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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Different view of New York Hospital (white building), now known as the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center (E. 68th Street). Also shown is Memorial Hospital (brown building), now known as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (York Avenue between 67th and 68th Street). Caption reads: Hospital
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Stopping for a visit, two men are seated on barrels at the local store in McIntosh, Georgia. Caption reads: The local store (not a cooperative) was the meeting place for "gab" sessions. Some good ideas came from these informal get-togethers.
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Frank O. Dorey of the American Missionary Association and colleague of Charles S. Johnson, director of the Race Relations Department at Fisk University. Verso reads: Frank Dorey [Fisk]
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Five African American women seated in a room in Bricks, North Carolina. Caption reads: In many instances women were the strength of the home.
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A young African American professional sits at a desk taking notes across from a seated woman.
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A group of white farmers conversing near the town square in Alabama. Photograph from scrapbook entitled, "Picture Story of Trinity School." Caption reads: SOME FARMERS IN TOWN SEEING THE SIGHTS
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Garrison-capped men on the steps of Columbia University (N.Y.) library. Caption reads: Columbia Univ. 1939-1948
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Two children stand over an object while playing in a park in an urban landscape. Caption reads: Playground
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Tougaloo College students, all women seated enjoying tea cup beverages and piano-playing. Verso reads: Tougaloo
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An African American man in work clothes stands in the back of a truck with a wooden bed.
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A rural teacher seated in a one-room school with three young male students. Verso reads: A typical country school of the deep South. Perry County, Alabama
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Crowd scene of African Americans and whites gathered around discarded objects on the ground. Photograph from scrapbook entitled, "Picture Story of Trinity School." Caption reads: SOMETHING EVIDENTLY WENT WRONG WITH THIS SALE.
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School children play on a swing set near a fenceline in a park. Caption reads: Playground
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An unidentified African American man and Ruth A. Morton seated at a dinner table engaged in conversation. Caption reads: A church fellowship dinner.
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A scene of men waiting in line near high-top tables at the employment office. Caption reads: Employment
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Side view of Sydenham Hospital in Harlem (New York, N.Y.) from 1945.
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View down the corridor of a brick-paved street, people stand in the doorway of an apartment building with fire escapes. Verso reads: slum area
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Staff of the Race Relations department located at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee seated at their desks. Verso reads: Grace Jones Maynard Catchings ? Staff [Fisk] Race Relations Nashville
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A group of Talladega students sit in a circle with books in hand. Verso reads: Talladega
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Country scene of an older African American man with a cane standing near stacks of hay. An older African American couple sits in the doorway of the barn, while an older white male sits on the opposite side near the other door.

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