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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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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Distant view of a building on the campus of City College of New York, 1945. Caption reads: NY City College
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A rural scene of a mule-drawn carriage driven by an African American man along a dirt road.
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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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View of the front entrance of Columbia University (N.Y.) library. Caption reads: Columbia Univ. 1939-1948
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Young men gathered around a table engaged in making yarn and needle art crafts.
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A headshot of a young African American serviceman in uniform taken before the end of World War II. Caption reads: In service
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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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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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View of the City College of New York taken from the street, 1945. Caption reads: NY City College
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Two people outside, one in a red skirt, outside of a wooden church school. Caption reads: Church school
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A side profile of a young African American serviceman taken during World War II. Caption reads: In service
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Front entrance of the Columbia University (N.Y.) library. Caption reads: Columbia Univ. 1939-1948
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White school children seated in a circle around their teacher reading books. Verso reads: White school - Marion Caption medium quality class-room - white children.
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Distant view of an African American man standing a curb "thumbing" for a ride. Caption reads: Ride
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Two New York City bus drivers, one white, one African American, standing with buildings in the background. Caption reads: Bus drivers
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Archway scene of the City College of New York, 1945. Caption reads: NY City College
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Tougaloo College dean L. B. Fraser standing on the grounds of the campus petting a dog. Caption reads: Dean L. B. Fraser Verso reads: Tougaloo College, (Miss.) Dean Fraser
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Scene at the county seat depicting segregated drinking facilities in Alabama. Photograph from scrapbook entitled, "Picture Story of Trinity School." Caption reads: A SCENE AT THE COUNTY SEAT. NOTE: THE SEGREGATED WATER.
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A young African American professional is conducting business on the phone while seated at a desk near a woman taking notes.

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