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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People walking near the stairs of the front entrance to Sydenham Hospital in Harlem (New York, N.Y.) from 1945.
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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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Front entrance of a home in the suburbs surrounded by foliage, 1945.
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A rural scene of a African American man atop a horse near the center of town where are others are gathered in conversation.
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A group of young men gathered in a lot near a brick-paved sidewalk and home. Caption reads: Poor street
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A large lot filled with rubble and an older model car near a building with a water tower in the South, 1945. Caption reads: Poor housing
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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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Chevrolet truck filled with whites and African Americans near the Marion Bank and Trust Co. Verso reads: Marion, Alabama
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Fieldworking family using hoes to work their land in the South.
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A man with a fedora and dressed in a leather jacket with slacks is pictured with a pail of feed for the two animal livestock on the right. Verso reads: Bricks, N.C.
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A man with a shovel being carried on top of his right shoulder walks along an alley-way in an urban neighborhood. Verso reads: slums
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Harlem (N.Y.) apartment building with residents outside on the front steps. Caption reads: Harlem slum
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View of a small church front. Caption reads: Carpentry
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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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African American child sitting with a book in hand, in a one-room school house in Alabama. Photograph from scrapbook entitled, "Picture Story of Trinity School." Caption reads: A second view of the same school on the opposite page. Note: The water pail out of which everyone drinks. The boy is not asleep he perhaps sees something interesting under the floor.
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A female typist is arranging the paper in her type writer while seated next to another woman clerical worker at an adjacent desk.
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Several young students at the local malt or soda fountain shop. Some students are waiting at the counter, while others are surrounding the juke box or sipping a soft-drink. Advertisements for Chesterfield cigarettes and Coca-Cola are displayed on the malt shop's walls.
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Two laborers meet inside a work-site office with two visitors in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania located in Allegheny County.
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A close up of a storefront window with a white, hand-painted sign that reads: For white people. Caption reads: Whites only
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An African American serviceman seated at a desk taking notes. Caption reads: In service

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