The Photo League was established in New York by Paul Strand and Berenice Abbot in 1936. Its initial purpose was to provide the radical press with photographs of trade union activities and political protests. Later the group decided to organize local projects where members concentrated on photographing working class communities.
Open to both professional and amateur photographers, the Photo League provided lectures and exhibition space. Members included Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Marion Palfi, Marjory Collins, Mary Post Wolcott and Barbara Morgan.
Like the Arts Students League, the Photo League was investigated by the House of Un-American Activities Committee during the late 1940s. This led to members being blacklisted and Paul Strand decided to leave the United States and live in France. The Photo League closed down in 1951.