Melissa A. McEuen

Seeing America

“This vibrant and penetrating study. . . . opens a window on American culture between the world wars.” —Publishers Weekly
Seeing America explores the camera work of five women who directed their visions toward influencing social policy and cultural theory. Taken together, they visually articulated the essential ideas occupying the American consciousness in the years between the world wars.
Melissa McEuen examines the work of Doris Ulmann, who made portraits of celebrated artists in urban areas and lesser-known craftspeople in rural places; Dorothea Lange, who magnified human dignity in the midst of poverty and unemployment; Marion Post Wolcott, a steadfast believer in collective strength as the antidote to social ills and the best defense against future challenges; Margaret Bourke-White, who applied avant-garde advertising techniques in her exploration of the human condition; and Berenice Abbott, a devoted observer of the continuous motion and chaotic energy that characterized the modern cityscape.
Combining feminist biography with analysis of visual texts, McEuen considers the various prisms though which each woman saw and revealed America.
Winner of the 1999 Emily Toth Award for the best feminist study of popular culture given by the Women’s Caucus of the Popular Culture Association.
“A rich resource for anyone interested in the history of photography, women’s history, and American history in general.” —Bloomsbury Review
“A valiant, well-researched effort to bridge the history of visual culture with American social and political history.” —Journal of American History
“The best books always leave their audience wanting more. That is certainly true of this gem of a work.” —Library Journal (starred review).
516 printed pages
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