Delivering Mail in Rowan County, Kentucky

Circa 1940

Photographs by Marion Post Wolcott

(Library of Congress Collection)

Marion Post (later Marion Post Wolcott) was born in New Jersey. Her parents split up and she was sent to boarding school, spending time at home with her mother in Greenwich Village when not at school. Here she met many artists and musicians and became interested in dance.

She trained as a teacher, and went to work in a small town in Massachusetts. Here she saw the reality of the Depression and the problems of the poor. When the school closed she went to Europe to study with her sister Helen. Helen was studying with Trude Fleischmann, a Viennese photographer. Marion showed Trude some of her photographs and was told to stick at photography.

While in Vienna she saw some of the Nazi attacks on the Jewish population and was horrified. Soon she and her sister had to return to America for safety. She went back to teaching but also continued her photography and became involved in the anti-fascist movement. At the New York Photo League she met Ralph Steiner and Paul Strand who encouraged her. When she found that the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin kept sending her to do 'ladies stories', Ralph Steiner took her portfolio to show Roy Stryker, head of the Farm Security Administration, and Paul Strand wrote a letter of recommendation. Stryker was impressed by her work and hired her immediately.

Her photographs for the FSA often explore the political aspects of poverty and deprivation. They also often find humor in the situations she encountered. Her work is some of the finest in the extensive archive. These photographs were taken in Rowan County around 1940.

In 1941 she met Lee Wolcott. When she had finished her assignments for the FSA she married him and had to fit in her photography around raising a family and a great deal of traveling and living overseas.

These photographs show a simpler time in Rowan County when mail was delivered by horse back. These photographs were taken over sixty years ago. If you know the location or any of the persons in these photographs, please contact the webmaster.



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