U of L Photo Exhibit to Recall 1937 Flood

by Rick Howlett on January 17, 2012

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the University of Louisville Photographic Archives, a resource that contains some two million images.

The milestone coincides with the 75th anniversary of the 1937 Ohio River flood, which is the focus of the archive’s first exhibit of the year.

Bill Carner has been the archive’s photo wrangler for more than 30 years. He says there’s a wealth of images and other items from the ’37 flood in private collections, some of which made it into the exhibit.

Renowned photographer Margaret Bourke-White came to Louisville to document the disaster for Life Magazine. Mayor Neville Miller appointed a local man, Corwin Short, to be her guide.

Bill Carner says Short also brought his camera.

“So we have pictures of Margaret Bourke-White taking pictures. We thought we’d pair that up with the Life Magazine stuff. There’s the famous shot of the relief line in front of the billboard for Ford. It says ‘world’s highest standard of living’ on the top of the billboard. So it’s loaded with irony,” he said.

Carner says there are also some rarely seen aerial photographs of the flood.

The exhibit is free and runs from January 26 through March 9 at U of L’s Eckstrom Library.

(Photo courtesy of University of Louisville Photographic Archives)

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