Photography and The American Scene

So earlier today I  made a post about books in my collection.  Specifically I posed information about books of work by Timothy O’Sullivan.  Since I am slowly packing in preparation to move my operations to Cleveland Ohio I am “rediscovering” books on my shelves or which have hidden themselves in odd places.  For anyone interested in the early history of American photography, the book pictured above by Robert Taft should be in your collection.  Although the image reproduction is horrible, each chapter includes the names of photographers and information that you will not find in most modern photo history text.  One of the most interesting aspects of the book for me is that the author personally met with, or otherwise communicated with many important historical figures, or people close to them to compile the information presented.  Because of this the history feels much closer and personal.

This book was first printed in 1938 (I think), with the second printing taking place in 1942 followed later in paperback during the 1960s by Dover Press.  Many of these later versions can be found in good condition and for very little money.  I think the book made another appearance in the 1980s but I have not done any research on that.  My copy, which is the 60s version like the one shown above, was found buried in the basement of a used book store in Massachusetts about five years ago.

-Table of Contents-

INTRODUCTION
I “THEIR EXQUISITE PERFECTION ALMOST TRANSCENDS THE BOUNDS OF SOBER BELIEF”
II FIRST PORTRAITS AND FIRST GALLERIES
III THE ERA OF THE DAGUERREOTYPE
IV DAGUERREOTYPES AND THE PUBLIC
V DAGUERREOTYPY AT ITS ZENITH
VI PHOTOGRAPHY
VII THE AMBROTYPE
VIII THE FAMILY ALBUM
IX THE TINTYPE
X THE STEREOSCOPE
XI “BOSTON AS THE EAGLE AND THE WILD GOOSE SEE IT”
XII REAL AMATEURS
XIII CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHERS
XIV PHOTOGRAPHING THE FRONTIER: FIRST PHASE
XV PHOTOGRAPHING THE FRONTIER: SECOND PHASE
XVI THE CABINET PHOTOGRAPH
XVII KURTZ, SARONY, AND MORA
XVIII A NEW AGE
XIX THE FLEXIBLE FILM
XX ZOOPRAXISCOPES AND LESS WORDY INNOVATIONS
XXI PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE PICTORIAL PRESS
APPENDIX
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND NOTES
INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS
TO TEXT AND NOTES
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~ by Phil Nesmith on December 8, 2012.

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