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Oral history interview with Fred McDarrah, 1971 June 15-July 15

McDarrah, Fred W., 1926-2007



Collection Information

Size: 75 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hrs., 25 min.

Summary: An interview of Fred McDarrah conducted 1971 June 15-July 15, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
McDarrah speaks of his early family life and extreme poverty during the Depression period in Brooklyn; family influence; his first photographic efforts in the 1930s; his U.S. Army service; going to photography school at New York University; life in Greenwich Village in the 1940s and 1950s; his involvement with rock and roll music; getting his work into publications; the comparison between the "hippie" and the "beat" cultures; working as a photojournalist for Village Voice; his techniques and equipment; experiences covering public events; his philosophy on photography and its uses. He recalls Bill Littlefield, Philip Pavia, Cyril Nelson, and The Club.

Biographical/Historical Note

Fred McDarrah (1926-2007) was a photographer from New York, N.Y.


These interviews are part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Fred McDarrah, 1971 June 15-July 15. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.