‘America By Another Name’

Photographer Francis Smith spent more than four years capturing a broad swath of American life by visiting places called Columbia. While the name is still ubiquitous, many Americans today aren’t aware that for more than 200 years, Lady Columbia was a popular historical meme “representing nationalism and welcoming immigrants,” according to historian Ellen Berg.

Francis Smith

Columbia, Iowa

Jan. 31, 2016

/Francis Smith

Pendleton, Ore. (Columbia River basin)

Sept. 19, 2015

/Francis Smith

Washington, D.C.

July 4, 2014

/Francis Smith

Columbia, Iowa

Feb. 1, 2016

/Francis Smith

West Columbia, Tex.

May 4, 2017

/Francis Smith

Columbia, Tenn.

Dec. 23, 2012

/Francis Smith

The ferry MV Columbia in Alaska

June 20, 2015

/Francis Smith

Astoria, Ore. (by the Columbia River)

July 5, 2015

/Francis Smith

Washington, D.C.

July 4, 2014

/Francis Smith

Astoria, Ore. (by the Columbia River)

Aug. 1, 2015

/Francis Smith

Astoria, Ore. (by the Columbia River)

July 28, 2015

/Francis Smith

Columbia Geneva Mines in Wyoming

Aug. 24, 2016

/Francis Smith

Washington, D.C.

June 7, 2014

/Francis Smith

Columbia, Tenn.

April 3, 2014

/Francis Smith

By the Columbia River in Oregon

May 26, 2019

/Francis Smith

After photographing hundreds of people whom he met on his journeys, Smith plans to produce a photo book and an accompanying multimedia performance called “America by Another Name,” which he hopes to take on the road starting in late 2020. “We are all heirs,” he says, “to the liberty and American identity for which Columbia once stood ... the values that unite us.”

Francis Smith