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Photos with Social Importance: Life Today in U.S. places called Columbia (America's old poetic name)
Francis Smith
Email Verified
Columbia Heights, District of Columbia
United States
1 Team Member

This campaign has finished, and tax-deductible donations may still be made using this link:


Columbia leads the way.

A Thorough Portrait of America Today

America By Another Name is a photo portrait of American Life Today as found in places throughout the US called by the name Columbia.

Poets and songwriters made Columbia America's alternate name even before the Declaration of Independence. Miss Columbia was our goddess of Liberty, and "Hail, Columbia" was our de facto national anthem.

Columbia symbolized our hopes and dreams for what we'd become as a nation, making it the perfect lens for exploring American life today.

Like the New Deal photographers during the tumultuous 1930s, I document our own extraordinary times for a wide-ranging photo exhibition, ancillary videos, essays, and resulting book.

I'm Francis Smith, and my photography is published nationally. America By Another Name is well established, and I know the project and its needs. In 2015, I'm going all-in with many months of travel to finish photography by year's end. 

Telling Columbia's story, no matter what

The story of Columbia, both past and present, is important to us all, and I'm hitting the road to tell it, no matter what. 

This is an opportunity for you to join in the voicing of this narrative.

With my photos, I'm doing my part to show the humanity that unites us all. Please join this effort by making a tax-deductible donation today.

Taking responsibility for what I've been given

As an artist, I'm motivated by my inner-drive to create, and to share the ideas that I find. From where come these ideas can seem a mystery.

Having long had the desire to have a show of my photography, I searched for a theme and found Columbia. My ambition remains, and Columbia has taken over.

Truly, the Columbia name's history deserves exploration and presentation, and we need a broad and deep photo portrait of American life today.

I'm taking responsibility for this idea that came to me, and I ask for your donation to speed the path to presentation.

Knowing that friends, family, and those I've yet to meet, support this project enough to make a donation will mean a great deal to me when I'm far from home for so many months, gathering materials to show you our lives as we live now.

Your donation is tax-deductible

During the 1930s, the various federal agencies paid for photographers to do this documenting. Now it's up to you directly.

America By Another Name is sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a registered 501c3. When you help, Uncle Sam helps out– because your donation is be tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

To maximize your tax deduction, give without claiming a premium. 

Donating with a premium in return? Please consider adding to your donation the amount equal to the non-tax-deductible amount noted-- this will cover my premium expenses, and maximize the impact of your gift to support this project.

Here is an image from 1852 in honor of two upcoming observances– Presidents Day, and St.Valentine's Day. Shown is presidential candidate Daniel Webster being rebuffed by Miss Columbia.

Because Miss Columbia was seen as representing the American people and their values, presidential candidates were thought of as seeking her hand in marriage. Even as late as 1960, a political wag described JFK as courting Lady Columbia.

Images of American Life Today

America By Another Name is about people of all income and educational levels, of any ethnicity, religion or politics; those descended from Native Americans, European colonists, African slaves, on up to those who have just arrived. 

America By Another Name speaks to our shared humanity, without judgement. Please view some examples here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/america-by-another-name#gallery

In the recent past my schedule-limited Columbia journey's have rendered results of which I'm proud. There's much more story to be told, and I've cleared my 2015 schedule to tell it.

Please help with a generous donation and by spreading the word!

50 Columbias / 33 states / all in 2015

The name Columbia spread throughout American culture during the War for Independence, and then Americans named their locales this beloved name.

I've chosen places across the whole United States to show as broad a social and cultural range as possible. 

I will visit towns, cities, counties, and a whole region called by the name Columbia. Not stopping there, I seek out corporations, associations, and even a US Navy submarine, all bearing the name Columbia.

Read about the places I have ALREADY visited here: http://columbia.francissmith.info/?p=1620

My ride is here...

Venus as the evening star, personified at left as Hesperus or Hesper, has been a symbol for the lure of Westward Expansion since the Ancient Greeks. Miss Columbia wears this symbol on her diadem. And the minivan that I'm outfitting for as-needed camping? 

It's now called The Hesper. 

Teamwork and perseverance

I have arranged my life so that I may travel for America By Another Name for a full eight to nine months. I will travel four weeks,  then "rest" for two weeks (i.e., do my magazine work, be with family and friends), travel four weeks, etc. 

Any funds I raise will be spent on lodging, gas, food, and incidentals. If any funds remain, they will facilitate the arduous task of editing such a large body of work.

Could I do this alone? So far this has been mostly self-funded. But this is about more than me– there's a history, and a story of modern life, that need telling. 

This is about Columbia's call. Knowing that you're answering that call too will make these American roads a little sunnier.

Video-shorts on Columbia's rise and fall

Accompanying the photo exhibition will be short videos detailing how Columbia became our nation's alternate name, and how it disappeared from all but our maps. 

Why was our nation's capital given the name, and why Columbia University? How did Miss Columbia come to be? Where'd she go? Why was "Hail, Columbia" our de factor national anthem? 

Information from these videos, along with the occasional essays from my blog, will all be combined into the book about Columbia, as history, and as a place for American life today.

Perks / premiums

America By Another Name is my passion, and my day job is amazingly fun: I get to photograph the homes of people who collect American art for three magazines about the same! 

The photos below are examples from one home. And the photographs on the walls? These are my work too. 

In fact, these are the four images that comprise the prints given as a premium, and the note card set, too. The prints for display are ink-printed on archival rag paper in Brooklyn. 

The top-end premium, my services to photograph YOUR home with the same care I give to the homes for the magazine, is also available.

Old Patent Office

8.5 x 11 -- 20 of 20 remain // 11 x 14 -- 10 of 10 remain // 22.5 x 30 -- 5 of 5 remain

National City Church 

8.5 x 11 -- 20 of 20 remain // 11 x 14 -- 10 of 10 remain // 22.5 x 30 -- 5 of 5 remain

Masonic Temple

8.5 x 11 -- 20 of 20 remain // 11 x 14 -- 10 of 10 remain // 22.5 x 30 -- 5 of 5 remain

National Gallery

8.5 x 11 -- 20 of 20 remain // 11 x 14 -- 10 of 10 remain // 22.5 x 30 -- 5 of 5 remain

About me

It's with gratitude and pride that I use my Vassar College art history degree everyday of my life and career: I get to photograph, for publication, the homes of folk who collect American art! 

My view of the world is enlivened by my fascination with the workings of nature, human society, the human mind, and how these all conspire in the world of art.

Born and raised in Connecticut, my American roots run deep: my ancestors, who eventually fought on both sides of the War for Independence and the Civil War, settled here in the New Netherland, Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and Virginia colonies.

Some of these Virginians later helped settle Columbia, Tennessee. Both Dutch and Hessian-turned-Patriot ancestors settled Columbia County, New York, and one of my great-grandfathers was football coach at Columbia University.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 80 people in 2 months
74% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$15,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on February 16, 2015
In partnership with
Select a Perk
  • $25USD
    A Postcard from Columbia

    You'll receive a postcard from my long road-trip, with a note of thanks and a bit of news about my project. Missive will be sent from the Columbia River Valley, the District of Columbia, or Columbia, California. (amount over $2 is tax-deductible)

    9 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2015
  • $50USD
    Your Photo - in Columbia

    Send me a hi-res JPG file of your photo, and I'll photograph it in front of a distinctive view of the District of Columbia, the Columbia River Valley, or Columbia, California. Does a different Columbia catch your fancy instead? Run it by me and we just might be able to make it work. You will receive a hi-res file back for you to post or print as you wish, up to 12 x 18. (amount over $5 is tax-deductible)

    2 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2015
  • $120USD
    Note Cards of Architecture

    Note cards featuring photographic details of the Classical architecture of the District of Columbia. Images found at left. Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Quantity: 20 cards / envelopes, boxed Blank interior (amount over $20 is tax-deductible)

    2 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2015
  • $250USD
    Architectural Details - Small

    8.5 x 11 inch image size with approximately a half inch border. Archival rag paper and archival inks. Only 20 prints of any one of the four images is available for this size. Number of prints remaining are updated daily above images at left. (amount over $50 is tax-deductible)

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2015
  • $500USD
    Architectural Details - Medium

    11 x 14 inch image size with approximately one inch border. Archival rag paper and archival inks. Only ten prints of any one of the four images is available for this size. Number of prints remaining are updated daily above images at left (amount over $60 is tax-deductible)

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2015
  • $1,000USD
    Architectural Details - Large

    22.5 x 30 inch image size with approximately one inch border. Archival rag paper and archival inks. Only five prints of any one of the four images is available for this size. Number of prints remaining are updated daily above images at left. (amount over $240 is tax-deductible)

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2015
  • $2,500USD
    A Day of Art with Francis

    Spend a day with me at one of America's major art museums to look at art through the eyes of an artist and photographer! My qualifications: created and taught a three session curriculum on "reading" works of art for Westport, CT Continuing Ed.; studied art history at Vassar College; photograph homes of art collectors. For up to five people. City is negotiable. Only the my time is included here. My reasonable expenses of transportation and accommodation to be reimbursed, depending on city.

    0 out of 4 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Magazine Style Your Home

    I will come to your home and spend the day photographing it, giving it the magazine treatment! One portrait set-up included. Donor will receive images delivered on CD or via download. Light styling and photographic results vary from home to home. Eight images of your choice will be fully retouched, with balance as is. All expenses related to travel are responsibility of recipient.

    0 out of 4 claimed
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