Quote Originally Posted by Bill Mitchell View Post
I've also often wondered why this book is so special to me. Except for a handfull of images they do seem pretty ordinary, and there is no direct correlation between any image and Nancy Newhall's essays (which are absolutely superb).
I wonder if we're talking about the same book? My copy of this book has excerpts from historical New England texts, interspersed with the photographs; the texts were chosen by Nancy Newhall, but hardly written by her; instead they are from the archives of New England, such notables as Cotton Mather, John Winthrop, Governor William Bradford, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Daniel Webster, William Lloyd Garrison, Susan B. Anthony, and on and on. My favorite bit is a remarkable document signed by all twelve members of a jury that had served during the trials in Salem "of many who were by some suspected of witchcraft,' stating that they had come to believe too late that they had convicted innocent people during those trials. "we pray that we may be considered candidly and aright by the living sufferers as being then under the power of a strong and general delusion."

I think the book is a remarkable book, and I'm glad Powells declined to buy it when I tried to sell it to them last year, because I do treasure it. I can't say that it had any influence on my taking up photography, or any influence on my work. But there's something about the images in conjunction with the text that I think gives a remarkable portrait of New England. I lived there for three years a long time ago, and the book brings it all back to me.