LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN, by James Agee; Walker Evans - 1941 [1st Ed w/original DJ]


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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

text by James Agee

photography by Walker Evans

FIRST EDITION WITH ORIGINAL DJ. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1941.

Hardback is overall in VERY GOOD condition with a VERY GOOD DJ.

  • Book is in remarkable condition for this vintage, with apparent care and respect.
  • Volume displays mild overall wear and aging to covers and interior.
  • Black cloth covers displays minimal overall scuffing, as well as a little edgewear, with gentle rubbing along lower edges, and a small bump to upper edge on front, near corner. (See photos)
  • Front board shows minimal dust along head edge.
  • Foot corner on back shows a light bump.
  • Spine features silver lettering, and exhibits some softening to both ends, more pronounced at head, which is also lightly bumped.
  • Binding is secure throughout.
  • B&W photos are gently age-toned, with some marginal foxing that minimally affects photos.
  • Endpapers are toned and foxed. Foxing is pronounced all along hinges.
  • Interior is gently toned throughout, overall less than illustration pages. One light smudge has been found on fore edge of page 45. (See photos)
  • Inside pages are free of writing and intentional marks. 
  • Textblock edges show light commensurate toning, minimal scuffing, as well as a small stain to foot and some dust to foot corner. Fore edge is deckled.
  • Original DJ is nicely preserved Mylar and backed with archival paper. 
  • DJ displays overall edgewear, with some creases and tears as well as small chips to corners. Head edge on front exhibits a 0.5" vertical closed tear. 
  • Spine of DJ is sunned, and shows chipping to ends and rubbing along front shoulder. 
  • Spine of DJ also displays a small hole and center rubbing.
  • Back of DJ exhibits toning and overall rubbing and smudges.
  • Book may exhibit additional minor signs of age or wear.
  • SC20190619

471 pages. 5.75 x 8.5 inches.

Vintage hardcover features original DJ in great condition, as well as a remarkable selection of photos of farm life by Walker Evans at the beginning.

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a book about the life of impoverished American farmers during the Great Depression. Similar in many ways to a WPA project (Work Projects Administration, an American New Deal agency), this book was born of a 1936 assignment for Fortune magazine on the conditions of life of sharecropper families during the "Dust Bowl." Author J.Agee and photographer W.Evans ventured into the American South to capture the striking images and notes as seen in the present volume.

Although not widely sold at first, the book became a highly influential work, inspiring Aaron Copland to write his opera The Tender Land, and is now a subject of study regarding US journalistic and literary innovation. Agee's arguments and comments on the conditions of these farmers' lives, although of little use to the farmers themselves, meant a great deal for the larger public who discovered through this work the true poverty and hardships these farmers endured.

James Rufus Agee (1909-1955) was an American novelist, journalist, poet, and screenwriter. He was also one of the most influential film critics in the U.S.

Walker Evans (1903-1975) was an American photographer and photojournalist best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Many of his works are now part of collections in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art or George Eastman Museum.


Book has original DJ. Features 31 pages of B&W photographs at beginning of book. Includes a preface.

AS IS! Please see photos. More photos available upon request.

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