“Photographing Stalin's Revolution: An American in Moscow, 1930”

Lecture by Bill Husband, Professor, School of History, Philosophy and Religion

Wednesday, October 28 at 4 p.m. in the Archives Reading Room, fifth floor of the Valley Library 

In 1930, Joseph Stalin reached a critical point in his transformation of Soviet Russia. Peasants had been forcibly moved into collective farms, heavy industrialization moved forward at the frenetic pace of his first Five-Year Plan, and a cultural revolution reconfigured Soviet life so thoroughly that no sphere of human existence went untouched. Armed only with a camera and a perceptive eye, a schoolteacher from Ohio named Elizabeth Day traveled into this world of political oppression and economic shortage, and the photographic record of her journey provides insights that go far beyond conventional textbook photographs. 

Day possessed an unusual talent to see what was extraordinary in scenes that might superficially appear ordinary. She caught rare images of Stalin’s remaking of the country that range from village life to industry to urban reconstruction. These photographs were donated to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center at the Valley Library by Dan and Lucy Hilburn of Salem.

Posted - October 26, 2015