Beatrice Davis, Clovis, N.M, 1943 (printed 1990)
Jack Delano (American, born Russia, 1914 - 1997)
gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm)
New Mexico Farm Security Administration Collection, Museum purchase with funds from the Pinewood Foundation with additional support from Barbara Erdman, 1990
Jack Delano was born in Kiev, Ukraine and immigrated to Philadelphia with his family in 1923. He began his study of drawing and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and in 1936 first took up photography during study in Europe. Concerned with the human condition and committed to addressing social issues with his photography, he worked for the Farm Security Administration, established in 1935 to support small farmers and restore land and communities damaged by the Depression. Delano, along with a cadre of photographers employed by the FSA, traveled throughout the United States documenting American culture and people, producing images that greatly impacted how both policy-makers and the general public understood the Depression. Delano was also a composer, often combining folk melodies into his classical compositions.
Reflective Questions and Activities:
|E||Describe everything you can about the person in this portrait. Judging from the clothing and background, what do you think is his/her occupation?|
|S||This is a portrait of Beatrice Davis, employed by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad yard to clean out the potash cars. What do you guess is Ms. Davis’ ethnicity? What kinds of opportunities were available to African-Americans in New Mexico at this time? Has this changed? Why?|