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Oral history interview with Edwin and Louise Rosskam, 1965 August 3

Rosskam, Edwin, 1903-1985



Collection Information

Size: 70 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 49 min.

Summary: An interview of Edwin and Louise Rosskam conducted 1965 August 3, by Richard Doud, for the Archives of American Art, at their home, in Roosevelt, N.J.
Edwin Rosskam speaks of his background and youth in Germany; coming to the United States; his education in painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the early development of his interest in photography; getting his photojournalism career started; joining the Farm Security Administration and working under Roy Stryker; the view of America presented by the work produced by the FSA; photography exhibits he has done; the effect upon him of the people he met and photographed during his FSA career; the political impact of the FSA; applications and uses of the photographs produced by the FSA; the project's strengths and weaknesses; books and other projects he has contributed to. He recalls Roy Stryker, Dorothea Lange, Marion Post Wolcott, John Vachon, and the novelist Richard Wright. Louise Rosskam discusses the impact upon her of the people who were photographed, propagandistic aspects of the work, and the impact of the FSA project on photojournalism.

Biographical/Historical Note

Edwin (1903-1985) and Louis Rosskam (1910-2003) were photographers from Roosevelt, N.J.


This interview conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Language Note

English .


Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.

How to Use This Collection

Transcript available on line.

Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Edwin and Louise Rosskam, 1965 August 3. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.