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

Marian Furman, editor

NewSouth Books
978-1-58838-263-4
$29.95 hardcover
8 x 9
208 pages
Matthew Mason, introduction
Dr. Harvey Jackson III, foreword
July 1, 2014

Through a Woman’s Eye presents an evocative collection of 100 black-and-white photographs made just after the turn of the 20th century by Edith Morgan of Camden, Alabama. Educated locally before attending the Chicago Art Institute, Morgan 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, herself a professional photographer from Camden, discovered an album containing Morgan’s photographs of her friends, her students, and local black residents. The latter, although somewhat stereotypical of photographs made of blacks at the time, are sympathetic; they reveal the humanity of Morgan’s subjects.

Three essays accompany the photographs and put them in the context of time and place. Furman also gives a description of the socioeconomic and political conditions in Morgan’s Camden and gives biographical information about the Morgan family. Professor Jackson’s introductory essay presents a personal memory, while Dr. Mason of Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library presents additional biographical information and an assessment of Morgan’s photographs, comparing her work to that of contemporary—especially other female—photographers.