Marion Post Wolcott collection
Scope and Contents
The strength of this collection resides in biographical reference material compiled by the artist during the last decade of her life. Photocopies of primary material written between 1938 and 1941, including Paul Strand's letter recommending Wolcott to Roy Stryker as well as copies of the correspondence between Wolcott and Stryker from her years with the Farm Security Administration, are supported by notes and recollections generated by the artist in the 1980s for public lectures and symposia. Correspondence documents relations between the artist and historians, curators, and gallery owners working on exhibitions and publications regarding her work. Additional correspondence documents the photographer's friendships with her fellow FSA photographers Jack Delano, Ralph Steiner, Arthur Rothstein, and Russell Lee, as well as photographers Gay Block, Jack Fulton, and Linda Conner.
This collection has been arranged into eight series: Correspondence; Biographical Material; Activity File; Interviews; Exhibition Files; Printed Material; Photographic Material, and Audiovisual Material.
The Correspondence series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent name. Included are letters, memorandums, postcards, and invoices with friends, galleries, museums, writers, and curators. A selected index for this series follows. The Biographical material series contains resumes, bios, notes, receipts, and artifacts from Wolcott's life. It also contains a medallion from the Allen F. Hawley Society at Pomona College in Claremont, California (given to all first time annuity and trust donors who make a significant monetary contribution to the college)
The Activity files series is divided between lecture material and reference material that Wolcott collected over her life.
The Interview series are made up of transcripts of various interviews with Walcott.
The Exhibition Files contain announcements and other ephemera from exhibitions that showed Wolcott's work and shows dedicated to other photographers, with some notes from Marion.
The Printed materials series includes exhibition reviews and notes on photography and FSA. As well as materials for projects by others about Wolcott or the FSA. The Photographic material series is mainly pictures of Wolcott by others and an inventory of her prints The Audiovisual series is made up of seven ¾ inch videotapes from NBC’s Today Show of interviews with Wolcott.
- circa 1938-1990
- Wolcott, Marion Post (Person)
Language of Materials
Material in English
Conditions Governing Access
To access materials from this collection, please contact CCP-RefDesk@email.arizona.edu
Conditions Governing Use
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from the copyright owner (which could be the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates or literary executors) prior to any copyright-protected uses of the collection.
The user agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Center of Creative Photography, including its officers, employees, and agents, from and against all claims made relating to copyright or other intellectual property infringement
Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographer Marion Post Wolcott was born in Montclair, New Jersey on June 7, 1910. After graduating from high school, Wolcott traveled to Paris to study dance; later, she studied child psychology in Vienna, where she met photographer Trude Fleischmann. Fleischmann encouraged Wolcott to pursue her photography professionally, and recommended the small Rolleiflex camera she used later during her FSA years. Upon returning to the states, she landed a cover on New York Times magazine and joined the New York Photo League, where she met Ralph Steiner and Paul Strand. Wolcott briefly worked for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, where her assignments focused on fashion and society events for women. Steiner presented her work to FSA head, Roy Stryker, and wrote letters of recommendation for Wolcott alongside Strand after learning of her dissatisfaction at the Bulletin. Throughout her employment with FSA from 1938 to 1941, she produced a body of work totaling more than 100,000 images shot in New England, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, and Mississippi. Wolcott’s work juxtaposed the lives of the wealthy at regular sporting and social events against the Dust Bowl of the South and the migrant farmworkers that inhabited those barren lands. She met Lee Wolcott in 1941 while visiting friends during a break from FSA, marrying soon after. Despite the time’s traditional focus on the husband’s career, she photographed many places she traveled with Lee, including Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and India. Wolcott photographed Native American children in New Mexico and 1970s counterculture in Isla Vista and Mendocino, California, but never produced a professional body of work after her employment with FSA. Wolcott assumed the roles of wife, mother, and grandmother in Santa Barbara, California until her death in 1990.
6.16 Linear Feet
5.02 Cubic Feet
Metadata Rights Declarations
- License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.
Papers, circa 1938-1990, of Marion Post Wolcott (1910-1990), photographer. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence and reference material compiled by Wolcott during the last decade of her life. The collection also includes photocopies of correspondence between Wolcott and Roy Stryker, Director of the Historical Section of the Farm Security Administration, from 1938 to 1941. The originals of these letters are in the collection of the Photographic Archives at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
The Collection is arranged into the following series:
Series 1: Correspondence
- Selected Index to Correspondence
Series 2: Biographical Material
Series 3: Activity files
- Subseries 1: Lecture material
- Subseries 2: Reference material
Series 4: Interviews
Series 5: Exhibition Files
Series 6: Printed Material
Series 7: Photographic Material
Series 8: Audiovisual Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was acquired as a gift from Marion Post and Lee Wolcott in 1988 and 1990, and Robin Moore, Wolcott’s granddaughter, in 2005.
The collection was processed in 1991 by Louise Stover. The finding aid was updated by Caroline Ross in 2018 and completed by Alexis Peregoy in 2019. The finding aid was updated again by Tai Huesgen in 2020. Updated in 2023 by Elias Larralde [processed boxes 9 and 10, created new finding aid structure to meet standards]
- Marion Post Wolcott collection circa 1938-1990
- Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff
- © 2020
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Based On Dacs (Describing Archives: A Content Standard)
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid encoded in English
Part of the Center for Creative Photography Archives Repository
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