Marion Post Wolcott was a talented American photographer. She was born in Montclair, New Jersey, educated at the New School for Social Research, New York University, and the University of Vienna. After graduating in 1932, she attended workshops with Ralph Steiner in New York to pursue a career in photography. By 1936, she was a freelance photographer for magazines including Life, Fortune, and others. In 1937, she joined the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin staff as a photographer
During the Great Depression, Marion Post Wolcott worked as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration, documenting deprivation and poverty. Post’s photographs for the FSA often explore the political aspects of poverty and deprivation. During Franklin Roosevelt’s administration, Post met Leon Oliver Wolcott, deputy director of war relations for the United States Department of Agriculture. They married, and Marion Post Wolcott continued her work for the FSA until she resigned in February 1942. While raising a family, traveling, and living overseas, Wolcott struggled to fit photography into her schedule.
You see, I guess I believed back then, or was supposed to believe, that my place was in the home, that I couldn’t do both, you know, be a photographer, a would-be artist, and try to raise children. It just wasn’t as easy in those days.Mario told biographer Paul Hendrickson, who questioned the brevity of her career.
They settled outside Washington, D.C. Over the next ten years, they owned three different farms and had two more children, Linda and Mike. Wolcott sometimes felt overwhelmed with the chaos of the household and her responsibilities as a parent. The 1970s saw a renewed interest among scholars in Post Wolcott’s images, prompting her own interest in photography. She mounted her first solo exhibition in California in 1978, and her photographs were collected by the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1980s. Wolcott’s work is archived at the Library of Congress and at the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography. Wolcott died of lung cancer on November 24, 1999.
Marion Post Wolcott took these amazing historical photos during WWII as part of her documentation of everyday American life.