Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E169.02 .N66 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E169.02 .N66 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



After World War II, the prevalent self-image among America's white middle class was one of affluence, moral superiority, and contentment. This image is reflected in photographs in both advertising and the media during the late 1940s and 1950s showing perfect citizens and their families at work and at play. Many of these apparently candid photographs were in fact created by professional studio photographers--to portray the way most middle-class Americans wanted to present themselves.But what many contemporary artists and intellectuals saw instead of this idyllic picture was widespread complacency and conformity, as well as racism, poverty, political witch hunts, and alienation. Their writings are excerpted here, juxtaposed with images depicting domestic bliss and wealth. This dissonance between the words of the social critics who emphasized our problems and discontents and the photographic images of how we wanted to see ourselves make the subsequent upheavals of the 1960s understandable.

Author Notes

Barbara Norfleet is founder and curator of The Photography Collection, an archive emphasizing the social history of the United States, at Harvard University, where she taught for nearly forty years

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 7
America, 1946-1959: Memoriesp. 9
A Note on the Documentsp. 14
Looking for Postwar Americap. 17
Time Linep. 156