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Walkers in the City: Jewish Street Photographers of Midcentury New York

Feb 29 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Photos of a female and male speaker with text: Walkers in the City. Jewish Street Photographers of Midcentury New York.

Join the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life and Berkeley Center for Jewish Studies for Walkers in the City: Jewish Street Photographers of Midcentury New York, a special lecture with historian Deborah Dash Moore and UC Berkeley Professor David M. Henkin.

Tuesday, February 29, 2024 | 5:00pm

In person at The Magnes Collection, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA

The lecture will be recorded.

In the middle of the twentieth century, good cameras became smaller and lighter, enabling street photographers to roam alleyways, ride elevated trains and subways, and stroll beaches in summertime to capture daily life with urgency and intimacy. Walkers in the City showcases the distinctive urban vision that working-class Jewish photographers produced with these new cameras on New York City’s streets and in public spaces.

Drawing on the experiences of and photographs by a generation of young Jewish photographers who belonged to the New York Photo League, Deborah Dash Moore offers a new perspective on New York as seen through their eyes—a cityscape of working-class people and democratizing public transit. With their cameras, they pictured Gotham’s abrasive social milieu and its evanescent textures and light, creating an archive of vernacular images of city life and a distinctive tradition of street photography that would be widely imitated.

Walkers in the City documents how these roving, imaginative New Yorkers, entranced by the medium of photography, transformed everyday sights into rousing, joyous, and poignant moments of time, creating visual poetry out of the fabric of social life.


If you have any questions about accessibility or require accommodations to participate in this event, please contact us at magnes@berkeley.edu or call us at (510) 643-2526 with as much advance notice as possible.

Deborah Dash Moore, an historian whose work focuses on American Jews in the modern era, is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of History at University of Michigan. During her time as  director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, she engaged in scholarly projects focused on New York City, specifically a three-volume award-winning history of New York Jews, City of Promises. She later published a synthesis of those three volumes, Jewish New York: The Remarkable Story of a City and a People. In April, 2018, her earlier book, GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation, formed the basis for a documentary on Jewish GIs, shown on PBS, GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II.

David M. Henkin is Margaret Byrne Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms That Made Us Who We Are, The Postal Age, City Reading, and (with Rebecca McLennan) Becoming America: A History for the 21st Century.


Feb 29
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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Magnes Collection of Jewish Life and Art
2121 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94720 United States
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