Hidden Gem of a Dorothea Lange Collection


For several years I'd heard that there was a great collection of Dorothea Lange images at the New York Public Library and I finally decided to go take a look.  

Past the lions, up the huge marble steps, and through some impressive locked doors to get to the collection. Thankfully once the doors were swung open, and boxes of the collection laid out on my table, no white gloves required for looking through the images.

I was totally blown away by the collection. Dorothea sent her government photographs when she worked for the F.S.A. in to Roy Stryker in Washington DC. At one point it looked like the collection might be disbanded, so as a preemptive move Stryker donated armfuls of his best photographs to the New York Public Library. They have F.S.A. images that the Library of Congress doesn't have.

California, 1936. Sorry about the Mylar reflection.   

California, 1936. Sorry about the Mylar reflection.   

There are also beautiful sets of images from her magazine work, and from her foreign travels.

Dorothea had a love of a beautiful print, and these are astonishingly gorgeous prints. Rich, luminous, with incredible tones. And on the back of many of the images are her field notes. 


My thanks to curator Stephen Pinson, director, and Elizabeth Cronin, assistant curator, for an amazing afternoon.