Depression Era Photography 1936-1942: The Farm Security Administration Documentation of Rural NM

Thursday Apr 25, 2013

966 Old Church Rd
Corrales, NM 87048

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Presented by photo archivist B.G. (Baldwin) Burr as part of the Corrales Historical Society's Speaker Series.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the plight of the rural poor in America was largely unaddressed. Congress was made up of a majority of urban legislators who felt that those living in rural areas were not as impacted by the depression as urban dwellers. For this reason Rural Relief legislation was seldom proposed, let alone enacted. The head of the Farm Security Administration, Rexford Tugwell, established what came to be known as the Historical Section in 1936, headed by one of Tugwell’s former students from Columbia University, Roy Stryker. Stryker employed some of the finest photographers in America, among them Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Russell Lee, Arnold Rothstein, and John Collier, to document the plight of the rural poor. Lange, Lee, Collier and Rothstein in particular photographed extensively in New Mexico and their work provides a unique pictorial of that era.

Speaker B.G. Burr is back by popular demand for a second talk at the Old San Ysidro Church. He is the contract photo archivist and oral historian at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts and President of the Valencia County Historical Society. Other positions include Sheriff of the Central New Mexico Corral of Westerners International and Secretary of the Historical Society of New Mexico. He is the author of Images of America: Los Lunas, published by Arcadia Publishing, and Southwest by Midwest, the catalog of the exhibition of his photographs at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts.

B.G. first came to New Mexico in 1960 to the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron. This began his love affair with New Mexico and with Southwest history. He returned two more times to the Ranch before leaving his Midwest farm roots in Ohio behind for good, in exchange for life in New Mexico. BG earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History at the University of New Mexico, then did graduate work at UNM in the History of Photography and Museum Practices.

CHS Speaker Series Contact: Jannie Dusseau, 505-890-5583

CHS Publicity Contact: Debbie Clemente, 505-688-4117