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Marion Palfi slide collection

 Collection — Container: 1 Box
Identifier: 438

Scope and Contents

The Marion Palfi slide collection contains 135 full-color, 35-millimeter slides of photographs taken of New York, (N.Y.) and locations throughout the American South in 1945 before the end of World War II.

The photographs capture a diverse spectrum of the population and of American life toward the end of the Second World War. The collection features African American servicemen in uniform, as well as photographs of African Americans working in a wartime factory plant. New York's Harlem neighborhood is also displayed prominently in the slide collection. Scenes of Harlem buildings and residents, as well as of building entrances, including the now defunct Sydenham Hospital, were immortalized by Palfi's lens. Other New York buildings that Palfi photographed include: City College of New York, the Columbia University Library, and New York Hospital. Palfi also photographed New York City bus drivers and other urban scenes, such as children at a playground.

Aspects of social and economic life in the mid-1940s are apparent throughout the slides. Throngs of people waiting in line for jobs at an employment office, as well as slides of housing in poor areas, stress the economic disparity of life in 1945. Slides of "Whites Only" segregation signs on storefronts call attention to the racial discrimination of the Jim Crow South. Life for southern African Americans is evident in photos of farming, church schools, laborers, and country scenes.

Arrangement of the collection folders mirror the slide boxes in which the slides were originally placed. Two sets of preservation duplicates are stored with the collection.


  • Created: 1945
  • Other: Date acquired: 04/01/1989


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.


0.40 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Arrangement of the collection folders mirror the slide boxes in which the slides were originally placed. Two sets of preservation duplicates are stored with the collection.

Source of Acquisition


Existence and Location of Originals

There are two sets of preservation duplicates housed with the collection.

Related Materials

Other collections at the Amistad Research Center containing works or information about Palfi include: Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries records, American Missionary Association archives addenda; Ruth Morton scrapbook; Frederick Leslie Brownlee papers. The Center for Creative Photography (University of Arizona) holds a large collection of Palfi's photographs, as well as her personal papers.

Related Publications


Arkatov, Janice, "Lives of Martin Magner: Fame in Europe, TV Pioneer and Active Director," Los Angeles Times, February 19, 1989, accessed May 28, 2013,

Lai, Lawrence, "The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League," ABC News, February 2, 2012, accessed May 28, 2013,


Codrescu, Andrei and Terence Pitts, Reframing America. Tucson: Center for Creative Photography, 1995.

Palfi, Marion, Invisible in America: An Exhibition of Photographs by Marion Palfi. St. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Museum of Art, 1973.

Palfi, Marion. Suffer Little Children. New York: Oceana Publications, 1952.

Rule, Amy and Nancy Solomon, eds., Original Sources: Art and Archives at the Center for Creative Photography. Tuscon: Center for Creative Photography The University of Arizona, 2002.

Processing Information

Collection processed May 2013.

Marion Palfi slide collection
Lorraine Rossi
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Amistad Research Center Repository

6823 Saint Charles Avenue
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
New Orleans LA 70118 US
(504) 862-3222