Left to right, Shorty Goff, Harvey Goff & Deb Goff

Accession Number

Left to right, Shorty Goff, Harvey Goff & Deb Goff

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 Thomas Wilson '79 and Jill Garling '80

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 three seated men. On the left, an older man sits with his hands clasped in his lap. In the center, a man in naval uniform sits with his arms around both men. On the right, a third man sits with his hands in his lap. All three wear hats and smile.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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families (kinship groups)
group portraits
men (male humans)
military uniforms
studio portraits

4 Related Resources

Photographic Portraiture in the 19th Century
(Part of: Identity and Self-Understanding)
Work and Workers
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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