Sulky races at the Mercer County Fair, church suppers, sorghum making, shooting marbles in the school yard, housing tobacco, loafing at the courthouse here are 129 beautifully reproduced images of who we were as Kentuckians not so long ago during the Depression and the early years of World War II.
This collection is part of the remarkable series of photos shot for the Farm Security Administration more than 125,000 photographs taken over a period of nine years by some of the best American photographers of the time, including Ben Shahn, Marion Post Wolcott, Russell Lee, John Vachon, and Arthur Rothstein.
To reintroduce us to that important slice of our history, Beverly Brannan and David Horvath have selected a rich sampling from among several thousand photos taken in Kentucky for the FSA. They have added an extra dimension to the images by including in their commentary excerpts from the photographers' own correspondence and field notes.
Along with a lively introduction by the well-known Kentucky poet Jim Wayne Miller, the text of A Kentucky Album helps us see these photographs as art, as social history, and as an unforgettable composite of the amazing diversity of culture, history, and environment that have made Kentucky unique.
About the Author
Beverly W. Brannan is curator of photographic collections at the Library of Congress and is a native of Kentucky.
David Horvath is associate curator of the University of Louisville Photographic Archives.