“POOR PEOPLE GET PASSED BY”: YOU HAVE SEEN THEIR FACES, 1937, INSCRIBED BY BOURKE-WHITE
BOURKE-WHITE, Margaret and CALDWELL, Erskine. You Have Seen Their Faces. New York: Modern Age Books, (1937). Quarto, original photographic stiff paper covers. $4200.
Scarce soft-bound Modern Age edition (published same year as cloth-bound first), inscribed on the half title, “For Mr. Jack Meike, Cordially Margaret Bourke-White,” a pioneering classic with 75 deep photogravures of the Dust Bowl by Bourke-White and text by novelist Erskine Caldwell.
“This ‘word-and-picture portrait of the share-cropping South’ told the truth in both text and image about a reality hidden to most Americans at the time” (Roth, 94). As one of Life magazine’s first photojournalists, Margaret Bourke-White “helped create and define the look of picture magazines in the United States.” During the Dust Bowl, her skillful wedding of two seemingly incompatible styles, a “hard-edged theatrical style partaking of the machine-age esthetic… [and a] no-nonsense style indebted to the Farm Security Administration’s photography project. [She brought] into high relief the disparity between industrial society and those displaced by it” (New York Times). “The most commercially successful of American documentary photobooks… and one of the most controversial,” the highly influential You Have Seen Their Faces was a collaboration with Bourke-White’s future husband, writer Erskine Caldwell (Parr & Badger I:122, 140). As issued without dust jacket. See Open Book, 124.
Interior fine, lightest edge-wear, minimal rubbing to spine ends of bright fragile paper covers. A near-fine copy, scarce inscribed.