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Using documentary photography to promote World War II occupational health policy.
Contributions to the History of Occupational and Environmental Prevention, 1st International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Prevention, Rome, Italy, October 4-6, 1998. New York: Elsevier Science, 1999 Dec; :401-411
This paper represents research of vintage 1941 photographs and negatives discovered at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 1988. These photographs were made by a noted American photographer John Collier, Jr. (1913 -1992) during his 1st year as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), a New Deal federal agency; The authors documentation and interpretation of these photographs is based on research of archival records in the National Archives and Records Administration, the Archives of American Art, and the National Library of Medicine. The authors explore how the US Public Health Service used documentary photography in the World War II era to produce educational materials promoting industrial hygiene. It examines the Public Health Service view of industrial health in light of past New Deal policy and programs; and the emerging war agenda as the USA prepared to enter World War II. The photographer's letters written at the time of the assignment illustrate the bureaucratic problems occurring when a federal occupational health agency conducted an industry survey while industrial health was under corporate and individual states' control. The photographs taken during this assignment, together with their original captions, give glimpses of workers and work of that era and reveal many of the occupational health and industrial hygiene practices of the time. Research of this 1941 photographic assignment sheds light on the vision and skill of its creators, FSA photographer John Collier and Elizabeth Pritchard, a high-level information specialist of the US Public Health Service.
Photography; Photographers; Industrial-hygiene; Industrial-hygiene-programs; Industrial-health-programs; Industrial-safety; Workplace-studies; Workplace-monitoring; Worker-health; Work-performance; Work-analysis; Occupational-health; Occupational-health-programs; Occupational-safety-programs
B. Jenkins, NIOSH, 4676 Colunbua Parkway R10, Cincinnati, OH 45026
Grieco-A; Iavicoli-S; Berlinguer-G
Contributions to the History of Occupational and Environmental Prevention, 1st International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Prevention, Rome, Italy, October 4-6, 1998
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division