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Roy Emerson Stryker Edit Profile

economist , Government official , and photographer

Roy Emerson Stryker was an American economist, government official, and photographer. He is most famous for heading the Information Division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) during the Great Depression and launching the documentary photography movement of the FSA.


Roy Emerson Stryker was born in 1882 in Great Bend, Kansas, United States.


He graduated from Columbia University in New York City in 1924.


After serving in World War I, Stryker finished his education at Columbia and stayed on as an economics teacher. From 1935 to 1943 he was chief of the historical section of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and directed the photographers who documented America during the Depression. He later headed similar projects for the Office of War Information, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, the University of Pittsburgh Photo Library, the Technical Cooperation Administration and the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company. Later he worked as an independent consultant. From 1950 to 1952, Stryker worked to establish the Pittsburgh Photographic Library (PPL). After leaving the PPL, Stryker directed a documentation project at Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation.

Under Stryker's direction such stellar figures as Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Arthur Rothstein, Russell Lee, Jack Delano, Marion Post Wolcott, John Vachon, Gordon Parks and Walker Evans produced a collection of 130,000 prints, some of which were exhibited in the 1955 "Family of Man" show and some in a 1962 show at the Museum of Modern Art.


  • PUBLICATIONS Books: Roy Stryker: The Humane Propagandist, James C. Anderson, ed., 1977; In This Proud Land, w/Nancy Wood, 1973; lust Before the War, w/Arthur Rothstein &. John Vachon, 1968.