Becoming Documentary: Berenice Abbott's Photograph of New York in the 1930s presents Berenice Abbott's words and images selected by Peter Barr, PhD.

This website was designed to accompany an exhibition at Hickman Gallery at Mahan Hall, Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan, running from August 21 to September 9, 2023. It features a biographical sketch and additional documentation based on Barr's scholarship on Abbott (1898-1991), including his PhD dissertation, "Becoming Documentary: Berenice Abbott's Photographs, 1925-1939," (UMI Publication number 9709780). You can also click on this link to read his essay, "Berenice Abbott's 'Changing New York' and Urban Planning Debates in the 1930s," in The Built Surface (Volume II:  Architecture and Pictures from Romanticism to the Millennium) edited by Christy Anderson and Karen Koehler (Aldershot, England: Ashgate Press, 2002), 257-282, as well as this link to read his essays on Abbott's Paris Portraits, The Reception and Sources of Berenice Abbott’s Paris Portrait Style, 1925–29,” History of Photography, volume 34, number 1, February 2010, 43-59.

The exhibition was designed by Adrian College student Alaina Schlaf with help from Assistant Professor of Art and Design Travis Erxleben.

The exhibition and this website are intended for educational purposes and are presented here under the fair use doctrine of the United States copyright laws. Abbott, her heirs and assigns retain copyright. 

Today, Abbott's archives of papers, photographs, and negatives are primarily housed at the Museum of the City of New York and the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto.