D.C. Day Three

I wrapped up my search at the Photo Archives today. I did a little more digging into an SS Propaganda Company (PK) and compiled a final list of items to request copies of. Although I have narrowed down some particular areas and photographers I intend to focus on, I did encounter several questions and paths I need to further pursue:

– It is extremely difficult to analyze a photograph without contextual or biographical information (i.e. the event being depicted, the name of the photographer, the date, etc.) How should historians go about photographs that have little to no background information? Should they be discarded?

– What kind of directives did the official PK units receive from the RMVP (Propaganda Ministry)? It will be necessary to further research the nature of the directives coming from the RMVP, and possibly from the Wehrmacht Propaganda Department (WPr) if any.

These are only a small sample of questions I need to consider, but I won’t bore you with my internal thought process…

I also had a chance to walk through the exhibits at USHMM after my research day. The permanent exhibit was multiple levels and had an impressive selection of artifacts and a wealth of fascinating information. It was eerie to step into a freight car used to transport Jews and original barracks and bunks from Auschwitz. It was a little difficult to move through the exhibit with so many school groups there, but their presence gives me faith that the future generation will take an active stance against genocide.

Anyway, more note typing to do!

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German Photos Project Part II

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After I wrapped up my Research Rookies project on historians and photography, the research did not stop for me – I am currently blogging from Washington D.C. on a second research adventure thanks to NIU’s USOAR research grant.

This represents the second stage of my last research project, where I will be conducting my own archival research into German photos from Eastern Europe, particularly in their representation of civilians.

Day One in D.C.

I spent a good chunk of the day sifting through photographs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive. This is the second time I have actually worked in an archive, so it was quite an exciting experience for a young budding historian. Although I didn’t get to see originals, I probably sifted through 1,000 photographs of which I identified a few key photographers/photographs I think would be of use. Overall, very productive day – and the archivists were extremely helpful. I was so engrossed in my work I forgot to eat lunch – oops!

In the afternoon I also had time to stop by the Smithsonian, Fords Theatre, and take a stroll down the Mall. Now to put together some notes and do some searches before more research tomorrow!

Day Two:

Went back to the archive today – another productive day! Identified some more photographers today, as well as patterns emerging in my search.

At around 2:00 p.m. I headed over to the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division to examine their collection of official German photographs confiscated by American military personnel after the war. Although I encountered mostly military photographs, I did come across some interesting representations of civilians in albums. It was awesome to hold the original photographs from the 1940s!