“HIS WORK CHANGED, AS WELL AS DOCUMENTED, HISTORY”: ORIGINAL LARGE EUGENE SMITH PHOTOGRAPH OF TRUMAN THE DAY AFTER HIS 1948 VICTORY
SMITH, W. Eugene. Large Original Photograph of Harry Truman at the St. Louis Whistle-Stop the Day after His Victory. Taken on November 3rd for the Life Magazine Essay of November 15, 1948. Original silver gelatin photograph, measuring 9-1/2 by 14 inches. $1800.
Vintage photograph by W. Eugene Smith of Harry Truman for Life’s “photo essay” on the President, with Life stamp of ownership on the verso.
Smith began his career in his teens, supplying photographs to his local newspaper in Wichita, Kansas. “Advancing to national magazines, he rapidly acquired an international reputation for his bold photographs of the Second World War in the Pacific. While on the staff of Life magazine, Smith produced the classic photographic essays, ‘Country Doctor,’ ‘Spanish Village,’ and ‘Nurse Midwife.’ With these three features he set a new standard for evocative picture stories” (Frizot, 633). Of his own work, Smith writes: “through the passion given into my photographs (no matter how quiet) I would call out for a spiritualization that would create strength and purpose.” “A heroic figure in American photography, Smith created photo essays so compelling in their power that it can be said his work changed, as well as documented, history” (McDarrah & McDarrah, 457). This original photograph of Harry Truman was taken on November 3, 1948 at the famous St. Louis whistle-stop (during which Truman held up the newspaper headline “Dewey Defeats Truman”— not in this picture). This picture was part of the Life magazine photo essay appearing on November 15th.
Two light surface creases into right margin (not affecting subjects). A fine historic picture.