Lucy Ashjian and the Photo League
Lucy Ashjian, Untitled [Bowery Bank], ca. 1936-1943. Museum of the City of New York, 2015.15.2 The name Vivian Maier is well known today – a talented photographer recently plucked from anonymity and brought to the attention of the wider world. Few, however, know Lucy Ashjian, another talented photographer who held a prominent place in the world of New York photography in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Lucy Ashjian was born in 1907 in Indianapolis to Armenian refugee parents who fled from the Ottoman Turks. Ashjian grew up watching the rise of fascism throughout Europe and reading about the Armenian genocide. Perhaps as a result of Lenin’s intervention on behalf of the Armenians, she became a staunch communist. After graduating with an English degree from Butler University in 1927, she returned home and met her eventual husband Charles Smith Preston, and the pair moved to New York soon after he…
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