Barbara Morgan Monograph, Presentation and Association Copy
Morgan, Barbara. BARBARA MORGAN. A Morgan & Morgan Monograph.[Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.]: Morgan & Morgan, . 159 pages. Original maroon cloth with gilt spine and cover lettering. Illustrated with 124 black & white photographs. [27.3 cm.] A very good copy in about very good dust jacket. Light wear to the spine ends; spine is a little cocked. The jacket has wear to the head of the spine panel; several short, closed tears with neat mends on the verso; two tiny, inconspicuous chips (upper corner of the rear panel and upper corner of the rear flap); and some creasing to the margins of the flaps.
FIRST EDITION. PRESENTATION INSCRIPTION SIGNED BY BARBARA MORGAN on the half-title. It reads: "For Julie Arden, with love, Barbara Morgan, 5-6-1973." Julie Arden (1913-2003) was a social worker, playwright, and actress. She was also the longtime domestic partner of Charlotte Brooks (1919-2014), a noted photographer who got her start as a student of Barbara Morgan. Brooks worked as a photojournalist at Look magazine from 1951 to 1971. She was the only woman employed by the magazine as a full-time staff photographer. Some of her most interesting subjects included Duke Ellington (she toured with him in 1955 and reported on his band's struggles with racial segregation in the South), Fats Domino, Minnijean Brown (one of the Little Rock Nine), and Ed Sullivan. The formative event in Brooks' professional life was her informal apprenticeship with Barbara Morgan at Morgan's home in Scarsdale, New York in the fall of 1942. Starting as Morgan's assistant, Brooks quickly fell in love with taking pictures herself and decided to devote herself to photography. Before joining the staff at Look, she worked as Gjon Mili's assistant (1943) and on Roy Stryker's team for his Standard Oil Photography Project (1944-1946). Brooks met her lifetime companion, Julie Arden, in the summer of 1941. Arden helped promote Brooks as a photographer, writing a piece about her for Popular Photography in 1945 ("Girl on Assignment"), and she often traveled with her on freelance projects. She and Brooks later co-founded the White Pond Center, a community arts center near Holmes, New York (1976).
The book also bears a PRESENTATION INSCRIPTION BY JULIE ARDEN to her niece. It reads: "To Joh, with love & sincere wishes for your creative fulfillment, D.E.M. 2/6/74." The initials stand for "Divine Earth Mother," her niece's affectionate name for her. Her niece was Jo Maeder, who became one of the earliest women disc jockeys on American Top 40 radio when she joined South Florida's Y100 in 1977. There she was known on-air as "The Madame" and in the 1980's she gained fame on New York stations as "The Rock & Rock Madame." More recently, she has written several books including the memoir, "When I Married My Mother" (2009), and the autobiographical novel, "Naked DJ" (2016).
Also included (laid-in) is a typescript TRANSCRIPTION OF A LETTER BY BARBARA MORGAN written to Charlotte Brooks and Julie Arden. In the original manuscript letter (not present), Morgan discussed her reasons for abandoning painting to take up photography as an art form. The letter mentioned Jo Maeder, who was researching Morgan, and this transcript was evidently made and presented to her by Julie Arden.
Barbara Morgan (1900-1972) was a renowned American photographer most famous for her portrayal of dancers, including Martha Graham and her company. The present volume is a retrospective of Morgan's work, including photographs of Graham and many other dancers, as well as selections from her "Summer's Children" series (images of youth in rural settings), plus portraits, nature stills, photomontages, etc. At the end are Morgan's "Working Thoughts," discussing her development as an artist (pp. 154-155), plus a chronology of her life and a list of her exhibitions.
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