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Emblems of Woe
The South might have been expected to cheer Lincoln’s death, but the reaction there was more ...
Learning the Great River
Mark Twain recalls his adventures—and misadventures—in learning to be a pilot on the Mississippi.
Putting America on Wheels
Reflecting on his success, the hero of mass production talks about his refusal to conduct business ...
Ashes of Soldiers
Walt Whitman’s record of ministering to young wounded soldiers offers one of the tenderest accounts of ...
The Solitude of Self
A champion of women's rights and the intellectual powerhouse of the woman's movement distills her most ...
The Color Line
Four essays, provocative and often poetic, about the black experience in America and the quest for ...
How the 1956 Hungarian Revolution offers a textbook portrait of an uprising against autocratic power.
Abstraction and Utopia
Hilton Kramer's exploration of abstract art's early ties to utopian ...
The Story of a Photograph
Walker Evans, Ellie Mae Burroughs, and the Great Depression
Although the Great Depression brought suffering to the cities in equal measure, the images of rural poverty and despair remain the more searing memories of the worst economic collapse in American history. This is largely due to the small band of photographers who recorded the miseries of the poor, under the auspices of the New Deal’s Farm Security Administration. Notable among them were Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Walker Evans. The story that Jerry Thompson tells here is of Evans’s iconic photograph of Ellie Mae Burroughs of Hale County, Alabama. Evans made it while working with James Agee on assignment from Fortune magazine. It is not only a great picture technically but has become a memorable symbol of difficult times. How it came to be, and what consequences it provoked, make for a fascinating tale.
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