The Tumultuous Fifties:
A View from the New York Times Photo Archives

Hula-hoops and air-raid drills, bold new fins on big new cars, Marilyn Monroe and Richard M. Nixon — these are a fraction of the news-making photographs of the 1950s captured by New York Times photojournalists. Half a century later, The Tumultuous Fifties revisits the newspaper’s vast collection to present an engaging portrait of this seminal period. Approximately two hundred vintage news photographs focus on a decade distinguished by such transforming cultural phenomena as McCarthyism, space travel, the civil rights movement, bebop and cool jazz, and Beat poetry. Augmenting the photographs, a group of iconic objects from the decade includes the rarely seen original manuscript of Jack Kerouac’s groundbreaking Beat novel On the Road, and a legendary motorcycle: a 1951 Vincent Black Shadow.
The photographs are organized into categories such as politics, mechanization, the Cold War, celebrities, and everyday life. Many images focus on the upbeat: Milton Berle, drive-in movies, and glossy consumer goods like a shiny new iron modeled by a smiling housewife. Others document the era’s turbulent aspects: American soldiers in Korea, Nikita Krushchev and Fidel Castro, a strike at Bethlehem Steel, and police officers frisking “juvenile delinquents.” In one memorable photograph Pvt. Elvis Presley pops out of an Army tank in Germany, and in another a young black couple sits in the back of a bus under a sign reading “Colored.”
Exhibition Name
The Tumultuous Fifties:
A View from the New York Times Photo Archives
Exhibition Type
Group Exhibitions
Malloy Wing
Oct 12, 2002 - Dec 15, 2002
This exhibition is curated by Douglas Dreishpoon ‘76, Skidmore College, Curator at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York and Alan Trachtenberg, Professor of English and American Studies, Yale University.
Shell R. Alpert, Arthur d’Arazien Allyn Baum, Neal Boenzi, Perry Bowler, Brian Brake, Bill Bridges, Arthur Z. Brooks, Arthur Brower, Patrick A. Burns, Cornella Capa, SFC Albert Chang, Rich Clarkson, Will Counts, Clifton Daniel, Jerry Dantzic, Eileen Darby, Drennan, Arnold Eagle, William C. Eckenberg, H.D. Ellis, Sam Falk, Ed Feingersh, Raoul Fornezza Max Frankel, Carl T. Gossett Jr, Henry Griffin, Clarence Hamm, Eddie Hausner, Bruce Hoertel, Eunice Telfer Juckett, Leo Bern Keating, Torkel Korling, John Krause, Anthony Lane, Jean-Jacques Levy, Meyer Liebowitz, Frank D. Mallett, Martin’s Studio, Leonard McCombe, Fred W. McDarrah, Larry Morris, Hans Namuth, Jim Pringle, Alvin (C.Q.) Quinn, John Rooney, Gertrude Samuels, Judy Scheftel, Sharland, Mike Shea, Sam Shere, Earl Shugars, Jim Silk, Ernie Sisto, William P. Straeter, Preston Stroup, George Tames, Harold Valentine, Hank Walker, Robert Walker, Dan Weiner
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