Jack Delano was an Ukrainian-born American documentary photographer, who emigrated as a child with his parents to Philadelphia, where he studied the violin and viola. Travelling in Europe in the early 1930s while at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, he bought a camera to record his visit. After his return, the Works Progress Administration Federal Arts Program sponsored his photographic documentation of bootleg miners extracting coal from closed Pennsylvania anthracite mines; when Paul Strand saw Delano’s resulting exhibition he introduced him to Roy Stryker, who hired him for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) project in 1940; Delano later followed Stryker to the Office of War Information (OWI). Among his best-known FSA-OWI photographs are his 1943 documentation of the Atcheson, Topeka & Santa Fe wartime rail service between Chicago and Los Angeles. In 1946 Delano and his wife returned to Puerto Rico, where they had gone on an FSA assignment in 1941. Much of his later photography (e.g. ‘Puerto Rico mio,’ 1990) testifies to his love for the island and its people. In addition to running Puerto Rican Educational Television he taught music and made films.
Jack Delano, Boyd Jones and His Sister Saying Their Prayers, Green County, Silver gelatin print, Overall: 26 x 21 x 1 1/2in. (66 x 53.3 x 3.8cm), Collection of Art in Embassies, Washington, D.C.; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information [FSA/OWI] Photograph Collection