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Sun, 03.15.1903

Edwin Rosskam, Photographer born

Edwin Rosskam with Louisa (wife)

*Edwin Rosskam was born on this date in 1903.  He was a white Jewish-American freelance photographer and writer.  

Edwin Rosskam was born in Munich, Germany, to American parents and came to Philadelphia, PA, in his late teens in 1919.  Rosskam aspired to be an artist and took up painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  It was here the early development of his interest in photography began.  Getting his photojournalism career started, Rosskam joined the Farm Security Administration and worked under Roy Stryker.

The view of America presented by the work produced by the FSA; photography exhibits he has done; the effect upon him of the people he met and photographed during his FSA career; the political impact of the FSA; applications and uses of the photographs produced by the FSA; the project's strengths and weaknesses; books and other projects he contributed to.

He photographed oil refineries and river scenes for the Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) in the early '40s.  He collaborated with Stryker, Dorothea Lange, Marion Post Wolcott, and John Vachon.  In 1941 he collaborated with novelist Richard Wright on 12 Million Black Voices, a folk history of Blacks in America.  Out of that work briefly, he collaborated with his wife, Louise, in 1948, on ''Towboat River,'' a book of pictures and text detailing life on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.  Later, until 1954, he worked for the Government of Puerto Rico in a rural- education program.

After he returned from Puerto Rico, Rosskam wrote a novel, ''The Alien,'' based on his experiences there. His work in the '30s included selecting photographs for documentary books. In 1939, he contributed to the text and edited photographs for ''Washington: Nerve Center,'' a look at the capital.  Edwin Rosskam died Feb. 25, 1985, at his home in Roosevelt, N.J. He was 81 years old.  Surviving are his wife, Louise, and two daughters, Anita Rosskam-Leach and Susan Marchon.   

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