullstein Publishing House together with Kurt Korff, who later was involved in the founding of Life magazine in New York in 1936. He also trained as a graphic artist with Lucien Bernhard, father of the émigré photographer Ruth Bernhard, in Berlin. In 1934, as an endangered Jew, he emigrated to New York with his wife Maria and daughter Tina to work for the Hearst Magazine Division and in 1936 joined German émigrés Ernest Mayer and Kurt Kornfeld in founding the Black Star photo agency. During the 1940s and 1950s he also taught at the New School for Social Research.

    Little information can be found on the life and work of Kurt Safranski in New York. Although he was one of the founding members of the Black Star photo agency and well connected within photographic and journalistic circles in New York, and therefore often cited in this context, personal details are scant. After his arrival in New York in 1934 he americanised his name to Kurt Stephen Safranski (formerly Szafranski). During his first two years in New York, from 1934 to 1936, he resided at the Park Crescent Hotel at 150 Riverside Drive, where Ernest Mayer and Kurt Kornfeld also lived, in 1935 and 1936 respectively. In 1936 Safranski and his family moved to New Rochelle, where they lived from 1936 until 1958, at several locations. Mayer and Kornfeld also moved to New Rochelle the same year. The commute to the Black Star office could be done by train, arriving at Grand Central Station, from where there was easy access to 420 Lexington Avenue, where the agency was located. From 1937 to 1942 Kurt Safranski was vice president of Black Star (while Ernest Mayer was probably responsible for the London branch of Black Star) and, from April 1942 to December 1943, worked as coordinator in the Office of War Information. In 1944 he probably worked for Look magazine after his return to Black Star in 1943, where he remained until his retirement in 1958. Safranski was a photo agent at Black Star, working with such European émigrés as Ruth Bernhard, Ralph Crane (Rudolf Crohn), Andreas Feininger, Fritz Goro (Gorodiski), Carola Gregor (Gorodiski, née Margarete Meyer), Philippe Halsman, Fritz Henle, Lilly Joss (Joseph), Lisa Larsen (Rothschild), Walter Sanders (Suessmann), Fred Stein, Roman Vishniac and Werner Wolff.

    In 1940 he published the book Selling Your Pictures (Ziff Davis). This photojournalism handbook and technical guide was aimed at both amateur and professional photographers and photojournalists who wanted to know more about how to sell their pictures to photo agencies and on the general photographic market. Kurt Safranski promoted Black Star photographers in his book, reproducing several of their photographs. The book was published by the Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. Safranski also published articles offering advice on photographic matters in different magazines, for example “Backgrounds.” (Minicam Photography, July 1945). In 1938 he wrote the flyer for Ruth Bernhard’s exhibition at the PM Gallery. Safranski knew Ruth’s father, Lucien Bernhard, from his time in Berlin and the two had stayed in contact after they both emigrated to New York. It can be assumed that this connection also brought Ruth Bernhard photo commissions from Black Star.
    Another lifelong contact of Kurt Safranski's was the émigré photographer Lotte Jacobi. In Lotte Jacobi’s papers archived in New Hampshire can be found several letters dating from 1947 to 1961 in which the two wrote about their private lives as well as their photographic and journalistic activities. It can also be assumed that they and Lotte Jacobi’s husband Erich Reiss all knew each other from their time in Berlin during the 1920s and early 1930s.

    In August 1948 an article on the German photographer Erich Salomon appeared in Popular Photography. During the 1920s and 1930s Erich Salomon was a well know photographer and one of the creaters of the picture story format pioneered by such German magazines as Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung (BIZ). Salomon and Safranski knew each other from their time in Berlin, where they both worked for the Ullstein Verlag publishing company, and remained in contact after Safranski’s emigration in 1933. Correspondence between them clearly reveals that Safranski tried to persuade Salomon, who had fled to Den Haag in 1933, to emigrate to New York. Salomon was reluctant to leave and in 1944 he and his family became victims of the Holocaust. “There is no grave and no tombstone for Erich Salomon. Nothing remains but his name and work: the memory of a man who made photographic history – and history of photography” (Safranski 1948, 108) are the final words in an article by Safranski on Erich Salomon. During the early 1930s Erich Salomon had visited New York and created some picture stories on the metropolis for Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. He was also among the first to  gain photographic access to the White House in Washington D.C.

    In 1953 Safranski returned briefly to Berlin to assist in conception and production for the relaunch of the Sonntags-Illustrierten magazine by the Ullstein publishing house (Keil 2019). It was to be relaunched as an American-style colour weekend supplement and the first issue came out in March 1954. Unfortunately, the readers’ willingness to buy the supplement at a higher subscription price, or to buy it separately, was low. In addition, the magazine lacked topicality and flair compared to its competitors and the colour printing was expensive. The project ended after only six issues on 25 April 1954 with a loss of 1.5 million marks (Keil, 2019).

    From the autumn of 1944 Kurt Safranski gave his “Pictorial Journalism” course at the New School for Social Research, in which he followed an interdisciplinary approach between photography, journalism and literature. In the 1950s he added a second course and workshop with “Photography as Mass Communication” which continued until his retirement in 1958. Among those who took his Pictorial Journalism course was the photographer W.G. Smith, who also worked for Black Star. In the same year, 1958, Safranski also retired from Black Star. Other émigrés giving lessons in photography and offering photojournalism courses were Josef Breitenbach, Lisette Model, Marion Palfi, Charles Leirens, Alexey Brodovitch and Tim Gidal. The émigrés Fred Stein and Werner Wolff also frequented the New School, working as commissioned work for the Black Star photo agency, and the German émigré Erika Stone was a student there.

    Word Count: 1037

  • Media:
    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).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Chapnick, Howard. Truth Needs No Ally. Inside Photojournalism. University Missouri Press, 1994.

    Dogramaci, Burcu, and Helene Roth. “Fotografie als Mittler im Exil: Fotojournalismus bei Picture Post in London und Fototheorie und -praxis an der New School for Social Research in New York.” Vermittler*innen zwischen den Kulturen, special issue of Zeitschrift für Museum und Bildung, vol. 86–87, 2019, pp. 13–44.

    Dogramaci, Burcu. Lieselotte Friedlaender (1898–1973). Eine Künstlerin der Weimarer Republik. Ein Beitrag zur Pressegraphik der zwanziger Jahre. Wasmuth, 2001.

    Fischer, Ernst. Verleger, Buchhändler & Antiquare aus Deutschland und Österreich in der Emigration nach 1933. Ein biographisches Handbuch. Verband Deutscher Antiquare e.V., 2011.

    Gervais, Thierry. The Making of Visual News. A History of Photography in the Press. Translated by John Tittenson, Bloomsbury, 2017.

    Gilbert, George. The Illustrated Worldwide Who’s Who of Jews in Photography. G. Gilbert, 1996.

    Hartmann, Rainer. „Kurt S. Szafranski - Vier Leben.“ Fotogeschichte, 160, 2021.

    Hicks, Wilson. Words and Pictures (The Literature of Photography). Arno Press, 1973.

    Keil, Lars-Broder. “‘Eines Tages war er plötzlich wieder da’.” 26 August 2019, Axel Springer. Accessed 1 March 2021.

    Kornfeld, Phoebe. Passionate Publishers. The Founders of the Black Star Photo Agency. University of Missouri Press, 2021.

    Lieselotte Friedlaender 1898–1973. Schicksal einer Berliner Modegraphikerin, exh. cat. Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Berlin, 1998.

    Mayer, Mathilde. Die Alte und die Neue Welt (1951). Arbeitskreis Jüdisches Bingen, 2003. [Original text was completed in 1951 by Ernest Mayer’s mother while in exile in New Rochelle, New York.]

    Morris, John Godfrey. Get the Picture. A Personal History of Photojournalism. University of Chicago Press, 2002.

    Neubauer, Hendrik. Black Star. 60 Years of Photojournalism. Könemann, 1997.

    New York Photography 1890–1950. Von Stieglitz bis Man Ray, edited by Ortrud Westheider and Michael Philipp, exh. cat Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, 2012.

    Oels, David, and Ute Schneider, editors. “Der ganze Verlag ist einfach eine Bonbonniere”: Ullstein in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. De Gruyter, 2014.

    Safranski, Kurt. Selling your pictures. Ziff Davis Publishing, 1940.

    Safranski, Kurt. “Backgrounds.” Minicam, July 1945, pp. 52–56, 109, here: pp. 52–53.

    Safranski, Kurt. “Dr. Salomon.” Popular Photography, August 1948, pp. 56–59, 104–108.

    Schaber, Irme. “Fotografie.” Handbuch der deutschsprachigen Emigration 1933–1945, edited by Claus-Dieter Krohn and Patrick von zur Mühlen, WBG, 1998, pp. 970–983.

    Smith, C. Zoe. “Émigré photography in America: contributions of German photojournalism from Black Star Picture Agency to Life magazine, 1933–1938.” (unpublished dissertation, School of Journalism in the Graduate College of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, December 1983).

    Smith, C. Zoe. “Black Star Picture Agency: Life’s European Connection.” Journalism History, vol. 13, no. 1, 1986, pp. 19–25.

    Smith, C. Zoe. “Die Bildagentur ‘Black Star’. Inspiration für eine neue Magazinfotografie in den USA.” Kommunikation visuell. Das Bild als Forschungsgegenstand – Grundlagen und Perspektiven, edited by Thomas Knieper and Marion G. Müller, Herbert von Halem, 2001, pp. 240–249.

    Torosian, Michael. Black Star. The Ryerson University Historical Print Collection of the Black Star Publishing Company. Portfolio Selection and Chronicle of a New York Photo Agency. Lumiere Press, 2013.

    Vowinckel, Annette. “German (Jewish) Photojournalists in Exile. A Story of Networks and Success.” German History, vol. 31, no. 4, December 2013, pp. 473–496.

    Werneburg, Brigitte. “LIFE: Leben in der Emigration. Deutsche Fotojournalisten in Amerika.” (unpublished manuscript, 1991). werneburg.nikha.org. Accessed 15 February 2021.

    Word Count: 491

  • Archives and Sources:

    Word Count: 41

  • Acknowledgements:

    My deepest thanks go to Phoebe Kornfeld, the granddaughter of Kurt Kornfeld, and the heirs of Kurt Safranski for providing me with information and archival material.

    Word Count: 26

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Exile:

    New York, US (1934–1958).

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Park Crescent Hotel, 150 Riverside Drive, Upper West Side, New York City (residence, 1934–1936); 116 Calhoun Avenue, New Rochelle, New York (residence, 1936–1939); 122 East Brookside Drive, Larchmont, New York (residence, 1939–1958); Woodstock, New York (1958–1964); Hearst Magazine Division,  57th West 8 Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, New York City,(workplace, 1934–1936); Black Star Photo Agency, Graybar Building, 420 Lexington Avenue, Midtown Manhattan,New York City (workplace, 1937–1942); Office of War Information, 122 East 42nd Street, Midtown Manhattan, New York City (1942–1944); Black Star Photo Agency, Graybar Building, 420 Lexington Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, New York City (workplace, 1944–1953; 1954–1957);  Black Star Photo Agency, 305 East 47th Street, Tudor City, New York City (1957).

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Helene Roth. "Kurt Safranski." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2948/object/5138-7719697, last modified: 26-04-2022.
  • 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
    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
    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
    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
    Fred Stein
    PhotographerLawyer

    Always accompanied by his camera, the German émigré photographer Fred Stein discovered New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. His pictures provide an human and multifaceted view of the metropolis.

    Word Count: 31

    Fred Stein, Self-portrait, 1941 (© Fred Stein Archive).
    Fred Stein, El at Water Street, 1946 (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait Alvin Saunders Johnson by Fred Stein, New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection (© Fred Stein Archive). Children Photographs exhibition by Fred Stein, April 1947 (© Fred Stein Archive).Affidavit in Lieu of Passport (© Fred Stein Archive).Fred Stein, Anette Kolb, New York, 1945 (© Fred Stein Archive).Fritz Neugass. “The saga of the S.S. Winnipeg.” Modern Photography, July 1951, pp. 72–73 (Photo: Helene Roth).Black Star contract by Fred Stein, April 1, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).New York 1949 calendar by Fred Stein, Lumen Publisher (© Fred Stein Archive).Mixed articles and reviews on 5th Avenue photobook form Fred Stein's scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait of Fritz H. Landshoff (of Querido Publishing House) by Fred Stein, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait of Kurt Wolff (of publishing house Pantheon Books) by Fred Stein, 1959 (© Fred Stein Archive).Announcement by Pantheon Books from Fred Stein’s scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Rapho Guillumette agency letter to Fred Stein, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).Cover of 5th Avenue photobook (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).
    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
    Charles Leirens
    PhotographerMusicianMusicologist

    Charles Leirens was a Belgian-born musician and photographer who emigrated to New York in 1941. While publishing two books on Belgian music, he also gave courses in musicology and photography at the New School for Social Research.

    Word Count: 36

    Announcement for “Photography with the Miniature Camera” course by Charles Leirens. New School Bulletin. Art Classes 1951/1952, vol. 9, no. 2, p. 33 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).
    Fritz Neugass. “The saga of the S.S. Winnipeg.” Modern Photography, July 1951, pp. 72–73 (Photo: Helene Roth).Cover of photobook 20 Portraits d’artistes by Charles Leirens (Editions de la Connaissance, 1936).Announcement for the Photographic Portraits of Prominent Europeans by Charles Leirens exhibition at the Bignou Gallery, published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 10 October 1943, p. 16.Article on Photographic Portraits of Prominent Europeans by Charles Leirens exhibition at the Bignou Gallery, published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 17 October 1943, p. 32.Announcement for “Portraiture with the Miniature Camera” course by Charles Leirens.New School Bulletin. Art Classes 1947/1948, vol. 5, no. 2, p. 29 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Flyer for Morocco by Charles Leirens exhibition at the New School for Social Research from 27 January to 18 February, 1949 (© New School Publicity Office Records. The New School Archives and Special Collections).
    New York
    Marion Palfi
    Photographer

    Marion Palfi was a German émigré photographer who lived in New York from the 1940s to the 1960s. Her photographic engagement in social and political topics made her name for her use of the camera to draw attention to social injustices.

    Word Count: 41

    Selfportrait of Marion Palfi (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Marion Palfi Archive).
    Advertisement “Ein bischen tätige Liebe” for a cigarette brand with photograph of Marion Palfi and Aribert Mog (1904–1941). Modenschau. Illustrierte Monats-Zeitschrift für Heim und Gesellschaft, no. 202, October 1929, p. 43.Cover of Ebony with photograph by Marion Palfi (Ebony, 1 November 1945).Review of Marion Palfi's Suffer Little Children by Eleanor Roosevelt published in Des Moines Tribune, 10 December 1952, p. 20.Article on Marion Palfi in Aufbau magazin (Craemer 1949).Cover of Suffer Little Children by Marion Palfi (Oceana Publications, 1952).Announcement of Marion Palfi’s course at the New School for Social Research. New School for Bulletin, vol. 17, no. 2, 2 September 1959, p. 46 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).
    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
    Tim Gidal
    PhotographerPublisherArt Historian

    Tim Gidal was a German-Jewish photographer, publisher and art historian emigrating in 1948 emigrated to New York. Besides his teaching career, he worked as a photojournalist and, along with his wife Sonia Gidal, published youth books.

    Word Count: 35

    Portrait of Tim Gidal, n.d. (© Tim Gidal Archiv. Steinheim Institut. Photo: Horst Hahn).
    Cover of My village in Austria by Sonia and Tim Gidal (Pantheon, 1956).Plan of the village printed in My village in Austria by Sonia and Tim Gidal (Pantheon, 1956).Title page of My Village in India by Sonia and Tim Gidal (Pantheon, 1956).Announcement for “The New Grand Tour” course by Tim Gidal. New School Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 18, Spring 1956, p. 30 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Announcement for “Picture Reporting Through The Ages” course by Tim Gidal. New School Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 18, Spring 1956, p. 49 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Letter from Tim Gidal to Clara W. Mayer, 1957/58 ( © Clara Mayer Papers. Gidal, Nahum T., 1957-1958, Box: 4, Folder: 27. The New School Archives, Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Ruth Jacobi
    Photographer

    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

    Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Jacobi mit Brille, c. 1935, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    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).
    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
    Kurt Kornfeld
    PublisherPicture AgentFounding Member

    Kurt Kornfeld was a publisher and literary agent and a founding member of the Black Star photo agency in New York City after his emigration in 1936 to New York.

    Word Count: 29

    Portrait of Kurt Kornfeld, 2 May 1938, New York (© Heirs of Kurt Kornfeld).
    Visitenkarte von Kurt A. Kornfeld, Black Star, Strand Palace Hotel, London an Erich Salomon, n.d (Erich Salomon Archiv, © Sammlung Berlinische Galerie, Erworben durch das Land Berlin aus Mitteln des Bundesministeriums des Innern, Bonn, 1980, Repro: Anja Elisabeth Witte).
    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
    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
    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
    New School for Social Research
    Academy/Art SchoolPhoto SchoolUniversity / Higher Education Institute / Research Institute

    During the 1940s and 1950s emigrated graphic designers and photographers, along with artists and intellectuals, were given the opportunity to held lectures and workshops at the New School for Social Research.

    Word Count: 31

    Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).
    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).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).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 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).Portrait Alvin Saunders Johnson by Fred Stein, New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection (© Fred Stein Archive).Flyer of “New Architecture and City Planning” symposium by Paul Zucker (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York, NY).
    New York
    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
    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
    Erika Stone
    Photographer

    Erika Stone is a German émigré, who moved to New York with her parents and sister in December 1936, at the age of 12. She went on to carve out a career as photographer.

    Word Count: 32

    Portrait of Erika Stone, 1951 (© Erika Stone, Courtesy of Katarina Doerner Photographs, Brooklyn, NY).
    Letter in which Erika Stone (Klopfer) is honoured as photo contest winner for Life magazine, November 1926, 1951Erika Stone, Bowery Beauties, New York, 1946 ( © Erika Stone, Courtesy of Katarina Doerner Photographs, Brookly, NY).Erika Stone, Harlem Street Photographer, NYC, ca. 1950 ( "Lot 182: Erika Stone" by sfcamerawork is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
    New York
    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
    Black Star Publishing Company London
    Photo Agency

    The 1936 New York-founded Black Star Publishing Company photo agency opened a European branch in London the same year in response to the high demand for foreign images in the U.S.

    Word Count: 31

    Letterhead with address of Black Star branch in London. Brief von Kurt Kornfeld, Black Star, New York an Erich Salomon, 13.01.1938 (Erich Salomon Archiv, Berlinische Galerie © Erworben durch das Land Berlin aus Mitteln des Bundesministeriums des Innern, Bonn, 1980).
    London