Guide to the Joseph C. Farber Papers and Photographs

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0520
Creators:
Farber, Joan C., Dr.
Farber, Joseph C., 1903-1994
Dates:
circa 1930-1990
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
15 Cubic feet
90 boxes, 1 map-folder
Repository:
The Farber collection documents images of celebrated American buildings by photographer Joseph C. Farber.

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The Farber collection is filled with well-crafted and often very beautiful images of celebrated American buildings. Many of the images, which for the most part take the form of 11" x 14" black-and-white photoprints, explore the European Renaissance origins of American architecture. The collection is also very rich in color transparencies. Nearly all the images are directly related to published projects, specifically photo-essays in the shape of articles , many of which appeared in the magazine
Antiques
or newspapers. Farber probably would have wished for all of his photographs to have been published. Many were shown in exhibitions, as evidenced by the large proportion of the photoprints that are mounted and also the existence of correspondence files relating to such matters. There are also files related to the processes of conceiving, executing, and publishing his photographic work.
The images for the books are nearly all black-and-white, whereas magazine work, especially the commissions from
Antiques
, generated the most transparencies. In addition to the images in print and transparency form, and the associated proof sheets and negatives, there is also a great quantity of slides related to travel in the collection, which predate Farber's second career as a professional photographer. A tiny sampling of earlier photographs, mostly with artistic or family-and-personal themes, is also included.
Black-and-white negatives, black-and-white prints, and color transparencies, mostly created for specific book projects, articles in Antiques magazine, etc. Generally, color was used for magazine articles, while black-and-white images were intended for books. Collection also includes photographs of personal or family significance, and some early artistic efforts. Non-pictorial portion consists primarily of material related to Farber's publications: correspondence, galley proofs, reviews, etc.
Photographs include projects related to Thomas Jefferson (e.g., Monticello), classical architecture, Essex, Connecticut, etc. Buildings photographed include Raleigh's Tavern, Williamsburg, Va.; Independence Hall, Philadelphia; Maison Carree, Nimes, France; St. Paul's Chapel, Boston, Mass.; White House, Washington; New York City landmarks; sites in Springfield and New Salem, Ill., associated with Abraham Lincoln; historic buildings in Boston and Cambridge,Mass.; Hannibal, Mo.; Deerfield, Mass.; New England churches and meetinghouses; and buildings and objects from ancient Greece, which were published with excerpts from Herodotus' History of the Pelopponesian Wars (Farber called this group of images "Herodotus"); and Italian villas designed by Andrea Palladio, such as the Villa Rotunda. Some pictures relating to themes of democracy were inspired by the U.S. Bicentennial celebration.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Divided into five series.
Series 1: Photographs
Series 2: Photonegatives and Contact Sheets
Series 3: Textual Materials
Series 4: Color Slides and Transparencies
Series 5: Books

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1902, Joseph C. Farber he attended the New York Military Academy, and later Columbia College, where his formal studies included chemistry and art composition. While these were excellent preparation for subsequent employment in the family business, Friedman Blau Farber, Manufacturers of Knitted Outerwear, at Columbia he discovered the true love of his life, the art and craft of photography. He became involved in the New York Camera Club. For the rest of his life he would consider himself a protégé of the Club's resident guru, famed photographer Edward Steichen. Farber's work was first shown in the Fifth Annual Exhibition of Work by Cleveland Artists and Craftsmen at the Cleveland Museum of Art in late spring 1923, and he taught photography to summer campers. Later, throughout 39 years of employment in the garment business, he continued to enjoy and practice photography, especially in making portraits of good friends. He married Caroline Feiss, also a Cleveland native and a promising watercolor artist. In 1939 the Farber's moved to New York.
According to his daughter, Dr. Joan Farber, her father purchased a large format Linhof field camera during a 1958 visit with his son Thomas in Germany. The Linhof camera front can be shifted to provide corrections for architectural photography which are not possible with smaller cameras. After Joan headed to college the Farbers had time for increased travel. They were accompanied by their daughter on a trip to Greece in summer 1960 which included photographs of herself, an attractive, sophisticated college coed, stylishly dressed and coifed for the occasion, posed on the steps of the Parthenon. A trip to Spain the following year resulted in many dozens of 35mm color images, part of a large group of travel slides.
This was also the period in Farber's life that a whirlwind round-the-world trip was undertaken, with visits to Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Hawaii, and California. By the end of the next year, the Farbers were renting as a vacation home a converted button factory in Essex, Connecticut, a former shipbuilding town on the Connecticut River, as a vacation home. Within months Farber had retired from his design and executive responsibilities at the Campus Sweater and Sportswear Company in Manhattan to live for a year in Essex. There were also trips more abroad, particularly to Greece and Egypt, while the Farbers continued to maintain an apartment in New York. Climbing a mountain in Greece in summer 1967, Farber suffered a heart attack, from which he fully recovered.
In 1969 his new career was launched by the publication of
Portrait of Essex
by Barre Publishers. Local historian Marie Moore supplied the text to accompany Farber's evocative photographs of the ships, shops, shores, streets, and historic structures of this seafaring town. His brother-in-law Carl Feiss, F.A.I.A., furnished the Introduction.
In 1971, Farber and Wendell Garrett published his first Jefferson book,
The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson
followed by their second,
Thomas Jefferson Redivivus
Garrett, who edited the Adams Papers wrote the text, with the help of excerpts from the writings of Jefferson himself. The following summer one of Farber's Monticello views was featured on the cover of
Antiques
. In 1973 Farber was credited with three covers and a frontispiece for the magazine, as well as three photographic essays. The subjects ranged from Sculpture at the Boston Atheneum to The Villas of Andrea Palladio to The Architecture of Lavius Fillmore Garrett introduced Farber to Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer who hired Farber as photographer to help illustrate his Prints of Abraham Lincoln, which appeared in the annual presidents' birthday number of Antiques the next year, February 1974. Some Contemporary Paintings of Abraham Lincoln appeared twelve months later. Three more Lincoln-themed articles appeared in February issues of
Antiques
in 1978, 1979, and 1980: Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln From Life, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and Here Lincoln Lived: New Salem and Springfield, Illinois.
Two more books of Farber's photographs were published in 1975.
Democracy's First Struggle
was an account of the Peloponnesian Wars in the words of Herodotus, as edited from the Aubrey de Selincourt with translation by Farber. The photographic images dated back to the family trips to Greece in the early 1960s. Native Americans: 500 Years After was published by Thomas J. Crowell in 1975 with text by Michael Dorris. Following Native Americans came a series of exhibitions of photographs from the book including shows at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), Dartmouth College, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History .
Also in the mid -1970s a cover story in
Antiques
entitled "The Architectural Heritage of New York City" led to an exhibition at the Abigail Adams Smith House. In the late '70s two more exhibitions were staged, featuring scenes of local color at the dedication of the East Haddam (Connecticut) Historical Society in the summer of 1979 and showing buildings by Palladio at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum (New York City.)
In 1980 Farber's interior view of a basilica, Palladio's Redentore church in Venice, was featured on the cover of
Antiques
. The photographs became the subject of a book, Palladio's Architecture and Its Influence authored by architectural historian, Henry Hope Reed.
Harold Holzer organized many joint photographic trips revolving around Holzer's career in the public relations department of Channel 13, New York's public television station. Each summer for four years in succession they set off to diverse spots to make publicity shoots for upcoming special programming. First was Missouri to photograph Mark Twain sites for a dramatization of "Life Along the Mississippi". The next summer they headed to the Berkshires to document The Mount, the home of Edith Wharton in Lenox, Massachusetts, around whose life and work a mini-series in three parts was planned. The summer trip of 1982 was a return visit to Massachusetts to photograph The Street, Deerfield's historic thoroughfare, combined with a side trip across the border to the Robert Todd Lincoln home, Hildene, in Manchester, Vermont.
In 1982 Farber was commissioned by
Architectural Digest
magazine to photograph the Mark Twain residence in Hartford. Farber and Holzer succeeded in the early to mid-1980s in getting Farber's out-takes from their Channel 13 trips published together with his carefully worded scripts in such periodicals as
American History Illustrated
and in
Antiques
&
The Arts Weekly
. Many of Farber's pictures were printed in articles in
Antique Trader
, to which Holzer was a regular contributor. In 1983, when Farber turned 80, his color images of the interior spaces of the Metropolitan Club of New York were published in a book by the same name, written by Paul Porzelt. In his travels in the last decade of his life he was often accompanied by family friend Ethel Phillips, including a tour of Great Britain in the summer of 1987. With Mrs. Phillips he at one time had contemplated publishing a book on the historic mansions of the Hudson River. Two other unrealized projects, upon his death in 1994 at the age of 91, were books on the classical architecture of New York City and on the history and daily lives of Hispanic Americans in the United States.

Administration
Author
Elizabeth Watson
Custodial History
Collection donated by photographer's daughter after his death; Archives Center received collection from Farber's New York apartment in 1994, when Native American series photographs also were acquired for National Museum of Natural History.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Dr. Joan Farber, 1994.
Processing Information
Collection processed by Elizabeth Watson, 2002.

Biographical Time Line
Biographical Time Line
Biographical Time Line for Joseph C. Farber
Biographical Time Line
1903
Born Cleveland, Ohio
1910s
At New York Military Academy
1920s
At Columbia College, studying chemistry, art composition; studies photography with Edward Steichen in Camera Club; teaches photography as camp counselor
1923
Participates in Fifth Annual Exhibition of Work by Cleveland Artists and Craftsmen at Cleveland Museum of Art (May 1-June 3)
1926
Takes job as "salesman and experimental worker" at Friedman Blau Farber, Mfg. Knitted Outerwear," Cleveland; Marriage to Caroline Feiss, Cleveland native and watercolor artist
1933
Son Thomas Feiss born at Cleveland
1936
Daughter Joan born
1930s
Family moves to New York
1958
Visit to son in Germany; purchase of Linhof camera; daughter off to college
1960
Trip to Greece, daughter along
1961
To Spain
1963
Death of son in mountaineering accident; to Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Hawaii, California
1964
Rents former button factory in Essex, Connecticut as vacation home
1965
Retirement from Campus Sweater & Sportswear Company; Living in Essex
1966
To Greece
1967
To Egypt and Greece; heart attack ; Essex (summer?)
1969
Portrait of Essex
published, text by Marie Moore; into by Carl Feiss, AIA (Barre)
1970
Trip to Bermuda
1971
Thomas Jefferson Redivus
published, text by Wendell Garrett, Editor of
The Magazine Antiques
(Barre); Farber introduced to "Jefferson circle"; Vacations in Essex and Florida
1972
Monticello images published in
Antiques
1973
Photographs of sculpture at the Boston Atheneum, the Maison Carree at Nimes (France): the villas of Andrea Palladio in Vicenza and environs (Italy) and the architecture of Lavius Fillmore (Connecticut and Vermont) published in
Antiques
1974
Images of Abraham Lincoln prints published in
Antiques
: accompanying article is by Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer; beginning of ten-year collaboration
1975
Photographs of Lincoln portraits in
Antiques
, Holzer text
Democracy's First Struggle
published, based on Herodotus' Histories of Greece (Crown);
Native Americans: 500 Years After
published (Thomas Crowell)
1976
Exhibitions of photographs of Native Americans at National Museum of Natural History, Dartmouth College, and Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Images of historic New York City buildings in
Antiques
, text by Elizabeth Donaghty Garrett; Exhibition of photographs of New York City landmarks at Abigail Adams House, New York City.
1978
Photographs of Lincoln sculptures, with Holzer, in
Antiques
1979
Images of Lincoln and George Washington, sculpture of John Rogers, and sculpture of U.S. Capitol published in
Antiques
, with Holzer; Exhibition of photographs at East Haddam Historical Society; Exhibition of Palladio photographs at Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York City.
1980
Palladio's Architecture and Its Influence
published, with Henry Hope Reed (Dover) ; Venice image (church interior) published on
Antiques
cover; Death of wife; "Caroline Fund" established at Cooper Union; Teaches photography in local high school; To Missouri with Holzer to photograph Mark Twain sites for Channel 13
1981
Images of Lincoln sites published in black and white in
Antiques
with Holzer (should have been in color); Summer trip to Berkshires with Holzer to photograph Edith Wharton home
1982
Commissioned to photograph Mark Twain house in Hartford for
Architectural Digest
; Images of The Mount, Edith Wharton's home in Lenox, Mass., published in American History Illustrated with Holzer; Summer trip to Massachusetts and Vermont with Holzer to photograph "The Street," Deerfield (Channel 13) and Hildene, Robert Todd Lincoln home in Manchester
1983
Images of Mark Twain sites in Hannibal, Missouri published in
American History Illustrated
with Holzer; Summer trip to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia with Holzer (Channel 13); Harper's Ferry images published in
Antique Trader
with Holzer Deerfield, Massachusetts images published in
Antiques
&
The Arts Weekly
with Holzer;
The Metropolitan Club of New York
published, with Paul Porzelt (Rizzoli)
1984
Images of Hildene published in
Antique Trader
with Holzer
1985
Images of Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Old Salem, Massachusetts published in
Antique Trader
with Holzer
1987
Tour of Great Britain with Ethel Phillips (summer?)
1994
Died, New York City, New York

Publications
Publications
Joseph C. Farber Publications
Portrait of Essex with Marie Moore
, Introduction by Carl Feiss, FAIA , AIP (Barre), 1969
Thomas Jefferson Redivivus
with Wendell Garrett (Barre), 1971
Monticello,
Antiques
, July 1972( cover)
"Sculpture at Boston Atheneum,"
Antiques
, June 1973
Maison Carree,
Antiques
, July 1973 (cover)
"The Villas of Andrea Palladio,"
Antiques
, August 1973
"The Architecture of Lavius Fillmore,"
Antiques
, December 1973
"Prints of Abraham Lincoln" with Holzer,
Antiques
, February 1974
Some Contemporary Paintings of Abraham Lincoln with Holzer,
Antiques
, February 1975
Democracy's First Struggle
based on Herodotus' Histories (Crown), 1975
Native Americans: 500 Years After
(Thomas Crowell), 1975
The Architectural Heritage of New York City with Elizabeth Donaghty Garrett,
Antiques
, June 1976
Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln From Life by Harold Holzer with Lloyd Ostendorf, photos by JCF,
Antiques
, February 1978
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln with Holzer,
Antiques
, February 1978
The Sculpture of John Rogers with Harold Holzer,
Antiques
, April 1979
"Sculpture of the United States Capitol: Architectural Sculpture" with Harold Holzer,
Antiques
, July 1979
Palladio's Architecture and Its Influence
with Henry Hope Reed (Dover), 1980
Venice,
Antiques
, December 1980
"Here Lincoln Lived: New Salem and Springfield, Illinois" with Harold Holzer,
Antiques
, February 1981
"America's Story-Tellers: Edith Wharton's First Real Home, in Lenox, Massachusetts," with Harold Holzer,
American History Illustrated
, September 1982
The Metropolitan Club of New York
, with Paul Porzelt (Rizzoli), 1983
"Mark Twain Returns to Hannibal: Boyhood Days Remembered," with Harold Holzer,
American History Illustrated
, May 1983
"Harpers Ferry Revisited,"with Harold Holzer,
Antique Trader
, October 12, 1983
"Deerfield Village: A Walk Back in Time" with Harold Holzer,
Antiques
&
The Arts Weekly
, November 25, 1983
"Hildene: Vermont Home of the Lincolns" with Harold Holzer,
Antique Trader
, February 15, 1984
"The Rebecca Nurse Homestead" with Harold Holzer,
Antique Trader
, October 9, 1985

Using the Collection
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Photographs published in Joseph C. Farber's books are still under copyright. Reproduction permission from the Joseph C. Farber's estate is required. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Preferred Citation
Joseph Farber Papers and Photographs, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Dr. Joan C. Farber.

Related Archival Materials
Other Materials at the Smithsonian Institution
National Anthropological Archives, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Joseph C. Farber photographs of American Indian life, circa 1970-1975
Photographs made as part of Joseph C. Farber's project to document modern American Indian everyday life. Represented tribes include the Acoma, Apache, Blackfoot, Chehalis, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Cocopa, Dakota, Eskimo, Haida, Kiowa, Kutenai, Lummi, Mohave, Mohawk, Navaho, Northern Athabascan, Onandaga, Pima, Pueblo, Quinalt, Seminole, Taos, Tlingit, and Zuni. Subject coverage is broad and varies from tribe to tribe. Included are portraits, as well as totem poles, carving, weaving, pottery, painitng, landscapes, boats and canoes, ceremonial regalia, camps, classes and vocational training, homes and traditional dwellings, construction projects, rodeos and powwows, dances, industries (including lumber), herding and ranching, agriculture, stores and storefronts, cliff dwellings, parades, crab cleaning, fishing, games, health care, legal processes, music, office work, sewing, vending, and a funeral. There are also photographs of R. C. Gorman (and a letter from Gorman to Farber) and Fritz Shoulder (some in color).

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture -- Greece Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture, Renaissance Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boston (Mass.) -- Architecture Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Churches -- New England Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cambridge (Mass.) -- Architecture Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Contact sheets -- 1960-1990 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Churches -- Quaker Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Proofs -- 1960-1990 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 1960-1990 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ruins -- Greece Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Villa Rotunda (Vicenza, Italy) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Springfield (Ill.) -- Architecture Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
White House (Washington, D.C.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Proof sheets Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- Phototransparencies -- 1960-1990 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Monticello Va. -- Photographs Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Maison Carree (Nimes, France) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New York (N.Y.) -- Architecture Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New England -- Architecture Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greece -- Classical architecture Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Essex (Conn.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Italy -- Architecture Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hannibal (Mo.) -- Architecture Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture, Classical Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture, Italian Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Revolution Bicentennial, 1776-1976 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture, Ancient -- Photographs Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slides (photographs) -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Palladio, Andrea (architect) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Raleigh's Tavern (Williamsburg, Va.). Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Herodotus Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Independence Hall (Philadelphia, Pa.). Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
https://americanhistory.si.edu/archives