Through a Woman's Eye: The Early 20th Century Photography of Alabama's Edith Morgan

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NewSouth Books, May 8, 2015 - Photography - 160 pages
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Through a Woman's Eye presents an evocative collection of a hundred black and white photographs made by Edith Morgan of Camden, a small town in Wilcox County, Alabama, just after the turn of the twentieth century. Morgan was educated locally before attending the School of the Chicago Art Institute. Subsequently she returned to Camden where she spent the remainder of her life teaching art. She also taught illiterate blacks and whites to read. 

Thirty years ago, Marian Furman, also of Camden and herself a professional photographer, discovered an album made by Morgan of photographs of her friends, students, and local African Americans. The latter, although somewhat stereotypical of photographs of blacks at the time, are sympathetic; they reveal the humanity of Morgan's subjects. 

This volume collects Morgan's photographs, along with essays that put them in the context of time and place. Professor Hardy Jackson's essay presents a personal memory. Furman describes socioeconomic and political conditions in Wilcox County and offers biographical information on the Morgan family. Dr. Matthew Mason of Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library presents additional biographical information and offers a critical assessment of Morgan's photographs, comparing her work to that of contemporary photographers, especially her female peers.


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About the author (2015)

Marian Perdue Furman was born and raised in the Black Belt of Alabama. She is a wife of fifty-nine years, a mother of ten, and a grandmother of twenty-seven. Amazingly, despite the demands of raising a large family, she found time to work as a professional photographer. Her special interest in fine-art black-and-white photography led her to appreciate and preserve the photographic legacy of Edith Morgan.

Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson III grew up in Grove Hill, Alabama. He taught at colleges and universities in Florida and Georgia and until his recent retirement was Jacksonville State University Professor and Eminent Scholar in History. Jackson is the author, co-author, or co-editor of eleven books on various aspects of Southern history. 

Matthew Daniel Mason is an archivist responsible for processing photographs and other visual resources at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. In addition to his archival work, Mason teaches courses in history and the history of photography at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

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