This thesis considers Esther Bubley's photographic documentation of a boarding house for Jewish workingmen and women during World War II. An examination of Bubley's photographs reveals the complexities surrounding Jewish-American identity, which included aspects of social inclusion and exclusion, a rejection of past traditions and acceptance of contemporary transitions. Bubley presented these residents, specifically the females, as modern Americans shedding the stereotypes surrounding their Jewish heritage and revealing their own perspective and reality. Through their communal support as a group sharing multiple values these residents dealt with multivalent isolation all while maintaining their participation in mainstream American cultural norms. Working for Roy Stryker in the Office of War Information, Bubley provided a missing record of a distinct community in America to be included in the larger collection of Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information photographs. These photographs provide insight into Jewish-American communities and shed light on the home front of America during World War II. Furthermore, Bubley's photographs illustrate how these Jewish-Americans reacted to World War II and reveal both the unity of a nation at war and the isolation of social exclusion in America.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Visual Arts
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Taggart, Vriean Diether, "Documenting the Dissin's Guest House: Esther Bubley's Exploration of Jewish-American Identity, 1942-43" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 3599.
Esther Bubley, FSA/OWI photography, Roy Stryker, WWII, Jewish Identity, American home front, Reform Judaism, Dissin's, boarding house, D.C., Washington, DC