The fruits of the book buying frenzy are starting to arrive
Bristol, Horace. Japan. Second edition, 1951— originally published in Japan in 1948
Innovative folio of 14-16 page pamphlets bound together in a wrap-around case with bone closures. Booklets are photo stories on different topics. A great score! Reproduction quality is poor, but it exemplifies the “collector” stance of photography.
Anderson, Sherwood. Home Town. 1940, first edition.
Second in the “Faces of America” series edited by Edwin Rosskelly, this book uses FSA photographs to explore the tensions between rural and urban America, promoting community spirit against individualism. Incredibly easy to read, almost of children's book level. Rosskelly's afterward could easily be used as a capsule statement of the American romantic / pragmatic view. The majority of the photos are from Marion Post Wolcott, and the rhetoric of image positioning, captioning, and tie-in to the primary text is masterful.
Asch, Berta and A. R. Mangus. Farmers on Relief and Rehabilitation. WPA 1971 reprint of 1937 publication.
Holley, William C., Ellen Winston, and T. J. Wooft. The Plantation South 1934-1937. WPA 1971 reprint of 1940 publication.
Melvin, Bruce L. and Elna N. Smith. Youth in Agricultural Villages. WPA 1971 reprint of 1940 publication.
All three of these books are from the 26 volume series from the WPA Division of Social Research, all are illustrated by FSA photographs. Massive use of charts, tables, and diagrams. The “scientific” approach to the problem, deeply contrasted with the persuasive approach. Most photos lack credits or captions.
Stange, Maren. Symbols of Ideal Life: Social Documentary Photography in America 1890-1950. Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Studies of the use of photography by social reform movements. Thin, but well annotated. From Riis to Robert Frank, lionizing Frank of course. Notable section on an economics textbook designed by Stryker and Tugwell in the 20s— a hollow spot in my research thus far.