Walker Evans, an American photographer, was best known for his documentary photographs of the effects of the Great Depression on the country. His most famous photograph was of Allie Mae Burroughs, the wife of one of the families on whom he focused his work during this period. In 1940, shortly after the completion of SAB, Wheaton commissioned Evans to photograph the campus for a viewbook. The photographic series was meant to document the campus and draw visitors and students to Wheaton. In the book’s introduction, President J. Edgar Park noted that Evans’ photos visually express “Old Ideals and New Horizons,” a phrase coined by President Samuel Valentine Cole to describe the goals of the (then) new Wheaton College. What is most interesting about these photographs is that few people are included in them, which lend the images a timeless quality, and harkens back to the emptiness depicted in Evans’s photographs of the Great Depression.
-Mell Scalzi, Class of 2009
For more information about the photographer and to view Evans’ photographs of the campus in full, please visit Old Ideals and New Horizons: Wheaton Photographs by Walker Evans, another student-designed digital exhibit located on the Wheaton Archives’ website.