FOR OUR FATHERS collaboration | soprano Ute Gfrerer & mixed media artist Lisa Rosowsky at Gloucester Meetinghouse April 28 co-sponsored by Temple Ahavat Achim

UU Church

UU and Temple Gloucester MA

press release for upcoming program:

FOR OUR FATHERS, Sunday, April 28, 2019 7:30pm, at the Gloucester Meetinghouse: acclaimed Austrian soprano Ute Gfrerer, accompanied by pianist William Merrill, and renowned Boston artist Lisa Rosowsky present a deeply moving evening of song and art, based on the legacy of silence of their two fathers during World War II, one an Austrian member of the Nazi Youth Party, and one a French Jew. In a unique collaboration, the two artists present a Holocaust-themed program of music and mixed media artworks, based on memories of their fathers.  The event is co-hosted with Temple Ahavat Achim. The Meetinghouse (home of the Unitarian Universalist Church) is located on the green at the corner of Middle and Church Streets (accessible side entrance at 10 Church Street with an elevator).  Tickets ($45 preferred, $30 general, $10 students with ID, under 12 free) are available at the door and in-advance with more information at gloucestermeetinghouse.org

About the program from the artist, Lisa Rosowsky: 

When we met in 2017, Ute had already developed a repertoire of musical performances incorporating music that had been set to poems by writers caught up in the Holocaust, and for more than a decade I had been creating mixed media works of art around being the daughter of a survivor. We knew we wanted to find a way to weave together our work into an audio-visual program, and it became my task to craft the presentation. We were amazed by how many of her songs matched up thematically with my pieces! Our goal was to move the audience seamlessly between each song and each work of art, setting both into historical context while offering insight into our individual experiences with our fathers. Over the course of a few months, we developed this performance, which we are pleased to share with you.

Benefit event:  This event is co-sponsored by Temple Ahavat Achim with support from the Paulson Fund, by the Series Sponsors of the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation, and by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  Proceeds will be used to benefit the ongoing preservation of the historic (1806) Meetinghouse as well as to support Temple Ahavat Achim’s Rabbi Myron and Eileen Geller Endowment Campaign for the Sylvia Cohen Religious School and Family Learning

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Looking back at MFA exhibition: devastating and important Lodz Ghetto photos by photojournalist and survivor Henryk Ross

Museum days with David Cox |  Installation scenes from our April 27, 2017 visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to see Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross. The travel exhibition originated from the Art Gallery of Ontario where this searing and important Holocaust photo collection is held and much of it digitized. You can explore more than 4000 negatives here: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross http://agolodzghetto.com/)

Henryk Ross (1910-1991) was one of less than 900 known survivors of 160,000 confined to the Lodz Ghetto by German Nazis.

photo caption: details from exhibition wall text

 

Before 1939, Ross was a photojournalist for the Polish press and heroically that didn’t stop in the ghetto. He was forced to photograph identity cards for every captive, promotional material, and assignments, often gruesome, for the oppressors’ “Department of Statistics”. While photographing ostensibly for “work” he snapped away bearing witness, building evidence and leaving a record. His wife Stefa was imprisoned there as well, aiding and encouraging his activity. They were married in the ghetto. Ross’s cover necessitated movement, access to equipment,  developing, and film: His perilous “employee” theft went undetected. Henryk Ross was a brave front lines prisoner and artist surreptitiously documenting specific and deteriorating realities of the innocents for five years– building a body of persistent resistance. He was a war photographer and patriot I did not know before this exhibition and will not forget.

photo caption: selected photos on display at the MFA (click to enlarge and for more information) genocide day by day

 

Miraculously both survived, and some negatives.  Ross’s work was used as evidence in the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. They testified together. By then he hadn’t photographed anything for years and wouldn’t ever again. “I buried my negatives in the ground in order that there should be some record of our tragedy… I was anticipating the total destruction of Polish Jewry. I wanted to leave a historical record of our martyrdom.” -Henryk Ross

I wonder if there is a memorial plaque on Jagielonska Street near where he hid them?

As this repository was such an exacting chronicle and similar camera format, I thought about curating a show of American FSA/OWI photographers, Ross’s contemporaries, working with home front goals in the same time span as Ross. In 1942 Howard Lieberman and Gordon Parks official assignments included portraits in Gloucester, Massachusetts, of family members missing deployed husbands, brothers, sons and daughters, of a community honoring Memorial Day, of fishermen hard at work providing “Victory Food From American Waters”. People helping. Brave souls. (FSA photograpers and FSA had earned clout pre-1937. Did they inspire Ross? Decades later, did these artists ever come to know each other’s works?)

 

photojournalism_past destruction installation view_ 20170427_lodz ghetto photographs of henryk ross collection holocaust photos at museum of fine arts boston_ © catherine ryan
humanity  devoured- death march past synagogue ruins

 

The exhibition included examples of the Lodz ghetto horrifying, gutting circulars. I used Google translate to transcribe a few of the letterpress announcements. I imagine that the Art Gallery of Ontario will crowd source volunteer transcription one day.

Keep Calm and Carry On pronouncements here, too
Aug 12, 1940 Announcement 104: Jews! Remain Calm!
The events of the last days were triggered by the responsible elements that we wanted to bring chaos into our cycle. These people are aimed at the only important benefits allowed to organize positive and appropriate help for the population. In a short period of time since the creation of the ghetto, after great hardships, it was possible to obtain work from the outside for parts of tailors, carpenters, shoemakers, lappers and seamstresses; soon I will get employment for other crafts, as well as for handicrafts.
The Municipal Budget is Overstated.
Supplying children and the elderly is still in the foreground. Pomino will be equipped with kitchens for all: old and young. Regardless of the (?) general kitchen for workers and the unemployed, which will be issued with 10,000 tanks per day and for various layers (also for religious Jews) – block committees will continue to be supplied. this is a positive plan that must be spotted. this is not an easy task. therefore I am appealing to you with an appeal: keep calm. Do not allow yourself to be misled with irresponsible elements that would hinder your previous work and fulfill your future intentions.
I WANT TO SAVE PEOPLE.
I will do everything that is possible and I will strive to ensure that my tasks are carried out with all due diligence – Ch. Rumkowski

March 22, 1942 Announcement No. 371 :  Resettlement
Subject: Orders concerning the transfer of the ghetto.
Spatialization of the western ghetto part…From the Donnersiteg, the western part of the ghetto must be cleared of all residents and workers. the people living and working there must therefore be in the east…
I hereby announce that the resettlement continues to take place on the initiative of the authorities. I urge the persons concerned – who are destined for resettlement – to do so. upon receipt of the departure request, it is essential that you arrive punctually at the meeting time prescribed by you, otherwise you will have to leave the country without any additional packing.
litzmannstadt-ghetto the 22nd, marz 1942 Ch. Rumkowski* is the oldest of the Jews in Litzmannstadt 

excerpt from the MFA museum label (photo below) concerning Administration and Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski: “…The Elder of the Jewish Council, Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, believed the residents might survive if they became productive…Due to its remarkable productivity, Lodz was the last Polish ghetto to be liquidated. The Jewish Council played a problematic role in the history of the Lodz Ghetto. Its members were forced to implement Nazi policy, but were perceived as privileged in return. Rumkowski remains one of the  Holocaust’s most controversial figures.”- MFA label

August 22, 1942 Announcement no. 428 Concerning the size of the ghetto
In addition to the previously no longer enter. Who does not follow this request and on Thursday d. 24 august 1944, after 7 o’clock early in these areas as well as in the already cleared still encountered, is struck, with death… 
It is bounded by the area: in the west …
limited: in the east …
limited: to the south …
limited; in the East…
and slow to the south…
For special attention
Workers barracked in these areas in closed premises can remain in their workplace and be allowed to work in the same place.
Secret State Police

September 4, 1942 Announcement No. 391 General Curfew in Ghetto

Museum of Fine Arts display label (see photo above) “On September 4, 1942, Lodz Ghetto populace was told that elderly and sick residents and children under the age of 10 would be deported from the ghetto. This notice forbade the remaining residents from leaving their homes while deportees were collected. “From Saturday September 5 1942 from 5pm on a general curfew is in effect until revoked. Excepted are: firefighters, the Transportation Department, feces and garbage haulers, workers involved in the reception of goods at the Baluty Market Square and the Radogoszcz (station), doctors and pharmacy personnel.”

Installation view_ label_20170427_Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross collection Holocaust photos at Museum of Fine Arts Boston_ originated by Art Gallery of Ontario © catherine ryan _130708.jpg

from the digitized archives: click to enlarge and read description

Searching for Artist! Byron Brooks? Part 2

Searching for artist! Byron Brooks? query from Kate Foley posted November 2016 on Good Morning Gloucester generated comments about the artist and his work. I was inspired to piece together some of my primary research and the comments into an informal online catalogue. It’s very much a loose work in progress! Hope it helps people searching for information about the artist, and compels collectors to share additional images of his art.  Just this week (6/27/18) another GMG reader commented that they acquired a Brooks painting in Tucson, AZ.

Byron Brooks online catalogue

Byron Brooks - Good Morning Gloucester requests for information©c ryan

Byron Brooks_ WWII veteran, Coast Guard_ Artist_Gloucester resident_ born in Manchester_grave Pleasant Grove Cemetery Manchester MA_20180628_072316 ©C Ryan (3)
Byron Brooks gravesite, Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Manchester, Mass.

Byron Brooks is not listed in any artist biographical compilations. The index card sketch below mimics the format as IF he were listed in Who Was Who in American Art:

BROOKS, Byron [Painter] b. 1906, Manchester, Mass | d. 1978, Gloucester, MA.
Addresses: 12 Stage Fort Park Avenue and 2 Davis St in Gloucester, MA (Willet Street during the war)

Studied: not known

Member:
Manchester Art Association

Exhibited: 1961, Tenth Annual Cape Ann Festival of the Arts, Visual Arts Exhibition, Section VIII, Balcony Show. Painting, “Rock Clipper Ship”. Emily Anderson chairman (curator) 1957, Sixth Annual Cape Ann Festival of the Arts, “Cottage by the Sea”, Group SP (Sunday Painters section), curated by Emily Anderson
*Brooks ran a gallery from his home

Work: collection of Addison Gilbert Hospital
Employment: Driver-Delivery; employed by City of Gloucester Highway Dept

Veteran:  WWII veteran, served in the Coast Guard

Gloucester Seafood Workers Union WWII memorial plaque: Addison Gilbert Hospital

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1941-1945 To Our Hero Dead in World War II: Gloucester Seafood Workers’ Union, I.L.A. pays homage to the memory of these valiants who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country. Joseph Ciarametaro, Fred G. Gosbee, Roy G. Greenlow, Arthur L. Johnson, Eino Kangas, John J. Morrissey, Jr., Arthur J. Hanley, Edmund Patrican, Roger M. Phenix

Repairs Gone Wrong – botched cleaning on City Hall Honor Roll plaques require corrective restoration

And the qualified help that’s needed is underway!

What do you do when your home repair goes very wrong? Upon evaluation, sometimes you just have to hire a new contractor to remedy mistakes. In the fall of 2014 memorial honor roll plaques in City Hall received some cleaning. The monuments were due some attention. Over time the names were no longer legible and the surfaces were grimy defeating their noble purpose. Gloucester’s outstanding City Archives and the Cape Ann Office of Veterans Services were and are able to help with research for those who can’t come in person or see them clearly.

photo caption: BEFORE photograph of one of four WW1 honor rolls in the rotunda City Hall, ca.2014

©C Ryan bronze plaque city hall 2

 

The 2014 project was not handled by the city nor administered through its committee for the arts, of which I am a member. Funds were raised privately to work on the plaques. Though well intentioned, those restoration efforts were botched (and costly at the time, so I’m told.)  The names were made more visible, but the plaques were damaged and results are scratched, streaked and blotchy.

photo after poor bronze plaque cleaning splotchy © C Ryan 20170719

A small annual budget (FY2018 $4000) that’s set aside for care of City arts and culture and monuments as part of its mission must now be redirected to fix the fix. Yes, “Sometimes you have to hire a new contractor to remedy mistakes,”  frustrating, but necessary. Perhaps the 2014 group will reimburse this cost.

Throughout 2018, you may see specialists from Skylight Studios repairing plaques within City Hall through the Committee for the Arts on behalf of the City. (Gloucester residents may recall that Skylight Studios was hired by the Commonwealth to restore the bronze doors of the Abram Piat Andrew Bridge; the doors were temporarily displayed at Cape Ann Museum before being reinstalled.)

The detailed work on the City Hall plaques will be completed in brief, focused intervals. One plaque in the rotunda will be restored last, because it’s a great opportunity to show before and after examples of contemporary restoration projects- the good, the bad and the quality. As the plaques are repaired, the detail of the raised carving and borders and most importantly the names of so many veterans will become easier and easier to read and remember.

Gloucester Ma Veterans Honor Rolls and Monuments

*author note- this post is listing interior Honor Rolls within City Hall; it’s not a complete list for all tributes in Gloucester 

GROUND FLOOR, CITY HALL
Spanish American War- “Men of Gloucester who served in the War with Spain volunteers all 1898-1902. Gloucester ‘s men, serving on land and sea won for their city  the honor of giving to her country the largest per capita of men in this war. Erected by the City of Gloucester 1930.

Honor Roll War with Spain City Hall cleaning needs to be redone  ©c ryan 20180221_095556.jpg
2014 wonky cleaning needs repair (Honor Roll to be repaired sometime 2018)

World War I Honor Rolls (rotunda and upstairs)
World Ward II Honor Roll (outside clerk’s office)
Korean Honor Roll (outside clerk’s office)
Vietnam Honor Roll (outside clerk’s office; Brian Hamilton 1980 painting of fisherman)

just outside Kyrouz Auditorium, FIRST FLOOR, CITY HALL
“Civil War (1861 1865)This tablet records the service of Company G 8th Regiment MVM in the Civil War; and War with Spain (1898 1899) occupation of Cuba; and World War 1917 1919″ Corrective repairs are underway on this trio Honor Roll. Waxy build up added in 2014 is being removed all over, and names in a small lower right corner have been attended.

 

The multi story memorial to Gloucester fishermen lost at sea was a major public art project led, designed and hand painted by Norma Cuneo, with Irma Wheeler and Ellen Ferrin in 1978, a beautiful shrine lighted by day by two tall windows. Mark Newton, then city clerk-historian, and Jerry Cook were lead researchers; the team eventually compiled a card index that could be accessed by the public along with checking this massive lost at sea mural. Research incorporated historic materials like The Fishermen’s Memorial and Record Book, by George H. Procter, published by Procter Bros. in 1873, printed matter, family archives, and newspapers. Volunteers and historians amend the sources and statistics over time. The sense of the power of a name and life is inspiring. The response and need to a tangible, accessible record was tremendous. Their work was the basis for the cenotaph installed in 2000 by the Fisherman at the Wheel memorial on Stacy Boulevard, a sacred place and pilgrimage site accessible day and night.

 

detail City hall interior Gloucester MA with detail of Gloucester IMG_20180222_125029.jpg

THANKS TO A CANADIAN CHEMICAL ENGINEER, A VERMONT ACADEMIC AGRONOMIST, RISK-TAKING FARMERS, AND VISIONARY CLOTHING COMPANY FOR A FABULOUS NEW USE FOR MILKWEED

What’s old is new again!

Common Milkweed (Ascleipias syriaca) is the essential food plant for populations of the Northeastern and Atlantic coast Monarchs. During Colonial times, the silky floss found in the dried seed heads was used to stuff quilts and pillows. In the 1860s, in Salem Massachusetts, Common Milkweed silk was used as a mattress filling.

During WWII, Common Milkweed became the substitute for kapok, a soft cottony material from the kapok tree that was the preferred filling for life vests. Japan cut off the supply of kapok from Java, the main source of the material, and part of the wartime effort included children sent to fields to gather millions of pounds of Milkweed seed heads for the armed services.

 

 “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

An innovative Canadian clothing manufacturer, the Quartz Company and Altitude Sports, has created the first modern insulated jacket using milkweed silk. Hundreds of acres of Common Milkweed have been planted in Vermont and Quebec. Particularly noteworthy is that the fields of Milkweed are not harvested until after the Monarchs have left.

READ THE STORY HERE  

Milkweed Silk and Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis

WWII Common Milkweed photos courtesy Google image search.

Emergency Motion! Berkshire Museum dramatic courtroom hearing

loose lips might sink ships goff poster.png
WWII poster, Loose Lips might Sink Ships  Seymour R Goff (“essargee“) From 1934-43, milions of New Deal and Works Progress Administration (WPA) posters (original silkscreens, woodcuts and lithos) were created from nearly 35, 000 designs for various government agencies. All the poster divisions were transferred to the War Department by 1942. Seagram sponsored this one.
On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, there was a hearing in Berkshire Superior Court concerning efforts to block the upcoming Sotheby’s sale of Berkshire Museum art. Judge John Agostini presided over the hearing. Apparently the plaintiff cases were not enough; the Attorney General’s office filed an emergency motion DURING yesterday’s two hour hearing. There was a large audience. More than one observer felt that the courtroom scene looked like a Norman Rockwell painting. Judge Agostini said he will make his decision soon.
Here’s the conclusion from The Berkshire Eagle article by Larry Parnass (they’ll be getting awards for their coverage):
Trustees acted unreasonably, she said, by treating the art collection as “fungible.”
The term refers to a commodity that can be traded for something else, such as cash.
Instead, Aladro said, the board turned away from its “core legacy” as a museum and took steps that will sever its connection to cultural institutions it needs to hold future exhibitions. “You ask what the museum did wrong,” Keating said to the judge. “They violated their own written policies.”  Briefs filed in the case show that trustees voted to sign a contract with Sotheby’s weeks before removing provisions from policies that prohibited selling art in the way it intends. Keating also accused trustees of secrecy. “They knew there would be pushback. They didn’t want to face this.” He pointed to an email sent last May by the trustees president, Elizabeth McGraw, that asked fellow trustees to keep quiet. The subject line of the email read, “Loose lips sink ships.” “They didn’t want this ship sunk,” Keating said. 
Save the Art Save the Museum Facebook https://www.facebook.com/savetheartsavethemuseum/
See prior posts on GMG
 A few more examples of WPA era posters

Continue reading “Emergency Motion! Berkshire Museum dramatic courtroom hearing”

WWII Navy ship’s bell mystery and news from Capt Lester S Wass American Legion Post 3

Commander Mark Nestor welcomed the city’s Tourism Commission to the Capt. Lester S Wass American Legion Post 3, Gloucester, MA. Gloucester Congressman A. Piatt Andrew (1873-1936) founded the American Field Service and was instrumental in forming the National American Legion at this post. It’s the third oldest in the country, and its 100th anniversary in 2019 is fast approaching.

The Legion has a new website http://www.post3.org/

It was pushed along by the requests for an on line drive to support  legionnaires suffering as a result of recent hurricane Harvey/Irma.

The building and legion accommodate thousands of visitors annually. The building itself was constructed ca.1844 and is one of the greatest examples of residents crowd sourcing together to purchase a municipal building. The architecture serves an enduring patriotic role: first as a Town Hall, then school, and since WW1  the Legion Post 3.

Nestor expressed gratitude for the city. This past summer they restored the wood floors, which brightened the space from the everyday black/brown grime of the past 20 years. They’ve greatly improved the space and display. A museum mount for the handwritten contemporaneous Official City Clerk copy of the WW1 army and navy register is a high light. A writer has already relied on it for original research.

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The Legion is open to the community and rented for private events. There is a private recreation room for veterans which is under renovation. Upkeep and care of the building is ongoing.

CAN YOU HELP SOLVE THE WW II  SHIP’s BELL MYSTERY?

Can you help identify the WWII naval vessel? The bell belonged to Reverend John J. Sheehan who was a Navy Chaplain. “It’s believed the bell was from the vessel he served on, but the ship remains unknown.” Sheehan’s cousin donated the ship bell to the Post. From the Legion’s plaque:

“After World War I, Reverend Sheehan served as Director at Camp Stella Maris for more than 40 years. It was a summer camp for youth located in West Gloucester. Its name is inscribed on the bell. Reverend Sheehan was also the National Chaplain for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also served as Pastor in a number of Catholic parishes on the north shore. The bell was dedicated to a Stephen Chamberlin. Stephen Chamberlin was a Ret. Lieutenant General who served in the army during WWII and was the Asst. Chief of Staff,G-3 in General Douglas Macarthur’s General Headquarters in the southwest Pacific area. His relationship to Reverend Sheehan is unknown.”

 

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The commemorative coin celebrating the Capt Lester S Wass Post No. 3 100th anniversary and the Cape Ann Veterans Services coin are for sale.

Adam Curcuru, Director Cape Ann Veterans Services, attended the meeting and remarked how great it was “to see our Veterans organizations being utilized to support our great communities.”

Adam Curcuru at the Legion for the Gloucester Tourism Commission meeting

Today’s headline had me at hello: Congratulations Curtis Dagley!

Krakow’s Gothic masterpiece- the Veit Stoss altar (ca.1480)!

Great article by Andrea Holbrook: Poland to Honor Fisherman for Saving Treasure

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland will present Curtis Dagley with a Bene Merito Medal, Thursday, October 27 at 2PM in City Hall. “Mr Dagley is honored for his participation in returning to Poland cultural treasures robbed by Germans during WWII; and also in recognition of the imprisonment he suffered at the hands of the Communist authorities of Poland.”

voss-altar

 

Cross Country Chronicle | Howard Liberman Farm Security Association FSA / OWI Gloucester Photos

Catherine Ryan Submits-

CROSS-COUNTRY CHRONICLE

Gloucester, MA in landmark FSA/OWI documentary photographs

Part 3

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American Photographer HOWARD LIBERMAN

150 FSA/OWI photos in Gloucester, MA, September 1942

 

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Hey, Joey,

 

Here is Part 3 in a series about Gloucester photographs in the legendary Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) collection within the Library of Congress.

 

You can go back to Part 1 about artist Gordon Parks, and for some background about the program (1935-42).

 

Part 2 is about photographer Arthur Rothstein with a timeline and quick facts.

 

In 1942, the Farm Security Administration Historic Photographic section program was winding down as it transitioned and prioritized for WWII. It was temporarily folded into the Office of War Information before shutting down completely. (Gordon Parks was brought on board during this transition.) Director Roy Stryker was occupied with many directives including securing a safe haven for the FSA archives. He was also maintaining a network of contacts in the publishing world and private sectors, and writing. He contributed a chapter for Caroline Ware’s influential book, The Cultural Approach to History. There was magazine work such as the 1942 issue of The Complete Photographer which published articles by both Arthur Rothstein (“Direction in the Picture Story”) and Roy Stryker (“Documentary Photography”.)

 

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Rothstein had already left the FSA. In 1940, Peter E. Smith Publishers, Gloucester, MA, produced his photo book, Depression Years as Photographed by Arthur Rothstein. This compilation of photographs included the best known Gloucester image from his 1937 visit; was it one of the publisher’s, too.

 

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In 1941, Elmer Davis was appointed as the Director of the newly created Office of War Information (OWI). In 1942, Davis hired Francis Edwin Brennan from FORTUNE magazine to head the Graphics Department of the OWI.

 

As Art Director of Fortune (1938-1942), Brennan commissioned famous covers by artists such as Otto Hagel and Fernand Leger. He was known in the industry as a serious art and publishing expert and was a favorite of Henry Luce.

 

It’s likely that Brennan was one contact for Howard Liberman’s engagement at OWI. In August of 1941 Brennan featured a FORTUNE magazine special portfolio of sample posters to showcase the development and potential of this media. Howard Liberman was one of the artists he commissioned; here’s his contribution for that issue:

 

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And here is a poster Liberman created for the OWI.

 

1943 --- United We Win Poster by Howard Liberman --- Image by © CORBIS

 

Liberman worked with color photography, too, which is a sub-collection at the Library of Congress, less known than the black and white. Color photography was available, but more expensive to process and for media publishers to print.

 

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Howard Liberman was dispatched to Gloucester in September of 1942. His photographs show a clear emphasis on WWII dominant coverage, sometimes with an FSA take.  The titles on Liberman’s OWI photos often lead with a heading. For Gloucester, many images have caption leads that begin with the patriotic category: VICTORY FOOD FROM AMERICAN WATERS.

 

In Gloucester, Howard Liberman spent a time on the docks and out with the crew of the OLD GLORY.

 

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His captions seldom include surnames of the portrait subjects. They do have lengthy– sometimes general, sometimes quite specific– descriptions to support the category heading.

 

There are action and portrait shots of the crew catching rosefish during an Old Glory voyage.

 

“Victory food from American waters. At the docks in Gloucester, Massachusetts, crew members prepare their trawler for a week’s voyage. Most of the fishermen in the city come from a line of fishermen that dates back for centuries.”

 

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“Victory food from American waters. Immediately after being caught rosefish are shoveled into the hold for packing the ice. Once called “goldfish” because of their brilliant color, the fish are finding a ready market because of their manifold uses–as food for humans, as fish meal and fish oil.”

 

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“Crew members throw overboard excess ice from Old Glory’s hold. Fishmen allow a proportion of one ton of ice to three tons of fish. When the catch is unusually large as on this trip, some ice is removed to make room for the fish.”

 

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“Victory food from American waters. Decks are covered with tons of rosefish as the Old Glory reaches its capacity load. After two and one half days of fishing, a catch of 85,000 pounds has been hauled in”

 

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“Tomorrow’s fishermen–young Gloucester boys push wagons of rosefish from the unloading pier to the processing plant where the fish are filleted and frozen…Many of the boys will follow their forefathers and fishermen in New England waters”

 

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Look for ‘scenes’ such as Captain John Ribiera (surname spelled a couple of ways in the archive) at work and with his wife at home. 1942 census indicates “Oscar (Irene) fishermn Riberio” at 18 Perkins Street.

 

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Note the picture of “the Pilot at the Wheel” above the stove

 

 

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Another reminder to look for exhibits to see vintage prints in person, rather than the low resolution files I’m showing here. Various resolution options are available at the Library of Congress. Besides the formal details, check out the Captain’s eyes!

 

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Binnacle blinded.

 

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The “Mother of Good Voyages” statue in Captain John Riberia’s quarters on the fishing trawler “Old Glory”

 

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There are a couple of Gloucester interiors (deteriorated negatives) of the Gloucester Mariners’ Association; they infer “captains welcome only.” One shows a gentleman playing cribbage; another shows Captain Ben Pine, the man who raced the schooner Gertrud Thebud.

 

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Joey, beautiful dangerous industry: shoveling fish into the rotary scaler at a fish packing plant.

 

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For assignments in other towns, typical headings for Liberman categories include:

Americans All; Subcontracting; School Boys in Training; Industrial Safety; Office Equipment Used by WPB; Women at War; Fuel Oil Consumption; Women Workers (see below making flags); Airports (ditto other industries); Military (e.g. Fort Belvoir); African American Aircraft Propeller Workers (ditto other jobs); Shipyard Workers; Bomber Plant Workers; Price Control; Production; Submarine Chasers; and Conversions (from this to look here it is now was a useful WWII product)

 

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There are more than 50 additional Gloucester photos in the Library of Congress collection, and one Royden Dixon image from 1940. 

 

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We are fortunate that so many talented artists worked on the FSA/OWI project, that a few visited Gloucester, and that so many folks across the county were willing to participate as subjects (easier during the War)

 

The municipal employees and the curators and staff who have worked on these collections (over decades) are superstars. Beverly Brannan is the curator of 20th C documentary photography at the Library of Congress.

 

For the FSA/OWI program, Director Roy Stryker proselytized that photography was perhaps the best tool for analyzing living history. He felt that photography as a fine art form and its gains in technical ease and advances coincided ideally with the timing of the FSA/OWI historical photographic section. He forecast rapid and constant increase in photography use and adapters. He was inspired by individual and private pioneering antecedents (Brady/Civil War, Hines/Russell Sage), and public ones such as the documentary photographs by William Jackson for the Department of the Interior.

 

Sometimes I think of Stryker’s Section work along a continuum of government spending on exploration that produced great contemporaneous historical records. The journals of Lewis & Clark. The work created by artists who participated in the NASA Art Program. These FSA photographs.

 

Stryker realized that there were collections of photography building up in municipalities big and small; how they were catalogued and assessed were critical to their use.  Here in Gloucester, the Cape Ann Museum maintains a Historic Photo Collection containing over 100,000 images from 1840s through now. Photography is included among its permanent and temporary exhibits and what’s not on view can be researched at their archives.

 

 

GLOUCESTER PHOTOGRAPHY PRE, DURING AND POST FSA/OWI

 

There were many independent artists as well as staff photographers (local newspapers, businesses such as Gorton’s, etc.) working in photography here in Gloucester. Every decade has wonderful examples such as Herbert Turner, Alice Curtis (and other photographers that Fred Bodin features), and David Cox’s father, Frank L. Cox.

 

There were numerous visits from staff photographers of major publications like Life, Vogue, National Geographic, and more. Gordon Parks came back at least two more times; a few other celebrated staff photographers that came through include Luis Marden, Eliot Elisofon, Yale Joel, Co Rentmeester and Arthur Schatz.

 

No- photographic artists who also worked in photography is another long list, and would include Leonard Craske, Emil Gruppe, Philip Reisman, and many others.

Good Morning Gloucester features photography, that’s for sure.

 

 

-Catherine Ryan / all photos Library of Congress, FSA/OWI black and white photography collection

CROSS-COUNTRY CHRONICLE Catherine Ryan on Gloucester, MA in landmark FSA / OWI documentary photographs Part 2 Arthur Rothstein

 
American Photographer ARTHUR ROTHSTEIN (1915-1985)19 FSA photos in Gloucester, MA, September 1937
Joey recently featured Wallflowers, by Gordon Parks on GMG which reminded me of the road less traveled within the historic collection of photographs archived at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library. This post is Part 2 in a series on Gloucester images in this legendary Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) collection. You can go back to Part 1 about Gordon Parks and for some background about the program.
Arthur Rothstein is one of Roy Stryker’s elite team of FSA/OWI photographers. There are over 10,000 photos by Rothstein alone in the massive collection. Rothstein became a premier American photo journalist and the Director of LOOK (1947-1971) and Parade magazines.Director Roy Stryker brought recent graduate Arthur Rothstein to WashingtonDC to set up a state of the art dark room for the new Resettlement Administration Historical Section. In his senior year at ColumbiaUniversity, Rothstein had worked with professors Tugwell and Roy Stryker.Rothstein was 20. Stryker had him out in the field almost immediately. The job meant he had to learn how to drive a car.
In May 1936, Rothstein’s South Dakota Badlands drought images caused controversy then, and discussion still. Rothstein’s April 1936 Oklahoma photograph of a father and his two boys fleeing Mother Nature in CimmaronCounty may be the archetypal image of the Dust Bowl.Here are a few examples and flavor of a fraction of Rothstein’s FSA work (broad themes): Mother Nature/Disaster; migrant workers and flight (showing one from MT); Gees Bend; sense of humor.Those images are followed by a few he did in Gloucester. The people are not identified in the Arthur Rothstein Gloucester photos. He’s here in 1937, the same year that the movie adaptation of Captains Courageous is a big hit.

There’s an artist in action, seen from the back. Who is it?

“Migratory workers returning from day’s work. Robstown camp, Texas. Everyday from twenty to thirty cars moving out from the Dakotas pass the Montana Highway Department’s port of entry.”
COLLECTION QUICK FACTS The Farm Security Administration/ Office of War (FSA/OWI)Director throughout = Roy Stryker acting akin to visionary art dealer

Photographers = Pioneers in the field of photo journalism, photography, including Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, and GordonParks

Library of Congress FSA/OWI collection = Nearly 280,000 objects as follows: black and white negatives (170,000+); black and white prints (100,000+); color photographs (1600+). New York Public Library has a substantial collection.

1937 Arthur Rothstein: 10,000+ images (FSA/OWI) / 19 images Gloucester.Mostly rural images. For example 1400+ images in MT and less than 40 total for MA

1942 Gordon Parks: 1600+ (FSA/OWI) / 220+ images Gloucester. Gloucester names to search for: Frank Mineo, the Alden, Vito Cannela, Vito Camella, Vito Coppola, Frank Domingos, Gaspar Favozza, Giacomo Frusteri, Vito Giocione, Pasquale Maniscaleo, Anonio Milietello, Anthony Parisi, Franasco Parisi, Dominic Tello, Antonio Tiaro, Lorenzo Scola, the Catherine C; Mary Machado, Isabell and Joseph Lopez, Dorothy and Macalo Vagos, Irene Vagos, Francis Vagos

1942 Howard Liberman: 700+ (FSA/OWI) / 150+ images Gloucester. Gloucester names to search for: John Ribiera and his wife, the vessel Old Glory There are many portraits and most are not identified. Please help.

1940 Dixon: 350+ (FSA/OWI) / one image of Gloucester; headed the lab in DC

Occasionally when Stryker or the artist considered a photograph a reject, he would punch a hole through the negative.

TIMELINE FOR SOME SPECIFIC IMAGE CONTEXT (primarily pre 1950)1900W.E.B. Du Bois receives a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition for curating and collaborating on a major exhibit featuring 500 photographs displaying the present conditions of African Americans

1908-1917

Along with an extensive visual archive, the FSA team was extremely versed and/or required to study images. One example: Lewis Hine, a NYC school teacher and sociologist who stirred American consciences with his photos. Margaret Sage, the widow of railroad magnate, Russell Sage, established an endowment to research social sciences still active today. Hine’s Ellis Island photographs landed a staff position with the Foundation. His work for them produced their first influential impact: the Pittsburgh Survey. From there, Hines was hired by the National Child Labor Committee and his photographs over the next decade were instrumental in changing child labor laws. Also Stieglitz, Charles White, Paul Strand, and many others.

1924

Russel Smith’s North America, Its People and the Resources, Development, and Prospects of the Continent as an Agricultural, Industrial and Commercial Area

1925

Tugwell with Stryker and Thomas Munro: American Economic Life

1931

Hines was hired to photograph the construction of the EmpireStateBuilding. Ironically, despite his importance and direct influence on future photographers, the arc of his career ends with hard times. He was not included with the FSA hires.. The reception of Hines work declined so much that he was forced to sell his house. MoMA rejected his archives. George Eastman House took them in 1951.

1930s/40s

Paul Robeson. Period–International influence.

1931

The continued influence of Margaret Bourke-White. Her professional career took off in 1927. FORTUNE magazine sent her to cover Russia which published Eyes on Russia in 1931.

1932

Huge audience for Mervyn Leroy’s movie I Am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang

1934

FORTUNE magazine sends Margaret Bourke-White to cover the Dust Bowl

1935

Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibits in the US

1935-1937

The Resettlement Administration Historical Section’s photographic project is tasked with documenting the crisis state of rural poverty. The government hires Roy Stryker. Stryker hires the photographers. Many other Federal creative arts programs.

1935

The government sends Dorothea Lange to photograph migrant farm workers in CA. Lange, Walker Evans and Ben Shahn already established careers when hired for the FSA but not household names.

1935

Berenice Abbott Changing New York

1936

In November, LIFE magazine’s large-scale, photo dominant iteration is first published. LIFE sold more than 13 million copies per week

1936

The Plow that Broke the Plains, Pare Lorentz with Pauls Strand, Steiner, others

1937

The movie adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Captain’s Courageous is a huge hit.

1937

FSA/OWI Arthur Rothstein is sent to Gloucester. Depression era movie audiences purchased 60 million tickets per week.

1937

LOOK magazine starts publishing bi-weekly

1937

You Have Seen Their Faces, photo-book collaboration by Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke White is wildly successful so much so that it pushes back the publication of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans (1941)

1937

The Resettlement Administration’s Historic Section folds into the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Stryker expands this photographic survey of Depression Era America, while publicizing the work of the FSA

1937/1939

Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is published in 1937. The movie adaptation opens 1939.

1938

FSA group exhibit at the International Photographic Salon, Grand Central Palace, New York featured a selection of bleak but respectful images. Reviews felt that the photographers avoided negative stereotypes.

The tone of the exhibit was so influential that it was oft repeated. Stryker felt that well over ½ the images in the collection were affirmative and positive.

1938

Richard Wright hired for the WPA Writers Project guidebook for New York and wrote the part on Harlem. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship and was able to finish Native Son.

1938

Architectural Forum introduces Frank Lloyd Wright to American audiences. Managing Editor Ruth Goodhue was the first female at the head of any Time Inc publication, and a colleague of Stryker’s. Stryker credits RUTH GOODHUE* for propelling his encyclopedic quest to catalogue every day life with what sounds now like “a distinct sense of place”, 2014 placemaking terms. Her advice to Stryker echoes the later work of Jane Jacobs** “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, the Main Street movement, and our current cultural district designations. Thirty years later Stryker credited numerous people, but he repeats his credit to Goodhue several times. Looking back, by the time 1940 rolls along, it’s Stryker’s creed. It’s thrilling how one inspirational comment can engender such a unique mobilization!

1939

An American Exodus, photo book collaboration by Dorothea Lange and Taylor

1939

FSA photos exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City

1939/1940

Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath is published and is phenomenally successful. The 1940 movie adaptation is a blockbuster, too.

1941

Richard Wright and Edwin Rosskam produce Twelve Million Black Voices. Migration coverage went to the city.

1941

Movies Citizen Kane (trailer 1940) and How Green Was My Valley

1942

Artists for Victory

1942

Gordon Parks’ position within Stryker’s department is underwritten with the support of a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship. Rosenwald was a partner in Sears Roebuck. His foundation operated from 1917-1948 with the mandate to focus on the well-being of mankind and with a particular education outreach for African Americans. The endowment was to be spent down completely and it’s estimated that 70 million was given. Of particular note, from 1928-1948 open-ended grants were given to African American writers, researches, and intellectuals and the list is a Who’s Who of 1930s and 1940s. This is precisely the type awarded to Gordon Parks so that he could work at the famous FSA program.

1942

Gordon Parks in Gloucester May and June. Howard Liberman in Gloucester, September.

1943

May Four Freedoms Day; October 20 America in the War exhibits

1942-45

FSA absorbed by the Office of War Information (OWI), focus shifts to the domestic impact of WWII

1955

Edward Steichen’s Family of Man exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art includes many of the photos

1962

The Bitter Years 1935-1941: Rural America Seen by Photographers of the FSA

Edward Steichen’s last and seminal exhibit as Director of the Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to Stryker and the FSA photographers. As with other FSA themed exhibits, photographs by Gordon Parks– and many other artists–were not included, still aren’t included.

1990/2000s

Gees Bend quilts

*Roy Stryker on Ruth Goodhue

“Ruth Goodhue was the managing editor of “Architectural Forum.” Her father designed the very famous Nebraska capitol, a very unusual building. She was another one on my circuit. But I stopped to have breakfast with her, she was over at that time in the Chrysler Building with the Life complex there and I had breakfast with her and I went up to her office. She was the one that said — I’ll tell you this story because it’s how I reacted so often — “Roy Stryker, I wonder if all towns of 5,000 are alike, because they have the same boiler plate, they have the same radio programs, and so on?” Well, I had to go on a trip and when I got back I had an outline on small towns.” Also:

“She was a charming woman and very bright and very proactive. And she said to me, “Are all little towns in America alike because they read the same boiler plate, listen to the same radios on the air, and because they eat the same breakfast food?” Proactive questions, just what I needed. I have a very bad habit of writing memos to myself; I love to put things down, write a page after page and take it home. By the time I got back to Washington, the photographers hadn’t been taking pictures of the little towns they went through. So then there grew an outline — a perfect bombardment of twenty-five pages, I guess. Did you stay overnight? Let’s begin to cover the main street of America, you know, just to see what the heck occurs on it.”

**Jane Jacobs

As writer and associate editor of The Iron Age, Jane Jacobs published “30,000 Unemployed and 7000 Empty Houses in Scranton, NeglectedCity”, an article which brought attention to her home town. This led to more freelance work and in 1943 a job writing features for the US Office of War Information (OWI). After 1945 and into the 1950s, Jacobs wrote and was editor for the State Department’s magazine branch, primarily for Amerika Illustrated, a Russian language magazine. In the public sector she went on to Architectural Forum. I wonder if Goodhue was a mentor for Jacobs or if they had any overlap. I certainly consider the FSA/OWI files as formative for her ideas — and Goodhue influenced that program.

Gloucester connections:

Charles Olson

In New York City 1937, Charles Olson was hired by the government to work for the American Council of Nationalities Services, an agency that offered support programs for immigrants and refugees. He also wrote for the Office of War Information from 1942 – May of 1944. The timing overlaps with Jane Jacobs somewhat. Gloucester writer, Edward Dahlberg, introduced Olson to Alfred Stieglitz in New York City back in 1937.

Goodhue and Cram

Ruth Goodhue’s father, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, was a famous architect. Through his friendships with Ernest Fenollosa of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and others in the orb of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts (1897), he met architect Ralph Adams Cram. Goodhue and Cram partnered to form a successful architectural firm, in business together for over twenty years. They had great solo careers, too.

Cram designed the Atwood Home, Gallery-on-the-Moors, in East Gloucester, and preliminary plans for the towers on Hammond Sr’s property, and the inspiration or more for Stillington Hall and others.

-Catherine Ryan / all photos Library of Congress, FSA/OWI black and white photography collection