The University of Louisville Photographic Archives kicks off a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary with an exhibit and talk on the 1937 Ohio River flood.
“75th Anniversary of the 1937 Flood” will open with a reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 26—nearly 75 years to the day that the Ohio River crested in Louisville at a record 30.4 feet above flood stage. The reception will be outside of the Photographic Archives gallery, east wing, lower level, Ekstrom Library.
Historian Robert Reid, retired provost and history professor at University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, will talk about the flood and its impact on Louisville and the surrounding area that night at 6, in the library’s Chao Auditorium. His talk is titled “20th Century Katrina: Great Flood of 1937.” He plans to discuss the flood’s magnitude, how it compares with other floods of that century (1913, 1927 and 1993) and the Farm Security Association’s photographic coverage of the flood. Reid has used Photographic Archives’ collection for his research since the 1980s.
Photographic Archives has more than 1,000 photos of the flood from local photographic studios and from residents who donated photos and memorabilia during and since the flood’s 50th anniversary.
The exhibit will include Photographic Archives’ holdings—such as aerial photos taken by the Indiana Air National Guard—and photos obtained from Getty Images that renowned photographer Margaret Bourke-White took for Life magazine. It also will include photos that Louisvillian Corwin Short shot of Bourke-White at work while she was in Louisville. Short acted as Bourke-White’s guide at the behest of Mayor Neville Miller.
“This is a different way of looking at the flood,” said longtime UofL photo archivist Bill Carner.
Exhibit hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays through March 9. Admission is free.
The Photographic Archives’ holdings of 2 million documentary images and fine art prints provide a resource for scholars, media, authors and filmmakers, as well as inspiration for photographers and other artists.