CROSS-COUNTRY CHRONICLE Catherine Ryan on Gloucester, MA in landmark FSA / OWI documentary photographs Part 2 Arthur Rothstein

American Photographer ARTHUR ROTHSTEIN (1915-1985)19 FSA photos in Gloucester, MA, September 1937
Joey recently featured Wallflowers, by Gordon Parks on GMG which reminded me of the road less traveled within the historic collection of photographs archived at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library. This post is Part 2 in a series on Gloucester images in this legendary Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) collection. You can go back to Part 1 about Gordon Parks and for some background about the program.
Arthur Rothstein is one of Roy Stryker’s elite team of FSA/OWI photographers. There are over 10,000 photos by Rothstein alone in the massive collection. Rothstein became a premier American photo journalist and the Director of LOOK (1947-1971) and Parade magazines.Director Roy Stryker brought recent graduate Arthur Rothstein to WashingtonDC to set up a state of the art dark room for the new Resettlement Administration Historical Section. In his senior year at ColumbiaUniversity, Rothstein had worked with professors Tugwell and Roy Stryker.Rothstein was 20. Stryker had him out in the field almost immediately. The job meant he had to learn how to drive a car.
In May 1936, Rothstein’s South Dakota Badlands drought images caused controversy then, and discussion still. Rothstein’s April 1936 Oklahoma photograph of a father and his two boys fleeing Mother Nature in CimmaronCounty may be the archetypal image of the Dust Bowl.Here are a few examples and flavor of a fraction of Rothstein’s FSA work (broad themes): Mother Nature/Disaster; migrant workers and flight (showing one from MT); Gees Bend; sense of humor.Those images are followed by a few he did in Gloucester. The people are not identified in the Arthur Rothstein Gloucester photos. He’s here in 1937, the same year that the movie adaptation of Captains Courageous is a big hit.

There’s an artist in action, seen from the back. Who is it?

“Migratory workers returning from day’s work. Robstown camp, Texas. Everyday from twenty to thirty cars moving out from the Dakotas pass the Montana Highway Department’s port of entry.”
COLLECTION QUICK FACTS The Farm Security Administration/ Office of War (FSA/OWI)Director throughout = Roy Stryker acting akin to visionary art dealer

Photographers = Pioneers in the field of photo journalism, photography, including Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, and GordonParks

Library of Congress FSA/OWI collection = Nearly 280,000 objects as follows: black and white negatives (170,000+); black and white prints (100,000+); color photographs (1600+). New York Public Library has a substantial collection.

1937 Arthur Rothstein: 10,000+ images (FSA/OWI) / 19 images Gloucester.Mostly rural images. For example 1400+ images in MT and less than 40 total for MA

1942 Gordon Parks: 1600+ (FSA/OWI) / 220+ images Gloucester. Gloucester names to search for: Frank Mineo, the Alden, Vito Cannela, Vito Camella, Vito Coppola, Frank Domingos, Gaspar Favozza, Giacomo Frusteri, Vito Giocione, Pasquale Maniscaleo, Anonio Milietello, Anthony Parisi, Franasco Parisi, Dominic Tello, Antonio Tiaro, Lorenzo Scola, the Catherine C; Mary Machado, Isabell and Joseph Lopez, Dorothy and Macalo Vagos, Irene Vagos, Francis Vagos

1942 Howard Liberman: 700+ (FSA/OWI) / 150+ images Gloucester. Gloucester names to search for: John Ribiera and his wife, the vessel Old Glory There are many portraits and most are not identified. Please help.

1940 Dixon: 350+ (FSA/OWI) / one image of Gloucester; headed the lab in DC

Occasionally when Stryker or the artist considered a photograph a reject, he would punch a hole through the negative.

TIMELINE FOR SOME SPECIFIC IMAGE CONTEXT (primarily pre 1950)1900W.E.B. Du Bois receives a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition for curating and collaborating on a major exhibit featuring 500 photographs displaying the present conditions of African Americans


Along with an extensive visual archive, the FSA team was extremely versed and/or required to study images. One example: Lewis Hine, a NYC school teacher and sociologist who stirred American consciences with his photos. Margaret Sage, the widow of railroad magnate, Russell Sage, established an endowment to research social sciences still active today. Hine’s Ellis Island photographs landed a staff position with the Foundation. His work for them produced their first influential impact: the Pittsburgh Survey. From there, Hines was hired by the National Child Labor Committee and his photographs over the next decade were instrumental in changing child labor laws. Also Stieglitz, Charles White, Paul Strand, and many others.


Russel Smith’s North America, Its People and the Resources, Development, and Prospects of the Continent as an Agricultural, Industrial and Commercial Area


Tugwell with Stryker and Thomas Munro: American Economic Life


Hines was hired to photograph the construction of the EmpireStateBuilding. Ironically, despite his importance and direct influence on future photographers, the arc of his career ends with hard times. He was not included with the FSA hires.. The reception of Hines work declined so much that he was forced to sell his house. MoMA rejected his archives. George Eastman House took them in 1951.


Paul Robeson. Period–International influence.


The continued influence of Margaret Bourke-White. Her professional career took off in 1927. FORTUNE magazine sent her to cover Russia which published Eyes on Russia in 1931.


Huge audience for Mervyn Leroy’s movie I Am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang


FORTUNE magazine sends Margaret Bourke-White to cover the Dust Bowl


Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibits in the US


The Resettlement Administration Historical Section’s photographic project is tasked with documenting the crisis state of rural poverty. The government hires Roy Stryker. Stryker hires the photographers. Many other Federal creative arts programs.


The government sends Dorothea Lange to photograph migrant farm workers in CA. Lange, Walker Evans and Ben Shahn already established careers when hired for the FSA but not household names.


Berenice Abbott Changing New York


In November, LIFE magazine’s large-scale, photo dominant iteration is first published. LIFE sold more than 13 million copies per week


The Plow that Broke the Plains, Pare Lorentz with Pauls Strand, Steiner, others


The movie adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Captain’s Courageous is a huge hit.


FSA/OWI Arthur Rothstein is sent to Gloucester. Depression era movie audiences purchased 60 million tickets per week.


LOOK magazine starts publishing bi-weekly


You Have Seen Their Faces, photo-book collaboration by Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke White is wildly successful so much so that it pushes back the publication of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans (1941)


The Resettlement Administration’s Historic Section folds into the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Stryker expands this photographic survey of Depression Era America, while publicizing the work of the FSA


Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is published in 1937. The movie adaptation opens 1939.


FSA group exhibit at the International Photographic Salon, Grand Central Palace, New York featured a selection of bleak but respectful images. Reviews felt that the photographers avoided negative stereotypes.

The tone of the exhibit was so influential that it was oft repeated. Stryker felt that well over ½ the images in the collection were affirmative and positive.


Richard Wright hired for the WPA Writers Project guidebook for New York and wrote the part on Harlem. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship and was able to finish Native Son.


Architectural Forum introduces Frank Lloyd Wright to American audiences. Managing Editor Ruth Goodhue was the first female at the head of any Time Inc publication, and a colleague of Stryker’s. Stryker credits RUTH GOODHUE* for propelling his encyclopedic quest to catalogue every day life with what sounds now like “a distinct sense of place”, 2014 placemaking terms. Her advice to Stryker echoes the later work of Jane Jacobs** “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, the Main Street movement, and our current cultural district designations. Thirty years later Stryker credited numerous people, but he repeats his credit to Goodhue several times. Looking back, by the time 1940 rolls along, it’s Stryker’s creed. It’s thrilling how one inspirational comment can engender such a unique mobilization!


An American Exodus, photo book collaboration by Dorothea Lange and Taylor


FSA photos exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City


Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath is published and is phenomenally successful. The 1940 movie adaptation is a blockbuster, too.


Richard Wright and Edwin Rosskam produce Twelve Million Black Voices. Migration coverage went to the city.


Movies Citizen Kane (trailer 1940) and How Green Was My Valley


Artists for Victory


Gordon Parks’ position within Stryker’s department is underwritten with the support of a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship. Rosenwald was a partner in Sears Roebuck. His foundation operated from 1917-1948 with the mandate to focus on the well-being of mankind and with a particular education outreach for African Americans. The endowment was to be spent down completely and it’s estimated that 70 million was given. Of particular note, from 1928-1948 open-ended grants were given to African American writers, researches, and intellectuals and the list is a Who’s Who of 1930s and 1940s. This is precisely the type awarded to Gordon Parks so that he could work at the famous FSA program.


Gordon Parks in Gloucester May and June. Howard Liberman in Gloucester, September.


May Four Freedoms Day; October 20 America in the War exhibits


FSA absorbed by the Office of War Information (OWI), focus shifts to the domestic impact of WWII


Edward Steichen’s Family of Man exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art includes many of the photos


The Bitter Years 1935-1941: Rural America Seen by Photographers of the FSA

Edward Steichen’s last and seminal exhibit as Director of the Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to Stryker and the FSA photographers. As with other FSA themed exhibits, photographs by Gordon Parks– and many other artists–were not included, still aren’t included.


Gees Bend quilts

*Roy Stryker on Ruth Goodhue

“Ruth Goodhue was the managing editor of “Architectural Forum.” Her father designed the very famous Nebraska capitol, a very unusual building. She was another one on my circuit. But I stopped to have breakfast with her, she was over at that time in the Chrysler Building with the Life complex there and I had breakfast with her and I went up to her office. She was the one that said — I’ll tell you this story because it’s how I reacted so often — “Roy Stryker, I wonder if all towns of 5,000 are alike, because they have the same boiler plate, they have the same radio programs, and so on?” Well, I had to go on a trip and when I got back I had an outline on small towns.” Also:

“She was a charming woman and very bright and very proactive. And she said to me, “Are all little towns in America alike because they read the same boiler plate, listen to the same radios on the air, and because they eat the same breakfast food?” Proactive questions, just what I needed. I have a very bad habit of writing memos to myself; I love to put things down, write a page after page and take it home. By the time I got back to Washington, the photographers hadn’t been taking pictures of the little towns they went through. So then there grew an outline — a perfect bombardment of twenty-five pages, I guess. Did you stay overnight? Let’s begin to cover the main street of America, you know, just to see what the heck occurs on it.”

**Jane Jacobs

As writer and associate editor of The Iron Age, Jane Jacobs published “30,000 Unemployed and 7000 Empty Houses in Scranton, NeglectedCity”, an article which brought attention to her home town. This led to more freelance work and in 1943 a job writing features for the US Office of War Information (OWI). After 1945 and into the 1950s, Jacobs wrote and was editor for the State Department’s magazine branch, primarily for Amerika Illustrated, a Russian language magazine. In the public sector she went on to Architectural Forum. I wonder if Goodhue was a mentor for Jacobs or if they had any overlap. I certainly consider the FSA/OWI files as formative for her ideas — and Goodhue influenced that program.

Gloucester connections:

Charles Olson

In New York City 1937, Charles Olson was hired by the government to work for the American Council of Nationalities Services, an agency that offered support programs for immigrants and refugees. He also wrote for the Office of War Information from 1942 – May of 1944. The timing overlaps with Jane Jacobs somewhat. Gloucester writer, Edward Dahlberg, introduced Olson to Alfred Stieglitz in New York City back in 1937.

Goodhue and Cram

Ruth Goodhue’s father, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, was a famous architect. Through his friendships with Ernest Fenollosa of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and others in the orb of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts (1897), he met architect Ralph Adams Cram. Goodhue and Cram partnered to form a successful architectural firm, in business together for over twenty years. They had great solo careers, too.

Cram designed the Atwood Home, Gallery-on-the-Moors, in East Gloucester, and preliminary plans for the towers on Hammond Sr’s property, and the inspiration or more for Stillington Hall and others.

-Catherine Ryan / all photos Library of Congress, FSA/OWI black and white photography collection


Recipe for Homemade Furniture Polish

The following recipe was published in 2010 and is on my website; the post also includes a number of uses for vinegar and water formuals for use in your home and garden (including cleaning bird feeders and deterrent to Winter Moths). Click to read full post.  Here’s a shortcut to the recipe:

After only a very little experimenting the following is a recipe with which I am quite satisfied:

4 parts canola oil (or olive oil)

2 parts fresh lemon juice

2 parts white distilled vinegar

Optional: a few drops of almond and/or lemon extract

Combine all ingredients and pour into a recycled squeeze-bottle container (a plastic mustard squirt bottle, for example). The almond and lemon oil extracts are optional and only added because they smell super delicious. Shake vigorously before each use. Pour a small amount onto a clean, soft cloth (thinly-worn pure cotton t-shirt). Apply in the direction of the grain of the wood. Let the mixture soak in for a few minutes, then wipe and polish with a dry, soft cloth. I have satisfactorily used this recipe on everything from hundred year-old burled walnut veneers to contemporary pieces of fruitwood and cherry wood. Make the polish in small batches and store any remaining for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. With caution, first try this formula in an inconspicuous area.

winter-moth-operophtera-brumataWinter Moth (Operophtera brumata)

Cape Ann Ceramics Festival Fundraiser at Cape Ann Community Cinema

cape ann ceramics festival fundraiser

What: Cape Ann Ceramics Festival Special Film Showing – “To Spring from the Hand: The Life and Work of Paulus Berensohn” + Soup & Dessert Benefit 

When: Sunday, March 9, 2014, 1:30pm, doors open at 1:00
Where: Cape Ann Community Cinema, 21 Main St., Gloucester, MA
Who: Open to the public. Reservations recommended at
Cost: General Admission $10, Students/Seniors $8.50, Cinema Members $7.00
GLOUCESTER, Mass. – The Cape Ann Ceramics Festival in association with Rocky Neck Art Colony, seARTS Cape Ann and the Cape Ann Community Cinema is pleased to present an inspiring documentary film about the life of Paulus Berensohn, acclaimed craft artist, educator and author. His book “Finding One’s Way with Clay,” now in its 42nd printing is a staple on the bookshelves of ceramic artists worldwide. Paulus began his career on the stage as a dancer, studying with greats, Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham, and appearing in major Broadway productions. In keeping with Paulus personal philosophy, the ticket proceeds will be donated to Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artists’ Emergency Resources (CERF+) which supports the careers of craft artists throughout the United States. Soup & dessert proceeds to benefit CACF and RNAC. The film will be followed by a Q&A call with the filmmaker, Neil Lawrence, on Skype from Australia.

Jenny Rangan
Cape Ann Ceramics Festival

Mardi Gras is tomorrow: Celebrate @ Lat 43 and help send Y Teens on their service trip to New Orleans & the Navajo Nation

Good food, good music, good cause.  What more could you want?  How about a chance to win 4 tickets to see Grammy-winner Charles Neville (of the Neville Brothers) with Henri Smith and his 8 piece band at the Larcom Theatre in Beverly on Friday night? That’s right folks … these tickets will be in tomorrow’s raffle at Lat 43.  So come on down to Lat 43 for some good food, good music, good fun and a chance to win good tickets — all for a great cause!


New SingerSongwriterShuffle begins this Thursday @ Giuseppe’s Ristorante, Gloucester, Ma. Start planning your week!! This Thursday, our 7th SingerSongwriterShuffle begins!!!! 7-10pm

singersongwritershuffle 3.6.2014

New SingerSongwriterShuffle begins this Thursday @ Giuseppe’s Ristorante, Gloucester, Ma
Start planning your week!! This Thursday, our 7th SingerSongwriterShuffle begins!!!! 7-10pm Here is the lineup!

7:10-7:30 Matt Minigell
7:35-7:55 Toni Ann Enes
8:00-8:20 Satch Kerans
8:25-8:45 Charlee Bianchini
8:50-9:10 Allen Estes
9:15-9:35 Penni Hart/Tony Trites (Folkapotamus)
9:40-10:00 John Jerome

TONIGHT 7PM: Green Crab Forum – from Sen. Tarr

This just in from Senator Tarr’s office:

Green Crab Forum Offers Informative Presentation on Invasive Species

Sen. Tarr, Cape Ann Lawmakers, Constable Grundstrom, and DMF
Host March 3rd Forum

 Boston– Since the early 1800s, the carcinus maenas, or more commonly known as green crabs, have been invading the waters off the coast of Massachusetts and New England harming native habitats as it continues to colonize.  This invasive species has grown so rapidly over the years that it is now threatening marine wildfire, including fisheries that are harvested by local fishermen.  If left unchecked, the devastating path created by the green crab population will not only have a lasting effect on oceanic life, but also on local economies.

Due to the dire situation, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), State Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich), and State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester) have joined with Rowley Shellfish Constable Jack Grundstrom, and the Division of Marine Fisheries to offer a special open to the public Green Crab Forum on Monday, March 3rd to discuss the very real threat of green crabs.

Who:     Senator Bruce Tarr, Shellfish Constable Jack Grundstrom, and Division of Marine Fisheries

What:   Open to the public Green Crab Forum

Where: Anniquam River Marine Fisheries Field Station
30 Emerson Ave.
Gloucester, MA 01930

When: Monday, March 3rd

“Green crabs pose a strong and growing threat to our shellfish resources, our shellfish industry, and the integrity and sustainability of our marshes and wetlands,” said Senator Tarr.  “Confronting that threat is going to take a comprehensive effort and innovation.”

Green crabs, which are originally from Europe, feed normally on shellfish such as blue mussels and soft-shell clams.  Due to the recent acceleration in size, the invasive species has become destructive to the survival of native species.  In order to prevent further damage to the local marine habitat, planning and action must be taken immediately in a coordinated and responsible fashion.

Some highlights of the evening’s agenda include:

•             A brief history of the green crab species;

•             Impacts caused by the green crab; and

•             Controlling the green crab threat.

“In order to prevent further destruction of our fragile marine ecosystem from the invasive green crabs, we as a region need to work together to protect the natural habitat and the shellfish industry,” said Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich).

“This forum is important so we can learn more about the eco-system and of natural predators not just the effects of overfishing,” said Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester).

Put me in, Coach! Psyched to be a part of the team!

So, I’m beyond excited, and kind of flattered, that Joey has asked me to be a regular contributor to this amazing little thing he has going on called Good Morning Gloucester.  I have stalked the blog for quite a while now, as my charming husband once pointed out to Joey during a chance encounter (thanks for that, honey).  My stalking my have started because, let’s be honest, Joey is easy on the eyes, but it has grown to something  much more.  (Just seeing if you’re paying attention).  Joey has been kind enough to let me crash the party and contribute here and there, but for the most part, I have admired from afar the wisdom, the wit, and the love that the GMG contributors share for this tremendous community.  I love the diversity, the honesty, and the intelligence of both the contributors and the followers!  That having been said, I also love the absurdity, the randomness, and the widely inappropriateness that often slithers in.

Born and raised on the North Shore, primarily Hamilton, I moved to Gloucester (the hometown of both of my parents) just after college graduation. My husband, two young sons, and I now live in Rockport and I consider myself blessed to be raising the boys in such an amazing community. As is probably true for many of you, my family and my career somewhat define me and I wouldn’t change that for a thing, but I’m also pretty passionate about selfishly maintaining “me time” to pursue some other things that keep me feeling like, well, me.  I’m psyched to have the blog be one of those things!

If you listened to the most recent podcast, you heard Joey introduce me….and also mention a couple of times that I like to eat and drink.  Jerk.  Okay, well, he didn’t say it exactly like that, but still…

So, what better way to further introduce myself than by showing you one of my favorite things to eat….and one of my favorite things to drink.

Schofferhofer:  Super Yummy Grapefruit beer. You're going to have to trust me on this and not rule it out.
Schofferhofer: Super Yummy Grapefruit beer. You’re going to have to trust me on this and not rule it out.
Veggie Panini with Sweet Potato Fries from the Seaport Grille. Come on!  So crazy good.
Veggie Panini with Sweet Potato Fries from the Seaport Grille. Come on! So crazy good.

 Seaport Grille Menu

Here’s the podcast we taped yesterday for the second time after Joey inadvertently forgot to press the record button the first time around (dumbass)-

podcasticon1 (1)

St. Joseph Altar Construction


Last night’s construction project and preparation’s leading up to it

A Special thank you to my Husband Barry, son BJ, daughter Amanda, mother Pat, Aunt Gina Ciaramitaro, and Cumnares, Andrea Butler, & Christie Guarrasi DaSilva for all their hard work pulling this huge project together and making it fun!

For a look at more behind the scenes  click see more… Continue reading “St. Joseph Altar Construction”

More from our friend Fred’s Diary

The Hospital:

Be honest with your doctor and other health care professionals. They all want to help you. Throw all your modesty out the window. You’ll be treated with respect.

Ask questions. I not only wanted to know about my own treatment, and was curious about the tools and techniques being used.

Do what you can to make your stay comfortable. Bring sweat pants, long and short sleeve t-shirts, socks, a cell phone, and non-perishable snacks. If you’re confined to bed, bring a 24-inch grabber to extend your reach.

I‘ve found that the hospital environment can be disorienting, especially if medications are involved. One day in early February I awoke at what I thought was 6 am, only to realize it was 6 pm, and I had only slept for an hour! Currently, I’m taking six different medications, and a total of ten pills per day (some are administered twice daily). You may want to invest in a pill chopper.

Monday March 3rd 2014 Cape Ann Weather..

Marine Forecast …
Small Craft Advisory !
Mon: NW winds 15 to 20 kt with gusts up to 25 kt. Seas 3 to 5 ft. Light freezing spray likely. A chance of snow. Vsby 1 to 3 nm.

Mon Night: NW winds 15 to 20 kt…diminishing to 10 to 15 kt after midnight. Seas 2 to 4 ft.
Monday overcast few flurries or snow showers first thing in the morning possible highs in the low to mid 20’s. Midday sunny breaks and sunshine . North wind 10-20mph… Monday Night very cold low around 10 above !
Tuesday through Friday sun / clouds with temps in the 20’s to lower 40’s Friday . Few bouts of snow showers possible as well .. Lows in the teens to mid 20’s late week.. Ok enjoy you’re Monday … Thanks for viewing …
Peter Lovasco