To The City

Urban Photographs of the New Deal

Julia L. Foulkes
Book Cover

PB: $28.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-998-9
Publication: Jan 11

HC: $81.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-997-2
Publication: Jan 11

Ebook: $28.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-999-6

142 pages
6 x 9
101 halftones

New Deal photographs reveal the inexorable "pull of the city" even as they lament the demise of rural America

Read the Introduction (pdf).


In the 1930s and 1940s, as the United States moved from a rural to an urban nation, the pull of the city was irrepressible. It was so strong that even a photographic mission designed to record the essence of rural America could not help but capture the energy of urbanization too. To the City showcases over 100 photographs from the Farm Security Administration (FSA) project along with extracts from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) guidebooks and oral histories, to convey the detail and dimensions of that transformation. This artfully grouped collection of photographs includes magnificent images by notable photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Gordon Parks, among many others. Foulkes organizes this history of Americana into five themes: Intersection; Traffic; High Life and Low Life; The City in the Country; and Citizens to illuminate the changes in habits, landscapes, and aspirations that the march to cities encompassed. As the rural past holds symbolic sway and the suburb presents demographic force, the urban portion of our history—why and how cities have been a destination for hope—recedes from view. To the City is a thoughtful, engaging reminder.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Intersection Photo Gallery 2. Traffic Photo Gallery 3. High Life and Low Life Photo Gallery 4. The City in the Country Photo Gallery 5. Citizens Photo Gallery Notes Index

About the Author(s)

Julia L. Foulkes is an Associate Professor of History at The New School and the author of Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey. With an interest in the broad impact of the arts, she has served as an advisor for the PBS documentary Free to Dance and various arts organizations, and edited a journal volume on "The Arts in Place."


In the Series

  • Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy edited by David Stradling, Larry Bennett, and Davarian Baldwin

    The Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy Series, edited by David Stradling, Larry Bennett, and Davarian Baldwin, was founded by the late Zane L. Miller to publish books that examine past and contemporary cities, focusing on cultural and social issues. The editors seek proposals that analyze processes of urban change relevant to the future of cities and their metropolitan regions, and that examine urban and regional planning, environmental issues, and urban policy studies, thus contributing to ongoing debates.