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Marion Post Wolcott collection

Identifier: AG 114

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 four series: Correspondence; Activity files; Biographical reference material; and Accruals. The artist's original filing system has been followed as closely as possible.

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 Activity files series is divided into Writings about Wolcott, Book projects, Exhibitions, Lectures, and Interviews. Included are correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, articles, exhibition announcements, lecture notes, interviews, and other materials that document Wolcott’s various activities.

The Biographical reference material series is divided into Biographical material, Lecture material, Reference material, and Clippings. The included information was compiled by Wolcott for personal reference. The Clippings subseries includes exhibition reviews and notes on photography and FSA.

The Accruals series is composed of materials received in 2005 and 2012 and is currently unprocessed. It 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) and seven ¾ inch videotapes from NBC’s Today Show of interviews with Wolcott.


  • circa 1938-1990


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

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

Biographical Note

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 Linear 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 not fully processed.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence, n.d., 1960-1990, 3 boxes

  1. Selected Index to Correspondence

Series 2: Activity files, n.d., 1976-1989, 3 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Writings about Wolcott, 1988, 2 folders
  2. Subseries 2: Book projects, n.d., 1976-1989, 12 folders
  3. Subseries 3: Exhibitions, n.d., 3 folders
  4. Subseries 4: Interviews, n.d., 1978-1989, 6 folders

Series 3: Biographical material, n.d., circa 1938-1941, circa 1976-1990, 3 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Biographical material, n.d., circa 1976, 1986, 8 folders
  2. Subseries 2: Lecture material, n.d., 1 box
  3. Subseries 3: Reference material, n.d., circa 1938-1941, 1986, 1 box
  4. Subseries 4: Clippings, circa 1976-1990, 3 folders

Series 4: Accruals,

  1. n.d., 1 box

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.

Processing Information

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.

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

Repository Details

Part of the Center for Creative Photography Archives Repository

1030 N. Olive RD
Tucson Arizona 85721 United States