(Her principal published work, originally published in 197...)
Her principal published work, originally published in 1974, is Elsa's Housebook - A Woman's Photojournal, a photographic record of family and friends who visited her in Cambridge when she lived there during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Many well known people, especially literary figures associated with the Beat generation, are prominent in the book, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, Gary Snyder, Gregory Corso, and Robert Creeley, in addition to people who would become notable in other fields, such as radical feminist Andrea Dworkin and civil rights lawyer Harvey A. Silverglate (who would become Dorfman's husband). She has also photographed staples of the Boston rock scene such as Jonathan Richman frontman of The Modern Lovers, and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
Elsa Dorfman earned a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature at Tufts University (1959) and a Master of Arts in Education at Boston College (1962).
Elsa Dorfman takes photographs mainly of her family and friends; also self-portraits and portraits of women. She is known for her portraits of the American poets Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley. Elsa Dorfman moved to New York City in 1959 and found a job as a secretary to the editors at Grove Press, a leading Beat publisher. In 1963, she began working for the Educational Development Corporation whose photographer, George Cope, introduced her to photography in June 1965.
From 1972 to 1974 Elsa Dorfman was a fellow at Harvard University's Bunting Institute.