Annemarie Schwarzenbach | The South, 1937

Annemarie Schwarzenbach‘s most famous journeys took her East, but in 1937 she travelled through the southern states of the US, still suffering from the Depression and divided by segregation. Schwarzenbach took photographer Barbara Wright (seen in the first photo) along for the ride. The images are full of telling detail, such as the prison washing line where even the clothes form a chain gang, or the cinema hoarding advertising ‘Damaged Lives’.

Further reading
Ravaged angel
Three shows
Where have all the Flowers gone?
Strange Flowers guide to Berlin: part 4
Schwarzenbach in English


  1. butterscotchclouds

    I was born a little ways south of Knoxville. To travel down in the mountains there is intimidating now, even knowing the area. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for two obviously queer women from more refined shores in the ’30s!

    I get quite mad thinking about all of Annemarie’s untranslated/unpublished/destroyed by her mother works, and also quite mad at her bicycle.

  2. Alex M.

    One of the photos is of the post office in Gruetli, Tennessee. Wikipedia says: “Gruetli-Laager is a city in Grundy County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 1,813 at the 2010 census…” Definitions of the word “city” obviously differ. There’s a photo there of the post office today.

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  5. Deborah Lockwood

    Thanks for the information and especially these photographs. I am just now discovering Annemarie Schwarzenbach. In fact I’ve been asked to translate an excerpt from the article The Shadow Side of Knoxville (published Dec. 1937 in Basel) into English, if nothing previous exists. Do you know?

    • Hi – I’m not that familiar with Schwarzenbach’s journalistic work, and I wasn’t actually aware of the article you cite so I’m afraid I can’t point you to any earlier work on the same subject.

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