September 11

September 11, 2001, archiveSteven Siegel, Oz #2, 1975 (2006.30.43)

Browse ICP’s complete September 11 Archive here. See a selection of Jeff Mermelstein‘s powerful September 11 images here.

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Wash Your Hands!


Margaret Bourke‑White, [Nurse Clara Stull prepares typhoid inoculation for flood victims at refugee aid station at Hikes Grade School, Louisville], 1937 (1648.2005)


W. Eugene Smith, [Nurse‑midwife Maude Callen giving inoculation to little boy], 1951 (993.2005)


John Vachon, Irwinville Farms, Georgia. Inoculation for typhoid in the clinic, 1938 (2009.59.14)



Burton A. Beal, [Letter from Burton Beal in Waterford, Virginia, to Albert Beal in Augusta, Maine], December 2, 1866 (2010.15.8)

In a letter to his father dated December 2, 1866, Burton A. Beal writes about his lengthy sickness and slow recovery from typhoid fever in the small town of Waterford, Virginia, where an outbreak had already claimed more than a dozen lives. He laments the loss of a lucrative job and complains bitterly of a medical bill for $79.50, by which he implies that he is being gouged.

The disease can leave one bedridden anywhere from three to six weeks depending on availability and method of treatment. Early symptoms include fever and abdominal pain. A high fever (typically over 103) and severe and “green” diarrhea occur as the disease gets worse. Some people develop a rash called “rose spots,” which are small red spots on the abdomen and chest. Other symptoms that occur include: abdominal tenderness; agitation; bloody stools; chills; confusion; difficulty paying attention; delirium; fluctuating mood; hallucinations; nosebleeds; severe fatigue; slow, sluggish, lethargic feeling; weakness.

Typhoid fever had a mortality rate of 31.3 per 100,000 up and into the beginning of the 1900s was nearly annihilated by the mid-twentieth century. Increase in medical knowledge, improvements in environmental sanitation, and the implementation of public health programs all contributed to this dramatic shift. Although vaccines against the disease are available and recommended for visitors to developing countries, the most effective prevention method in North America is proper hygiene and sanitation. In other words, wash your hands.

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Robert Doisneau’s Pictures of Women

Perhaps best known for his iconic Parisian image The Kiss by the Town Hall, Robert Doisneau left a photographic legacy filled with warm, humorous, and poetic black-and-white impressions of everyday life in the French capital. The Doisneau photographs in the permanent collection of ICP are largely focused on women. Women in fashion, women on the street, the beauty of women, the hardship of women, but most of all, working women. The collection includes over sixty photographs, a bulk of them covering World War II and its aftermath. Around the world, throughout history, women in the workforce have gone largely undocumented, and these Doisneau images therefore provide valuable insight into war and post-war Paris reality.

There are everyday wartime images like this one of a peaceful session at the hairdresser’s. It suggests that the days pass and that life, despite the occupation and its horrors, continues.

donisneau_robert_242_2003Robert Doisneau, [Hairdresser], ca. 1944 (242.2003)

Then there are the women facing the reality and brutality of the war. The women in this photo have a responsibility on their shoulders: to alleviate the suffering of women in their respective countries. Their expressions showcase this harsh reality. This photograph was taken in 1945 during the meeting of the Congress of the Union of French Women. Most likely it was shot at the founding congress of The Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) on November 26-30, 1945, where some 850 women from forty countries met.

doisneau_robert_1425_2005Robert Doisneau, [Mme Popova, chief of Soviet delegation; La Pasionaria, representing women of Republican Spain; Mlle Riabov, bombardier of Soviet night command fighters, Congress of Union of French Women], 1945 (1425.2005)

The difficult aftermath of the war was sometimes lost in the joy and celebration of liberation. There was no clearer example of the horrors of war than the survivors from Hitler’s concentration camps. In this tender yet confrontational portrait, Germain Pican’s arm speaks volumes.

doisneau_robert_1424_2005Robert Doisneau, [Germain Pican displaying number tattoo received at Auschwitz, Congress of Union of French Women], 1945 (1424.2005)

This photograph was taken in 1972, a year that in many ways proved to be the beginning of the end of the Vietnam War. The four helicopters in formation over Aristide Maillol’s sculpture of the Three Graces at once demonstrates the vulnerability and the harshness of human kind. It is not stated in the photographic records if Doisneau really had the Vietnam War in mind shooting this image, but I for one, would like to think so.

doisneau_robert_169_1981Robert Doisneau, Les Helicopteres, 1972 (169.1981)

To end on a lighter note: Doisneau takes a keen interest in the photographer and the photograph. In the ICP collection there are a number of images of noted fashion photographer Louse Dahl-Wolfe working with Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow. In some, they are working with a model on fashion shoot sets in studios or on the street, and then there is this unique and intimate photo: three professional women working on reviewing contact sheets at the editor’s bedside. A rare glimpse into the Parisian magazine world of the 1950s. And one truly has to admire Doisneau’s ability to gain access!

doisneau_robert_1137_2005Robert Doisneau, [Photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe at bedside of Harper's Bazaar editor Carmel Snow reviewing contact sheets of fashion shoots], 1953 (1137.2005)

Kirsti Svenning, ICP Summer Intern
Kirsti is the Communications Advisor at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo

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L’Shana Tova!

vishniac_roman_8_008_001Roman Vishniac, [Three women, Mukacevo], ca. 1935-38

© Mara Vishniac Kohn, courtesy International Center of Photography

Wishing you a sweet, happy, and healthy new year!

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Our Lady of the Iguanas

Born in Mexico City in 1942, Graciela Iturbide is known for her photographs of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Hired by the Ethnographic Archive of the National Indigenous Institute of Mexico in 1978, she first documented the way of life of the Seri Indians, a nomadic community in the Sonora desert. Then in 1979, she was invited to photograph the Juchitán people of the Zapotec culture in Oaxaca, resulting in a nine-year-long project and the famous image Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas (Our Lady of the Iguanas).

iturbide_graciela_130_1995Graciela Iturbide, Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas, 1979 (130.1995)

Fascinated by the power and grace of the Juchitán women, Iturbide sought to capture the essence of this matriarchal society where women control the finances and, thus, have more freedom and independence than many others of their gender in Mexico. The men work, but they give their wages to the women, who run the marketplace.

In the market, the women carry goods of all kinds on their heads. It was here that Iturbide encountered a woman named Zobeida with iguanas on her head. Recounting the experience, Iturbide said, “I could not believe it!” Preparing to sell them as food, Zobeida set the lizards on the ground, but Iturbide asked her to put them back so that she could take a photo.

Zobeida passed away in 2004, but Iturbide’s image of her became famous among the locals. In an exhibition of Iturbide’s photographs at a center for indigenous culture, Our Lady of the Iguanas was an instant favorite. People turned it into banners, posters, and postcards, the image becoming a symbol of women’s strength and confidence in Zapotec culture.

iturbide_graciela_123_1995Graciela Iturbide, The Festival, 1979 (123.1995)

iturbide_graciela_122_1995Graciela Iturbide, Alligator Festival, 1988 (122.1995)

Iturbide’s work also explores the enduring legacy of ancient customs in modern Mexico, where Catholicism is the primary religion. The photograph Powerful Handsfor example, depicts the Juchitán custom of making icons from hand-shaped branches or roots. By photographing native traditions and festivals, Iturbide documents the blending of ancient practices with Catholic beliefs and showcases the diversity of Mexican heritage.

In 1989, Iturbide published the book Juchitán de las Mujeres (Juchitán of the Women).  Since then, she has traveled all over the world, documenting life in Cuba, East Germany, India, Madagascar, Hungary, Paris and the United States. Still, her photos of the Juchitán people remain one of her most important bodies of work.

iturbide_graciela_120_1995Graciela Iturbide, Powerful Hands, 1988 (120.1995)

iturbide_graciela_124_1995Graciela Iturbide, Tehuantepic, 1985 (124.1995)

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“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun”

I don’t usually fawn over celebrities, but Katharine Hepburn is an exception. She is one of my all-time favorite women, and should be one of yours, too. There are many reasons to adore her, to name just a few: her incomparable acting talent, her fiercely independent nature, her willingness to stand up for what she believed in, and her dedication to being her absolute self, regardless of the criticism received for it.

Born in 1907, by the time she died in 2003, Hepburn had appeared in forty-four feature films, eight television movies, and thirty-three plays. In these movies and plays, Hepburn was often cast as a strong woman, but not without a relatable vulnerability. The women she portrayed on screen became role models, just as she had become in real life. She holds the record for the most “Best Actress” Academy Awards, and her personal life is filled with many accomplishments as well. She was a fashion icon, a political activist, and a women’s rights advocate.

hurrell_george_299_1981_iGeorge Hurrell, Katharine Hepburn, 1941 (299.1981.i)

eisenstadt_alfred_254_1989Alfred Eisenstaedt, Katharine Hepburn, New York, 1938 (254.1989)

beaton_cecil_1253_2005Cecil Beaton, [Katharine Hepburn],  1960 (1253.2005)

munkacsi_martin_2009_6_22Martin Munkacsi, [Katharine Hepburn, Hartford], 1935 (printed 2009) (2009.6.22)


LIFE, January 6, 1941 (2010.53.33)

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50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom


Francis Miller, [Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech to the crowd assembled in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.], August, 28, 1963 (1013.2005)


Charles Moore, [March on Washington], August 28, 1963 (178.1991)


Paul Schutzer, [Crowd at mall in front of Lincoln Memorial, March on Washington], August 28, 1963


Unidentified Photographer, [Marchers with large banner during the March on Washington], August 28, 1963 (2010.81.135)

parks_gordon_1643_2005Gordon Parks, [Steps of Lincoln Memorial littered with debris after March on Washington], August 28, 1963 (1643.2005)

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