Social Framework: Photographs by Marion Palfi, 1945-1960

Description

"Social Framework: Photographs by Marion Palfi, 1945-1960," is a collection of photographs taken by Marion Palfi, a member of the New York Photo League. This collection captures a diverse spectrum of the American population and daily life from the end of the Second World War to 1960.
Palfi often chose to go where other photographers either did not go, or where they could not gain access. In so doing, Palfi used her camera to study society and document people who were often "forgotten" by mainstream society, but never-the-less constituted part of the American social fabric.
Therefore, aspects of social and economic life from the mid-1940s to the 1960s that were not presented in textbooks or other media during that period, are represented in the photos. For example, the collection features African American servicemen in uniform, as well as photographs of African Americans working in a wartime factory plant.

The economic disparity in the lives of the working class is evident in images of people waiting in line for jobs at an employment office, and in images of dilapidated housing in poor neighborhoods. The daily lives of southern African Americans is captured in photos of farming, church schools, laborers, and country scenes. Evidence of the racial discrimination African Americans endured at the hands of Jim Crow are imprinted on photographs of "Whites Only" segregation signs appearing on storefronts.
In addition to Southern scenes, New York's Harlem neighborhood is also displayed prominently. Photographs of Harlem buildings and residents, as well as of building entrances, including the now defunct Sydenham Hospital, were immortalized by Palfi's lens.

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Tougaloo College female maids, one white, one African American mopping the floor and fixing a floral arrangement. Verso reads: [Tougaloo] n.d.
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Closeup of the hand-painted sign in the window of Lyda's Barber Shop that reads: Whites Only. Caption reads: White Barber
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A picket line consisting of whites and African Americans from the UE Local 601 (United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America), stand outside of a large brick building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania located in Allegheney County.
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New York Hospital (N.Y.), now known as the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center (E. 68th Street). Caption reads: Hospital
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Presdident A. D. Beittel of Talladega College pictured with his wife and son all reading. Caption reads: THE BEITTEL FAMILY
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Scene of the archway near a building on the campus of the City College of New Yor, 1945. Caption reads: NY City College
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A carriage driver in a rural, country setting.
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People walking near the stairs of the front entrance to Sydenham Hospital in Harlem (New York, N.Y.) from 1945.
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Two young women in the foreground and three other students in the background walk along the tree-lined campus of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Verso reads: Dillard New Orleans
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Two school children near the doorway of a church school on top of a wooded hill. Caption reads: Church school
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Sign posted in the grass outside of the Veteran's Guidance Center. Verso reads: Dillard
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A woman is walking up the steps to a building.
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Unidentified brick building in the Southeastern portion of the United States.
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Conference room scene where a man in a business suit is addressing a board of four older white women in hats and one African American man.
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A segregated school for white children. Photograph from scrapbook entitled, "Picture Story of Trinity School." Caption reads: A SCHOOL FOR WHITE CHILDREN 12 MILES FROM THE CITY OF ATHENS.
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Harlem (N.Y.) street scene of a young boy in shorts standing on a corner near a fruit stand. Caption reads: Harlem slum
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Street view of New York Hospital (N.Y.), now known as the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center (E. 68th Street). Caption reads: Hospital
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A scene of a group of people walking past a street corner (possibly E. 131st Street and Fifth Avenue) in Harlem (N.Y.). Caption reads: Harlem slum
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An African American woman in a work uniform sits at a desk filling out a report or other job-related paperwork. Verso reads: Dillard
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A group of white and African American students in a classroom setting having a panel discussion. Verso reads: Panel discussion

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