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Marion Palfi

  • Given name:
    Marion
  • Last name:
    Palfi
  • Date of Birth:
    21-10-1907
  • Place of Birth:
    Berlin (DE)
  • Date of Death:
    04-11-1978
  • Place of Death:
    Los Ángeles (CL)
  • Profession:
    Photographer
  • Introduction:

    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

  • Signature Image:
    Selfportrait of Marion Palfi (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Marion Palfi Archive).
  • Content:

    Although her many photographic series and projects, created not only in New York but also on her travels across the U.S. and which consist of a huge collection of more than a thousand images, held today at the Center for Creative Photography, the life and work of Marion Palfi is very little studied. In 2021 a first solo retrospective Freedom Must Be Lived: Marion Palfi’s America, 1940–1978 was hosted at the Phoenix Art Museum in collaboration with the Center for Creative Photography. The images featured were made several decades ago, but continue to have relevance at a time when racism, discrimination, political violence and poverty still exist and raise awareness of the need for tolerant coexistence in our societies.

    Marion Palfi's first exile stop, in the late 1930s, was Amsterdam (Netherlands), where she had her own portrait studio. In 1940, she arrived with her husband in New York. Few details are known of her early days in the city. She was given her first assignment as a photofinisher by Pavelle Laboratories, which was founded by the émigré Leo Pavelle. Her first apartment was located on East 53rd Street on the corner with 3rd Avenue (today's Lexington Avenue), where she had a darkroom situated between the living room and the kitchen. (Berkowitz 1949) She soon began photographing for herself in New York and used her camera as a medium for studying and working on social and political issues. In 1945 she had her first solo exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery. Also in 1945, the Great American Artists of Minority Groups exhibition was sponsored by the Council Against Intolerance in America and it is possible that photographic series created by Palfi, of the émigré sculptor Chaim Gross and the graphic artist Leon Helguera in 1944, were shown.

    Through the exhibition she met such people as the poet Langston Hughes, Eleanor Roosevelt, Edward Steichen, John Collier and the émigré photographer Lisette Model, who later became part of her network. During the 1940s Marion Palfi made a series on Langston Hughes and his family. As Marion Palfi became a member of the Photo League, a school and association of photographers who used the camera to engage in socio-political activities, it can be guessed that she had connections in both the émigré and New York photo and art scenes.

    From the 1940s, she produced several series in New York. All portraits and series must be read within the context of social and ethnic life and also the social engagement of people fighting social discrimination in Help and Aid Centers and Institutions in New York. Examples would be Girl Gang and Boys’ Gang in New York of the Henry Street Settlement House, the Syndenham Hospital, everyday scenes of children and teenagers living in New York, the Children’s Court or the New York Training School for Girls, Hudson, New York.
    All these portraits and series represent their own microhistories and have to be read within the context of their social, political and ethnic histories and the struggle of minorities and outsiders for social justice. As she herself had arrived in New York as an émigré and a woman photographer - both also minority groups - , it can be argued that she felt solidarity with her subjects and used photography as a medium to narrate and illustrate the messages she wished to convey. This is also the case for the portrait series she made of the Japanese-American dancer Sono Osato.
    Palfi's photographs of the Henry Street Settlement House, which was located in the Lower East Side and provide opportunities for the residents through social services, arts and health programs, were published in the first issue of Ebony magazine, the first magazine to feature the work of African-American and minority group artists. One of her photographs, but mirror inverted, was featured on the cover (Ebony, 1 November 1945). Other female émigrés photographers as Ellen Auerbach, Erika Stone or Lilly Joss Reich and Ruth Staudinger also made series about the urban life of the gender, social and ethnic diversity on the streets of New York City.

    In 1948 some of Marion Palfi’s photographs were also part of the In and Out of Focus exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Other émigré photographers who were represented there were Josef Breitenbach, Andres Feininger, Fritz Goro (the husband of Carola Gregor), Lotte Jacobi, Lisette Model and Ylla.

    On analysing portraits by Marion Palfi it can be recognised that she took them from different angles while capturing the personal and unique lives of her sbubjects in a human and equal way, making no distinction between ethnicities or socio-cultural identities. She often photographed people from the side or from an unusual perspective, in detailed shots or cut-outs – a photographic style and aesthetic reminiscent of the New Vision in 1920s' Germany. After studying theatre and dance in Berlin in the 1920s, Marion Palfi appeared as an actress and model in several films, including the musical Laterna Magica – auch eine Revue (1926, Friedrich Hollaender), in which the actress Valeska Gert also took part (Siedhoff 2018). Valeska Gert emigrated in 1939 via London to New York, where, in 1941, she opened her artists bar and cabaret Beggar Bar. Besides herself, other émigré artists were also given the opportunity to perform there. In addition to her theatre and dance work, Marion Palfi started to practice photography and began working as a retoucher in a small Berlin photo studio during the 1920s.

    Her first portraits chimed with the mood of the 1920s, when conventional modes of viewing were abandoned in favour of unconventional perspectives and artistic cut outs; it was also a time when the role of women was starting to change. Several of Palfi's portraits from this time, and from her later exile in Amsterdam, show these artistic aesthetic stylistics. During the 1930s she did some commissioned work and montages, and her photographs appeared in Die Deutsche Illustrierte. She may also have been in contact with the fashion and sports photographer Martin Munkacsi, who also lived in Berlin at the time and later emigrated to New York, where he was able to pursue his career as a photographer. At the end of the 1930s Marion Palfi moved to Amsterdam, where she opened a small portrait and photo studio. From the archive of the Center of Creative Photography and with the help of the estate of Anita Naef, some portraits of Klaus Mann can be identified, taken during his time in exile in 1933. (Töppelmann 2000)

    Throughout her entire life, Marion Palfi worked and photographed in series on specific topics, recording in her manuscripts the research and preparations she undertook. One of her first projects, funded in 1946 by a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship grant, focused on the experiences of children living in extreme poverty and she spent two years travelling throughout the U.S. Under the title Children In America, this series was shown in libraries, schools, colleges, and universities – and also at the New York Public Library. Out of this project came in 1952 her book, Suffer Little Children, which was published by Oceana Publications. A review of the book was written by her lifelong acquaintance, Eleanor Roosevelt, who honoured her project and the importance of the subject. Other projects in the following years were: There is No More Time (1949–1952), Children in America (1949–1952), In These Ten Cities (1950/51), Curacao (1953), One Month in Mexico (1955), You Have Never Been Old (1956–1958), Gangler Circus (1961), That May Affect Their Hearts and Minds (1963–1967), The Esau Jenkins Story (1963-1967), First I Liked the Whites, I gave them fruits (1967–1969).

    From 1959 Marion Palfi also worked at the New School for Social Research and gave courses in photography in combination with her social research and fieldwork. Her workshops, lectures and courses included: “Social Uses in Photography”, “Social Research with Photography”, “The Photographer as a Human”, “The Exact Moment” and, in 1958/59, the social geriatrics study You Have Never Been Old. Other émigré colleagues at the New School for Social Research were Charles Leirens, Lisette Model, Tim Gidal, Kurt Safranski, Josef Breitenbach and Alexey Brodovitch.

    Word Count: 1322

  • Media:
    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).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Berkowitz, George. “Typed memo to Marion Palfi.” (unpublished material, Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona, Tucson, 20 April 1949).

    Blair, Sara. Harlem Crossroads: Black Writers and the Photograph in the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press, 2007.

    Craener, Vera. „Marion Palfi - kämpft mit der Kamera.“ Aufbau, vol. 15, no. 5, 1949, S. 19.

    Displaced Visions. Émigré Photographers of the 20th Century, edited by Nissan N. Perez, exh. cat. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2013.

    Ebony, 1 November 1945.

    Enyeart, Jim. “Marion Palfi – Social Research Photographer.” Exposure. Journal of the Society for Photographic Education, vol. 11, no. 3, August 1973, pp. 4–6. Accessed 19 February 2021.

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

    Hudson-Wiedenmann, Ursula and Beate Schmeichel-Falkenberg, editors. Grenzen überschreiten: Frauen, Kunst und Exil. Königshausen & Neumann, 2005.

    Invisible America. Exhibition of Photographs by Marion Palfi, exh. cat. University of Kansas. Museum of Art, Lawrence, 1973.

    Krohn, Claus-Dieter, et al., editor. Exilforschung: ein internationales Jahrbuch, vol. 16: Exil und Avantgarden. edition text + kritik, 1998.

    Marion Palfi, special issue of The Archive - Research Series, no. 19, September 1983. Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.Accessed 19 February 2021.

    Martens, Klaus. Pioneering North America: Mediators of European Culture and Literature (Saarbrücker Beiträge zur vergleichenden Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft, 11). Königshausen & Neumann, 2000.

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

    Palfi, Marion. Suffer Little Children. Oceana Publications, 1952.

    Reframing America: Alexander Alland, Otto Hagel & Hansel Mieth, John Gutmann, Lisette Model, Marion Palfi, Robert Frank, edited by Andrei Codrescu and Terence Pitts, exh. cat. Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, 1995.

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

    Schaber, Irme. “‘Die Kamera ist ein Instrument der Entdeckung…’. Die Großstadtfotografie der fotografischen Emigration in der NS-Zeit in Paris, London und New York.” Exilforschung. Ein internationales Jahrbuch, vol. 20: Metropolen des Exils, edited by Claus-Dieter Krohn et al., edition text + kritik, 2002, pp. 53–73.

    Siedhoff, Thomas. Deutsch(sprachig)es Musical. Deutsches Musicalarchiv, January 2018. Accessed 19 February 2021.

    Sorgenfrei, Robert and David Peters. Marion Palfi Archive (Guide Series, no. 10). Center for Creative Photography. University of Arizona, 1985.

    This was the Photo League. Compassion and the Camera from the Depression to the Cold War, edited by Anne Tucker, exh. cat. Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, 2001.

    Töpelmann, Cornelia. “Findbuch Nachlass Anita Naef.” Universitätsbibliothek München. Sammlung Thomas-Mann-Forum München, 2000. Accessed 19 February 2021.

    Word Count: 391

  • Archives and Sources:

    Word Count: 14

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Exile:

    Amsterdam, NL (1936–1940); New York, US (1940–1965); Los Angeles, US (1965–1978).

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    229 East 53rd Street, Midtown Manhattan, New York City (residence and workplace, 1940–1965).

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Helene Roth. "Marion Palfi." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2948/object/5138-9604476, last modified: 01-02-2022.
  • 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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Ellen Auerbach
    Photographer

    When she arrived in New York in 1937, the German-born photographer Ellen Auerbach (formerly Rosenberg) had already passed through exile stations in Palestine and Great Britain.

    Word Count: 25

    Ellen Auerbach, Selbstportrait, cropped detail (Ellen Auerbach auf einer Liege sitzend, sich selbst im Spiegel fotografierend), New York 1950 (©Akademie der Künste, Berlin / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).
    Ellen Auerbach, Selbstportrait. (Ellen Auerbach auf einer Liege sitzend, sich selbst im Spiegel fotografierend), New York 1950 (©Akademie der Künste, Berlin / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).Cover of Life magazine, with image Two Years Old by Ellen Auerbach, Life, 28 November 1938 (Photo: Helene Roth).The dancer Renate Schottelius photographed by Ellen Auerbach ( "Ellen Auerbach - Robert Mann Gallery" by Erika_Herzog is licensed under CC BY 2.0).
    New York
    Ruth Staudinger
    PhotographerCinematographerArt dealer

    Very few and only fragmentary details can be found on the German émigré photographer Ruth Staudinger, who emigrated in the mid-1930s to New York City. Her nomadic life was also characterisedd by several changes of name along the way.

    Word Count: 40

    Hassoldt Davis (?), Ruth Staudinger Davis holds the mummified head of an executed Indochines (Davis, 1952, 22).
    Ruth Staudinger Rozaffy, Going on duty, 1939 (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library Digital Collections).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).Ruth Staudinger Rozaffy, New York Bedtime, published in U.S. Camera 1940, p. 129 (Photo: Helene Roth).Ruth Staudinger Rozaffy, More Fun Than Circus, published in U.S. Camera 1940, p. 130 (Photo: Helene Roth).Ruth Staudinger Rozaffy, Girls from telephone company taking exercises in American Woman’s Association Gym, published in U.S. Camera 1940, p. 178 (Photo: Helene Roth).“Wiltwyck – Why Harlme Boys Learn Manhood” article with images by Ruth Staudinger Rozaffy (Anonymous 1941, 18–19).Article on Ruth Staudinger and Hassoldt Davis (Desfor 1951, 33).Cover of The Jungle and the Damned (Davis, 1952) (Photo: Helene Roth).First page of The Jungle and the Damned (Davis 1952) (Photo: Helene Roth).First page of Scorcerer’s Village, published by Hassoldt Davis and Ruth Staudinger-Davis, Duell Sloan and Pearce, 1956 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    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
    Chinatown U.S.A.
    Photobook

    Chinatown U.S.A. is a photobook published by the German émigré photographer Elizabeth Coleman in 1946 focusing on American-Chinese communities in New York and San Francisco.

    Word Count: 26

    Cover of Chinatown U.S.A., by Elizabeth Coleman (The John Day Company, 1946).
    Front page of Chinatown U.S.A, edited by Elizabeth Coleman, The John Day Company, 1946 (Archive Helene Roth)."Learning to read and write English in Public school ... and Chinese in Chinese school." Chinatown U.S.A., by Elizabeth Coleman (The John Day Company, 1946).Last page of Chinatown U.S.A., by Elizabeth Coleman (The John Day Company, 1946).Review of Chinatown U.S.A. in The Pittsburg Press, 25 August 1946, p. 46.Review of Chinatown U.S.A in Popular Photography, October 1946, p. 184.
    New York
    5th Avenue
    Photobook

    5th Avenue was the first photobook by Fred Stein and was created in 1947 with the publishing house Pantheon Books.

    Word Count: 19

    Cover of 5th Avenue photobook (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).
    First page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon, 1947) by Fred Stein.Last page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Cover of the French edition 5th Avenue (Querido, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Mixed articles and reviews on 5th Avenue photobook form Fred Stein's scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Page from Fred Stein’s scrapbook showing Pantheon Books Catalogue (Fall 1946, Spring 1947), which includes 5th Avenue (© 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).
    New York
    J.J. Augustin Incorporated Publisher
    Publishing House

    J.J. Augustin was a German publishing house in Glückstadt with a long history, going back to 1632. In 1936 the American branch opened in New York with a large artistic and cultural focus.

    Word Count: 33

    Logo and imprint of J.J. Augustin Publishing (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Book cover of Hoyningen-Huene’s photobook Hellas (J.J. Augustin, 1944).Announcement of Roman Towns by Ernest Nash (J.J. Augustin, 1944).Cover of Ballet by Alexey Brodovitch (J.J. Augustin, 1945).Book cover Return to Life through Contrology by Joseph Pilates (J.J. Augustin, 1945).Cartoon Map of New York City. Designed by Henry E. Salloch. (J.J. Augustin, 1938).Book cover Woodcuts of New York by Hans Alexander Mueller (J.J. Augustin, 1938).
    New York
    Pantheon Books
    Publishing House

    Pantheon Books was a publishing house founded in 1942 by the German émigré Kurt Wolff (1887–1963) and aimed at the exiled European community in New York.

    Word Count: 24

    Pantheon Books sign (© Fred Stein Archive).
    Cover of 5th Avenue photobook (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).First page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon, 1947) by Fred Stein.Last page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Page from Fred Stein’s scrapbook showing Pantheon Books Catalogue (Fall 1946, Spring 1947), which includes 5th Avenue (© Fred Stein Archive).Announcement by Pantheon Books from Fred Stein’s scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Mixed articles and reviews on 5th Avenue photobook form Fred Stein's scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait of Kurt Wolff (of publishing house Pantheon Books) by Fred Stein, 1959 (© Fred Stein Archive).Cover of the French edition 5th Avenue (Querido, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    Oceana Publications
    Publishing House

    Oceana Publications Inc was a publishing house specialising in law and civil rights founded by the British émigré Philip F. Cohen (1911–1998) in 1945.

    Word Count: 22

    Logo and imprint of Oceana Publications Inc.
    Cover of Immigration Laws of the United States by Carol McCormick Croswell (Oceana Publications, 1953).Cover of How to become a citizen of the United States by Margaret Esther Hall (Oceana Publications, 1953).Cover of Suffer Little Children by Marion Palfi (Oceana Publications, 1952).Review of Marion Palfi's Suffer Little Children by Eleanor Roosevelt published in Des Moines Tribune, 10 December 1952, p. 20.
    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
    Norlyst Gallery
    GalleryArt Gallery

    Founded in 1943 by the American painter and art collector Elenore Lust, the Norlyst Gallery represented a cross section of contemporary painting, photography and other media focusing on surrealist and abstract expressionist styles and promoting women artists and photographers.

    Word Count: 38

    Flyer for the Captured Light exhibition (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:29).
    Announcement for the Captured Light exhibition (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:29).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.
    New York
    Beggar Bar
    Bar

    Beggar Bar was an artists bar and cabaret which was founded in 1941 by the German actress and dancer Valeska Gert (1892–1978).

    Word Count: 20

    Advertisement “Valeska Gerts’s Beggar Bar.” Aufbau, 9 October 1942, p. 13
    New York
    Pavelle Laboratories Inc.
    Photo LabPhoto Supplier

    Pavelle Laboratories was found in 1936 by Leo and Carmen Pavelle and operated on East 42nd Street. It was specialised in the development of miniature camera film and one of the first labs working with colour film.

    Word Count: 36

    Logo of Pavelle Laboratories in Popular Photography, December 1943, p. 88.
    Article on Pavelle Laboratories (White 1951, 131).Article on Pavelle Laboratories in White 1951, 132–133).Advertisement for Pavelle Laboratories in Popular Photography, December 1943, p. 88.
    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
    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
    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
    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