Americans Working Together – Works by Marion Post Wolcott

June 1, 2020

June 1, 2020:  Letter to our Patrons & Friends – Americans Working Together

The family of MARION POST WOLCOTT (American, 1910-1990) approached us with a very thoughtful idea.  Together, with G. Gibson Projects, we would like to donate 20% of sales from a selection from Marion’s work to the NAACP or the Black Lives Matter organization.

Please scroll to the bottom of this page to see selected images.

Beginning in September of 1938, Marion Post Wolcott spent three and a half years photographing in New England, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Washington DC, Alabama, and Mississippi. Unique among the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographers, Wolcott showed the extremes of the country’s rich and poor in the late 30’s, its race relations, and the fertile land formed with government assistance, which revealed the benefits of federal subsidies. Marion Post Wolcott’s FSA work has been widely collected, exhibited and published, and is included in the permanent collections of most major museums in the United States.

From 1938 through 1942 she produced more than 9,000 photographs for the FSA, mostly in the South, reflecting her many years of social and political involvement, her strength and independence, and her deep sensitivity to the children and families of the less fortunate. Her work for the FSA is known for her contrasting images of the wealthy and the poor, of migrant farmers in their shacks and affluent spectators at the horse races, of the destitute standing in line waiting to be paid, and of the more fortunate being served at a private beach club. Wolcott’s photographs also suggest the political — segregation and discrimination; eroded and worn-out land; dirty, sick, malnourished children; overcrowded schools.

As an FSA documentary photographer, I was committed to changing the attitudes of people by familiarizing America with the plight of the underprivileged, especially in rural America…  FSA photographs shocked and aroused public opinion to increase support for the New Deal policies and projects, and played an important part in the social revolution of the 1930s.
– Marion Post Wolcott

She picked beans with her subjects; she changed their kids’ diapers, and washed their faces.  Why did they allow her into their lives…to get the images that reveal more than an objective document of the times, images that show a connection of spirit, the dignity, pride, despair, and hope  in the faces of these people she cared about, and understood.  They liked her; they knew she cared; they thought that maybe she would, could, help. That the images would get back to others who would, and could, help.  She gave them hope; and, she did what she had to do, with a passion and commitment that kept her on the back road alone for up to a month at a time.
– Linda Wolcott Moore, Marion’s daughter

This online selection is featured on page 12 of The Photograph Collector – Summer Edition 2020 – published by Stephen Perloff.

Marion Post Wolcott, Family on the porch of their home, Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1940, gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches, signed by the artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Family on the porch of their home, Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1940, gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches, signed by the artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Gladys Crimer drying her hands on a paper towel and Berenice Mathis and Edna Law washing theirs in the cleanup corner in the second- and thirtd-grade schoolroom, near Montezuma, Georgia, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Gladys Crimer drying her hands on a paper towel and Berenice Mathis and Edna Law washing theirs in the cleanup corner in the second- and thirtd-grade schoolroom, near Montezuma, Georgia, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Hot lunches for children of agricultural workers in day nursery of Okeechobee Migratory Labor Camp, Belle Glade, FL, 1941, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Hot lunches for children of agricultural workers in day nursery of Okeechobee Migratory Labor Camp, Belle Glade, FL, 1941, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Haircutting in front of general store, Marcella Plantation, Mileston, Mississippi, 1939 gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Haircutting in front of general store, Marcella Plantation, Mileston, Mississippi, 1939 gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, The Whittler, an old man (ex-slave) Camden, Alabama, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, The Whittler, an old man (ex-slave) Camden, Alabama, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Tenant's Daughter in Kitchen of Dilapidated Home, MS, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Tenant's Daughter in Kitchen of Dilapidated Home, MS, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Taking a drink and resting from hoeing cotton, Allen Plantation, an FSA project. Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1941, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Taking a drink and resting from hoeing cotton, Allen Plantation, an FSA project. Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1941, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Men and women working in a field, Bayou Bourdeaux Plantation, Natchitoches, LA, 1940, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Men and women working in a field, Bayou Bourdeaux Plantation, Natchitoches, LA, 1940, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Migrant agricultural workers waiting in line for pay for a day's work, near Belle Glade, Florida, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Migrant agricultural workers waiting in line for pay for a day's work, near Belle Glade, Florida, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Jorena Pettway sorting peas inside her smokehouse. She still has many fruits and vegetables, which she canned last year, on the shelves around her. Gee’s Bend, Alabama, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Jorena Pettway sorting peas inside her smokehouse. She still has many fruits and vegetables, which she canned last year, on the shelves around her. Gee’s Bend, Alabama, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Hanging hands of tobacco in barn to dry, Near Lexington, KY, 1940, gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Hanging hands of tobacco in barn to dry, Near Lexington, KY, 1940, gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Tenant farmer brings his cotton sample to buyer/broker to discuss price, Clarksdale, MS, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Tenant farmer brings his cotton sample to buyer/broker to discuss price, Clarksdale, MS, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Meeting of the colored county land use planning committee to work on country maps, in the school house, Yanceyville, North Carolina, 1940, gelatin silver print, signed, 11 x 14 inches, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Meeting of the colored county land use planning committee to work on country maps, in the school house, Yanceyville, North Carolina, 1940, gelatin silver print, signed, 11 x 14 inches, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Couple Jitterbugging in juke joint, Memphis, Tennessee, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Couple Jitterbugging in juke joint, Memphis, Tennessee, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Gambling in a Juke Joint, A Skin Game, near Moore Hanen, Florida, 1941, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by the artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Gambling in a Juke Joint, A Skin Game, near Moore Hanen, Florida, 1941, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by the artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Gambling with Cotton Money, MS, 1939 gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Gambling with Cotton Money, MS, 1939 gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Migrants playing checkers (with bottle caps), on a juke joint porch after a “freeze-out” of vegetable crops. Near Okeechobee, Florida, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Migrants playing checkers (with bottle caps), on a juke joint porch after a “freeze-out” of vegetable crops. Near Okeechobee, Florida, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Bennie’s grocery store. Sylvania, Georgia, 1939, gelatin silver print, signed, 11 x 14 inches, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Bennie’s grocery store. Sylvania, Georgia, 1939, gelatin silver print, signed, 11 x 14 inches, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Tenant Farmer’s Children, Rickets, NC, 1938 gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Tenant Farmer’s Children, Rickets, NC, 1938 gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, signed by artist, $4000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Fishing in creek near cotton plantations outside Belzoni. Mississippi Delta, Mississippi, 1939, gelatin silver print, signed, 11 x 14 inches, $2500.

Marion Post Wolcott, Fishing in creek near cotton plantations outside Belzoni. Mississippi Delta, Mississippi, 1939, gelatin silver print, signed, 11 x 14 inches, $2500.

Marion Post Wolcott, The daughter of Cube Walker, a tenant purchase client, bringing home their cow from the fields in the evening, Belzoni, Mississippi, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, The daughter of Cube Walker, a tenant purchase client, bringing home their cow from the fields in the evening, Belzoni, Mississippi, 1939, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Worker on John Henry Plantation, LA, 1939, gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches, $3000.

Marion Post Wolcott, Worker on John Henry Plantation, LA, 1939, gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches, $3000.