Edd & Bertha Kelley

Accession Number

Edd & Bertha Kelley

Mike Disfarmer

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
circa 1940

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper

3 in x 5 in (7.62 cm x 12.7 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Agah, Class of 1989 (BBA)

Subject matter
Mike Disfarmer, originally named Mike Meyer, owned and operated a portrait studio in rural Heber Springs, Arkansas between 1926 and his death in 1959. Often considered an eccentric man, Disfarmer changed his name after his mother’s death to dissociate himself from his roots. He believed that a tornado had uprooted him as an infant and that he landed with the Meyer family, a name he believed meant “farmer” in German. His photographs were discovered in his studio before it was demolished following his death, and purchased for five dollars. They were later offered to the Arkansas Sun and shared with Modern Photography, which lead to the production of a major book and exhibition in 1976 and 1977. Disfarmer’s images have since gained more attention and praise for documenting and offering rare insight into a small, rural town.

Physical Description
A portrait of a seated couple. A man sits on the left, his arm around a woman to the right. She wears a ribbon in her hair. Both wear light-colored, short-sleeved shirts.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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double portraits
men (male humans)
studio portraits
women (female humans)

8 Related Resources

(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
Exploring Gender and Sexuality
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Photographic Portraiture 1900-1948
(Part of: Identity and Self-Understanding)
Race, Gender, Class, and American Identity
(Part of 11 Learning Collections)
Intimacy, Care, and Desire
(Part of: Masculinities)

& Author Notes

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