10 April 2008
The Inhabitants. New York and London: Charles Scribners's Sons, 1946.
Quarto (279 x 228 mm). 52 black and white photographs. Original pale-green cloth, spine lettered in black, front cover stamped in blind, black endpapers; original illustrated dust-jacket (price-clipped, some chips and wear at the extremities, some small repairs from verso, front panel darkened near some edges); cloth folding box. Provenance: Peter C. Bunnell, photo historian and scholar of American photography (inscription from Morris; stamp).
FIRST EDITION. AN EXCELLENT ASSOCIATION COPY INSCRIBED BY MORRIS TO PETER BUNNELL: "This book is for Peter -- with thanks for his eyes in the camera obscura and his reflections on the pictures we make of the facts. His man in the corn belt, Wright. PS. Also I thank him for coming. Lincoln, 11-7-75". Morris taught at Princeton in 1972, where Bunnell had just been appointed to the Chair of the History of Photography and Modern Art. His inscription refers to Bunnell and Morris working together in Princeton's darkroom, making prints of Morris's work -- the first after a hiatus of 20 years. In 1975 Morris went to the University of Nebraska as visiting professor, where a major retrospective of his work was organized, and where Bunnell delivered a lecture on Morris's photography -- for which Morris thanks him in this inscription. Morris won a Guggenheim Fellowship to fund The Inhabitants -- only the second ever awarded for photography (Edward Weston took the first, in 1937). Thomas Mann remarked of this work: "what these courageous pictures show is the harsh beauty of ugliness, the romanticism of the commonplace, the poetry of the unpoetical" (quoted in 101 Books). 101 Books, pp.122-23; Associations, pp.34-5; Regards à travers le livre 88 ("probably his nicest book").
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