April 13, 1909 – July 23, 2001
"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away"
Born in 1909 in Jackson, Mississippi, the daughter of Christian Webb Welty and Chestina Andrews Welty, Eudora Welty grew up in a close-knit and loving family. From her father she inherited a “love for all instruments that instruct and fascinate,” from her mother a passion for reading and for language. With her brothers, Edward Jefferson Welty and Walter Andrews Welty, she shared bonds of devotion, camaraderie, and humor. Nourished by such a background, Welty became perhaps the most distinguished graduate of the Jackson Public School system. She attended Davis Elementary School when Miss Lorena Duling was principal and graduated from Jackson’s Central High School in 1925. Her collegiate years were spent first at the Mississippi State College for Women in Columbus and then at the University of Wisconsin, where she received her bachelor’s degree. From Wisconsin, Welty went on to graduate study at the Columbia University School of Business.
After her college years, Welty worked at WJDX radio station, wrote society columns for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, and served as a Junior Publicity Agent for the Works Progress Administration. During these years, she took many photographs, and in 1936 and 1937 they were exhibited in New York; but they were not published as she had wished. Her first publication was instead a short story, “Death of a Traveling Salesman.” In 1936, the editor of Manuscript literary magazine called it “one of the best stories we have ever read.”
Her first book was published five years later. In A Curtain of Green, Welty included seventeen stories that move from the comic to the tragic, from realistic portraits to surrealistic ones, and that display a wry wit, the keen observation of detail, and a sure rendering of dialect. Here she at times translated into fiction memories of people and places she had earlier photographed, and the volume’s three stories focusing upon African American characters exemplify the empathy that was present in her photos. Toni Morrison has observed that Eudora Welty wrote “about black people in a way that few white men have ever been able to write. It’s not patronizing, not romanticizing — it’s the way they should be written about.”
In 1942, Welty followed with a very different book, a novella partaking of folklore, fairy tale, and Mississippi’s legendary history. A year after this novella appeared, Welty published a third book of fiction, stories that were collected as The Wide Net (1943) and that were fewer in number and more darkly lyrical than those in her first volume. Then came Delta Wedding, her first novel. Set in the Mississippi Delta of 1923, though published in 1946, the book was originally criticized as a nostalgic portrait of the plantation South, but critical opinion has since counteracted such views, seeing in the novel, to use Albert Devlin’s words, the “probing for a humane order.”
In Welty’s next book, the unity of the novel is missing but not wholly. The Golden Apples (1949) includes seven interlocking stories that trace life in the fictional Morgana, Mississippi, from the turn of the century until the late 1940s. When Welty began writing the stories, however, she had no idea that they would be connected. Midway through the composition process, she finally realized that she was writing about a common cast of characters, that the characters of one story seemed to be younger or older versions of the characters in other stories, and she decided to create a book that was neither novel nor story collection. It is perhaps the greatest triumph of her distinguished career, an unmatched example of the story cycle.
After the publication of this book, Welty traveled to Europe and drew upon her European experiences in two stories she would eventually group with “Circe,” a story narrated by the witch-goddess, and with four stories set in the American South. Though the interlocking nature of The Golden Apples is gone, a new theme emerges. Most of these stories investigate the ways individuals can live and create meaning for themselves without being rooted in time and place. Even before she pulled The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories (1955) together, she published The Ponder Heart (1954), an extended dramatic monologue delivered by Edna Earle, a character who truly is a character.
Welty had produced seven distinctive books in fourteen years, but that rate of production came to a startling halt. Personal tragedies forced her to put writing on the back burner for more than a decade. Then in 1970 she graced the publishing world with Losing Battles, a long novel narrated largely through the conversation of the aunts, uncles, and cousins attending a rambunctious 1930s family reunion. Two years later came a taut, spare novel set in the late 1960s and describing the experience of loss and grief which had so recently been her own. Welty would uncharacteristically incorporate a good bit of biographical detail in The Optimist’s Daughter, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize.
Welty’s exploration of such different subjects and techniques involved, of course, more than art for art’s sake. In her essay, “Words into Fiction,” she describes fiction as “a personal act of vision.” She does not suggest that the artist’s vision conveys a truth which we must all accept. Instead, she suggests, the artist, must look squarely at the mysteries of human experiences without trying to resolve them. Eudora Welty’s ability to reveal rather than explain mystery is what first drew Richard Ford to her work. It drew Reynolds Price as well. Price, though, focuses not on the term mystery, but on the complexity of her vision. He writes that Eudora is not “the mild, sonorous, ‘affirmative’ kind of artist whom America loves to clasp to its bosom,” but is instead a writer with “a granite core in every tale: as complete and unassailable an image of human relations as any in our art, tragic of necessity but also comic.”
Welty’s achievements include more than her fiction. Her early photographs eventually appeared in book form: Her photograph book One Time, One Place was published in 1971, and more photographs have subsequently been published in books titled Photographs (1989), Country Churchyards (2000), and Eudora Welty as Photographer (2009). Her essays and book reviews were collected in the 1978 volume titled The Eye of the Story, and her autobiography One Writer’s Beginnings, published in 1984 by Harvard University Press, was a nationwide best seller. For a time during her last three decades, Welty periodically worked on fiction, but completed nothing to her own high standards, standards that made her a literary celebrity. She appeared on televised interviews, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion of Honor, served as the subject of a BBC documentary, and was chosen as the first living writer to be published in the Library of America series. After a short illness and as the result of cardio-pulmonary failure, Eudora Welty died on 23 July 2001, in Jackson, Mississippi, her lifelong home, where she is buried.
Prepared by Suzanne Marrs; Eudora Welty Foundation Scholar-in-Residence, Millsaps College
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MORE ABOUT EUDORA WELTY
Eudora Welty: Another Brief Biography
April 13, 1909 - July 23, 2001
Eudora Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on April 13, 1909. She published several pieces in magazines for children before she reached her teens. From 1925–1927, she attended Mississippi State College for Women (MSCW, or the "W" as it was called) in Columbus but transferred to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for her final two years of college. She spent an academic year in New York City, studying at the Columbia University School of Business but attending lectures, plays, concerts, and art exhibitions as well. The untimely death of her father in 1931 prompted her return to Jackson, where she worked for the local radio station and wrote Jackson and Delta society news for the Memphis, Tenn.,Commercial Appeal, a major newspaper for northwest Mississippi. In 1936, she published her first important short story, and from that time onward her writing career expanded, and she found considerable success.
All of Welty's writing is the product of a determined shaping imagination and a deep love and understanding for the power of carefully chosen language to evoke characters in dramatic motion. Her stories are very much created by her own art out of materials she found and was touched by, materials assembled by the artist's eye.
Marrs, Suzanne. Eudora Welty: A Biography.
(Orlando, Fl: Harcourt, Inc., 2005. Print.)
Eudora applied for admission to a New School for Social Research photography class in New York City, taught by Berenice Abbott, pg 42
- Hoped that the New School course would provide her with “entrée into the business world of photography.” Pg 42
- She had “photographed everything within reason or unreason around here, having latelry made particular studies of Negroes, with an idea of making a book, since I do not like Doris Ulman’s pictures.” Pg 42
- “Like Ulmann, Eudora had long been interested in black culture, but unlike Ulmann, Eudora eschewed sentimental, softly focused, carfully staged images. She snapped most of her photographs, as she later reported, “without the awareness of the subjects or with only their peripheral awareness.” “The snapshots made with people’s awareness,” Eudora also recalled, “are, for the most part, just as unposed: I simply asked people if they would mind going on with what they were doing and letting me take a picture. I can’t remember ever being met with a demurrer stronger than amusement.” Pg 42-43
- “Eudora thought that her pictures of African American life might attract publishers, and when admission to Abbott’s class was not forthcoming, she contacted publishers directly.” Pg 43
- No success in publishing her photos until One Time, One Place in 1971
- 1934- “Living at home and on a relatively tight budget, working part-time jobs, making many photographs and developing them in a makeshift darkroom, writing poems and stories…” pg 44
- “By the time she was at work on Delta Wedding in 1945, Eudora had become an ardent revisor, using a method she would never afterward follow—typing a draft chapter, spreading it out on the bed, or on the dining room table downstairs, cutting paragraphs, or even sentences, out of a page and attaching them with straight pins in new locations, before preparing a new typescript and starting the process again.” Pg 48
- 1936- “Eudora went to New York in hopes of selling her photographs. A spontaneous decision to stop by the galleries of Lugene Opticians, Inc., proved fortuitous. Samuel Robbins was impressed by her pictures and offered Eudora a one-woman show…The exhibition at Lugene Galleries ran from March 31 to April 15.” Pg 50
- “Eudora applied to the Works Progress Administration for a position, and in the summer of 1936 she was hired by this relief agency, which sought to provide jobs for the unemployed. Working as a junior publicity agent, Eudora began to see Mississippi in new ways…Though her WPA photographic responsibilities tended to be uninspiring, Eudora used her off-duty hours to photograph black and white Mississippians she had met in the course of her job assignments, recording their resilience in the face of extreme poverty.” Pg 52-53
- “What Eudora the photographer recorded on film, Eudora the writer recorded in memory. She did not, as she later told interviewers, consult her photographs when writing, but the memories of those photographic occasions stood her in god stead and would frequently appear in her fiction.” Pg 53-54
- Early 1937- “Her photography was languishing, as well—Life magazine returned her “valentine collection,” though it wanted time to further consider her “tombstone prints” and expressed interest in her “Negro Holiness Church story.” Pg 54
- Eudora’s prints on exhibition at the Camera House in New York City. March 6-31, 1937, pg 54
- November 1937, “Life magazine asked her to provide photographs for an article describing a tragedy in Mount Olive, Mississippi. A doctor in the small town had, in treating bacterial infections, prescribed the drug sulfanilamide in its new liquid form only to discover that the drug in this form was deadly. Six of his patients died in spite of his courageous efforts to warn them…Eudora provided Life with six photographs and urged the magazine not to vilify the doctor who, she felt, was himself a victim.” Pg 57
- 1942?- “Eudora herself returned to watercolors, which she had loved doing as a child, and wrote Russell about her efforts: “What are your sketches like? Mine might be too squiggly and impatient looking for you to approve of them, I can hardly do it fast enough. Water color appeals much more to me than oil, to look at, but I’ve never tried oils or had much interest in trying for they seem to say, Go over this again and again—just as a medium they invite sluggishness and repetition—and water colors demand that you think quick and keep one step ahead of them and make fresh sketches always instead of working over one old one, so they’re always new. I am not always good but I like to paint something on the spot and then go home and paint it from memory and then paint again out of the idea that came out of that memory—and if I were good I would keep going and see where that led me.” Pg 91-92
- “Eudora clearly admired Langston Hughes’s poetry and was willing to entrust him with her story. She was unwilling, however, to expose him to the insult or debasement he as an African American might encounter in Mississippi, and she would also have been loath to bring social opprobrium or worse upon her mother by entertaining Hughes in Jackson.” Pg 153-154
- “I feel a little differently from you about form—I think that too comes through the work of writing—is almost one with it—that maybe each piece of work has implicit in it its own form, and the writing keeps at it and discovers and best brings out this form—but we each and all write a different way—being different human beings.” Pg 155-156
- “Late in August, John Robinson and Eudora drove to Oxford, Mississippi, where once again they saw William Faulkner” pg 173--- spent the day together
- “In her American and European travels from 1946 through 1951, Eudora found herself free to move about on her own, cherishing close friendships but always acting independently , knowing she could be happy all by herself. She was a cosmopolitan woman still expecting to encounter and savor something new and unusual, still filled with the joy of seeing and hearing and writing.” Pg 210
AS A PHOTOGRAPHER:
Although most famous as a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Eudora Welty enjoyed a prolific career as a photographer, at least until she lost her camera in 1950 and gave up the medium altogether. She was employed as a photographer by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression and traveled around Mississippi, recording some of its hardest-hit victims. Her images seem spontaneously composed and quickly shot, yet her subjects command respect and display a strong sense of dignity, despite their impoverished economic status. As a photographer, Welty brought a level of sensitivity and observation that keeps these images from being simple records of a specific place and time. She was featured in photography exhibitions in 1936 and 1937 and in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1973. Her work was the subject of a one-woman exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C., in 2003
“The human face and the human body are eloquent in themselves, and stubborn and wayward, and a snapshot is a moment’s glimpse (as a story may be a long look, a growing contemplation) into what never stops moving, never ceases to express for itself something of our common feeling. Every feeling waits upon its gesture. Then when it does come, how unpredictable it turns out to be, after all.”
“The Only News” by Reynolds Price in Eudora Welty Photographs:
“In a preface to One Time, One Place, her earlier and smaller collection of photographs, Welty explained that her years of snapshooting in rural and smalltown Mississippi were among the forces that brought her to the realization that her prime compulsion was to push beyond the silent voice of words. (She has often insisted that her pictures are snapshots; and the word does define both the frozen moment she always sought and the absence of any trace of pretension to studied art.) She had written fiction since childhood; but some steady mystery in the world before her, some gulf that deepened in the early years of silent watching, was moving her toward another angle of vision as her ultimate foothold.” Pg viii
“Welty’s stories and novels make it abundantly clear that she also saw the human and natural evils and trials that pressed her people so fiercely down. [Many of the black people photographed are less than a century from slavery, most of the white are visibly poor]. But behind a camera, her eye chose images of courage, persistence and the unslaked thirst for more of life.” Pg ix
“In the years of the bulk of these pictures, Welty worked with a Federal agency, the Works Progress Administration. She traveled her state as a publicity agent, writing of people who were making do in the teeth of the Depression—gardening, quilting, building airports, stocking bookshelves, teaching illiterate adults to read. In her job then, she was seeing the doers, the self-propelling souls. But whenever she raised the lens, for her own sake, she subtly shifted to the left of her job and far to the left of her own home knowledge.” Pg ix
“She captured the larger private triumphs of man, woman, child as—moment by moment—they won their lives against time, fate and human opposition.”
Welty says, “I was taking photographs of human beings because they were real life and they were there in front of me and that was the reality.”
Carol Ann Johnston, February 1998
Some recent criticism about Welty’s work has begun to challenge the established view of her as a modest and politically simple writer. Indeed, Welty’s work embodies sophistication on many fronts. Welty’s father, Christian, and his fascination with machines of all sorts gave Welty her intense concentration upon time and clocks, on travel, on telescopes and cameras. The camera that her father would bring out to record all special occasions gave Welty her visual sense and love of photography. Photography has a profound influence on Welty’s mode of writing, teaching her that “Life doesn’t hold still,” as she explains in One Writer’s Beginnings. “Photography taught me that to be able to capture transience, by being ready to click the shutter at the crucial moment, was the greatest need I had” (OWB 84). Welty’s formal career as a photographer never really materialized, though two exhibitions of her photographs were mounted in New York, and five selections from her photographs have been published to date, most notably: One Time, One Place (1978) and Photographs (1989). These collections are beginning to receive international attention from critics in the visual arts, and several exhibitions of her work have been mounted since her death. As she explains her choice of vocation, she tells us that she “felt the need to hold transient life in words—there’s so much more of life that only words can convey.... The direction my mind took was a writer’s direction from the start” (OWB 85). Yet while Welty obviously did feel her primary medium to be language, she did not hold photography in abeyance, but continued to use a camera until 1950, when she left her Rolleiflex on a bench in the Paris Metro, and out of anger at her own carelessness, did not replace it.
One Time, One Place (1971)
Country Churchyards (2000)
Eudora Welty as Photographer (2009)
Welty, edited by Patti Carr Black (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1977)
Twenty Photographs (Palaemon Press, 1980)
In Black and White (Lord John Press, 1985)
- Municapal Art Gallery, Jackson, Mississippi: August of 1934
- Exhibit in Chapel Hill, NC: 1935
- Photographic Galleries, Lugene, Inc., Opticians, New York City: March 31-April 15, 1036
- Featured 45 photographs
- The Camera House, Inc., New York City: March 6-31, 1937
- Featured approximately 25 photographs
- Museum of Modern Art, New York City: November 14, 1973
- Photographs from One Time, One Place shown as slides
- Welty: An Exhibition at the Mississippi State Historical Museum, Jackson, Mississippi: 1977
- 14 photographs and texts by Eudora Welty, selected and edited by Patti Carr Black. Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1977.
- R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, LA: March 21-June 2004
- Passionate Observer: Eudora Welty among Artists of the Thirties, a striking exhibition featuring over 100 works, including photographs, paintings, drawings, and prints by notable American artists of the 1930s
- At the center of the exhibit are Eudora Welty's dramatic photographs of Mississippi, Louisiana and New York during the Great Depression. Welty's images from this time period are placed alongside works by artists such as Edward Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton; photographers Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn; and Southern artists Walter Anderson, William Hollingsworth, Marie Hull, and Karl Wolfe. Such placement allows the viewer to compare Welty's artistic motivation with visual interpretations of her contemporaries from this period
- Museum of the City of New York: November 7, 2008-February 15, 2009
- Remounting of Welty’s 1936 Lugene photography exhibit
- 50 black-and-white photographs, recreation of her first solo photography show held in 1936 at the then Photographic Galleries in New York, and ending with eleven photographs the author made in New York City
- Most of the photographs in the exhibition were in Welty’s original exhibit or are prints made by Welty herself. They were loaned from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and from the Welty family’s personal collection
- The Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS: April 11-July 5, 2009
- Eudora Welty in New York
- Images from Eudora Welty’s first photographic exhibit originally shown in 1936 at the Lugene Opticians Photographic Galleries
- Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, MS: September 1-November 19, 2009
- Eudora Welty in New York
- Featured 50 black-and-white photographs
- Photographs included a re-creation of Welty’s first solo photography show in 1936 at the Photographic Galleries in New York, as well as 11 photographs the author made in New York City
- Most of the photographs in this exhibition were in the original exhibit or are prints made by Welty herself. They were loaned from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and from the Welty family’s personal collection
- Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS: September 26-December 6, 2009
- Premiere: Eudora Welty’s State Fair Mural
- Exhibition of the diptych painted by Welty alongside Welty’s photographs of the State Fair in the 1930s
- The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA: July 2013
- Eudora Welty: Photographs from the 1930s and 40s
- This exhibition, with support from the Eudora Welty Foundation, focuses on Welty's most productive period as a photographer and features a large selection of vintage prints from the collection of the Welty family.
- A selection of photographs from this era created in New York City and New Orleans are also included in the exhibition.
- Wiljax Gallery, Cleveland, MS: September 12-October 25, 2013
- Eudora Welty: 27 Portraits
- Each print made by Welty in her kitchen darkroom at her home in Jackson, MS
- Many of the pieces originally printed for Welty’s 1936 show at the Photographic Galleries of Lugene Opticians on Madison Avenue in New York City
- Many of the prints with markings and notations made by Eudora
- Photographs from the Welty Foundation
- Fondren Renaissance Foundation in partnership with the Eudora Welty Foundation, Jackson, MS: April 1-27, 2014
- The Photography of Eudora Welty
- Featured over 30 photographs depicting daily life in the 1930’s in Jackson, including rare vintage photos taken by Eudora Welty, some of which have never been exhibited
- Housed and shown at The Cedars, Jackson’s oldest residential home
- Nashville Public Library, Nashville, TN: September 5-November 9, 2014
- Eudora Welty: Photos from the 1930s and ‘40s
- Featured 35 photographs, included a selection of informal portraits, landscapes, and scenes from everyday life in Mississippi and New York City
- Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS: April 10-July 3, 2015
- Welty Biennial
- The Millsaps-Wilson Library, Jackson, MS
- Standing exhibition of 18 black-and-white photographs; the majority taken during the 1930s and 40s when Ms. Welty traveled the state of Mississippi capturing folk life subjects with her camera
- This collection of photographs was given to the Millsaps-Wilson Library by Ruth Redig Watson, class of 1948 and a Trustee of the College
Two traveling exhibits are available from the Museum Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, for both in-state and out-of-state loan. The first exhibit, “Welty,” juxtaposes some of Welty’s 1930s era photographs with excerpts from her writing to show the relationship between her source material and her writing. “Eudora Welty: Other Places” presents photographs Welty took in New Orleans and New York City from 1936 to 1939. For more information, contact the Welty House at (601) 353-7762.
"Eudora Welty: Other Places" EXHIBITION:
“Eudora Welty: Other Places” presents photographs Eudora Welty took during her travels, specifically while in New Orleans and New York City between 1936 and 1939. During the winter of 1936, Welty’s camera focused not on the festive Mardi Gras celebrations, parades, and balls, but rather on gestures, ironic juxtapositions, and the human interactions and relationships that so fascinated her.
Welty’s camera continued to seek out less commonplace subjects during several weeks spent in Manhattan during the winter of 1938 to 1939. Wandering through Union Square and down Third Avenue, she photographed the shadows and patterns of light on the elevated subway, the street over which it loomed, and groups of unemployed men gathering to hear speeches and wait for jobs.
“Eudora Welty: Other Places” seeks to draw the viewer’s attention to the discerning eye of its subject, a subject whose awareness of human nature and physical surroundings were applied not only to her writings, but also through the visual medium of photography.
Photographs in this exhibit are courtesy Eudora Welty L.L.C., and the Eudora Welty Collection of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The exhibit was funded in part by the Mississippi Arts Commission.
“Eudora Welty: Other Places” Exhibit Specifications:
Twenty-two (22) panels: 20” x 24”
Photo panels include metal frames, Plexiglas and hanging wire
One (1) shipping crate
Crate size: 200 lbs. 23” (h) x 28” (w) x 33” (l)
During the early 1930s, Eudora Welty traveled across Mississippi as a publicist for the Works Progress Administration and used the opportunity to take hundreds of photographs of her native state. “Welty” juxtaposes some of these photographs with excerpts from her writing to show the relationship between her source material and her writing. “Welty” comprises fourteen photographs and passages from her books such as The Wide Net, Delta Wedding, The Golden Apples, A Curtain of Green, and Some Notes on River Country. The photographs were selected from more than 1,200 negatives Welty donated to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
“Welty” Exhibit Specifications
Fourteen (14) panels: 18 1/4” x 27 1/4”
Photo panels include metal frames, Plexiglas, and hanging wire
One (1) shipping crate
Crate size: 130 lbs. 22 1/2” (h) x 22 1/2” (w) x 35 1/4” (l)
1879 – Christian Webb Welty born
1883 – Chestina Andrews Welty born
1904 – Christian Webb Welty and Chestina Andrews Welty marry
1907 – The Weltys’ son Christian Welty dies at age 15 months
April 13, 1909 – Eudora born in Jackson, Mississippi, at 741 N. Congress Street
1912 – Brother Edward Welty born
1915 – Brother Walter Welty born
1924 – A sister is stillborn
1925 – Graduates from Jackson’s Central High School
1925-1927 – Attends Mississippi State College for Women, Columbus, Mississippi
1927-1929 – Attends and graduates from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
1929—Eastman Kodak six-16 camera used prior to 1935
1930-1931 – Attends Columbia University School of Business
1931 – Christian Webb Welty, Eudora Welty’s father, dies
1931-1934 – Eudora works in Jackson at WJDX radio station
1933-1935 – Eudora writes Jackson society columns for the Memphis Commercial-Appeal
1933-1936—Served as Publicity Agent for the Works Progress Administration throughout rural Mississippi
1934—Exhibit at Municipal Art Gallery, Jackson, Mississippi, August
Efforts to sell photographs in New York City, October-November
1935—Recomar camera used 1935-1936
Exhibit in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
1936 – Eudora publishes her first stories, “Death of a Traveling Salesman” and “Magic,” in Manuscript magazine
Served as Publicity Agent for the Works Progress Administration throughout rural Mississippi, July-November
Has a one-woman photographic exhibit in New York City: “Black Saturday,” an exhibition of 45 Welty prints at Photographic Galleries run by Lugene Opticians Inc. from March 31-April 15. Twenty-nine of the originals are now part of the Welty Collection, and all of the photographs in this show were taken with the Kodak or Recomar camera
Lugene Opticians, 604 Madison Ave, NYC
1937 — Rolleiflex camera used from 1937 to 1950
- Eudora has a second photographic exhibit in New York City: Camera House, March 6-31, 1937; organized by Samuel Robbins, approximately 25 photographs
- Life Magazine-Six of Welty's photographs appear in Life in conjunction with “Life on the American Newsfront: Bad Medicine Leaves Trail of Dead Patients,” a story on a series of deaths in Mount Olive, caused by the prescription drug sulfanilamide—November 8, 1937 issue page 33
- Travels to Mexico with three Jackson friends
1937-39 – Eudora publishes ten stories in the Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, River
1938—Life Magazine-One photograph: Logan H. McLean, executive secretary, Mississippi Tuberculosis Association; Life - January 17, 1938 issue page 57
- Three photographs in Mississippi: A Guide to the Magnolia State, compiled by the federal Writers’ project of the Works Progress Administration. New York: Hastings House, 1938. Gathering for a Political Rally, 9; Shantyboat Life, 16; A One-Mule Power Cane Press, 449
1939 – Eudora works for the Mississippi Advertising Commission
1940 – Diarmuid Russell becomes Eudora Welty’s agent. Welty signs on with the Russell & Volkening literary agency in New York; Diarmuid Russell begins placing her fiction in magazines such as Atlantic Monthly and Harper's Bazaar
1941 – Eudora publishes stories in the Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s Bazaar. Her first book of stories, A Curtain of Green, is published.
-Welty spends June and July at Yaddo writers' colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. She shares housing with Katherine Anne Porter and the two become close friends.
1942 – The Robber Bridegroom
1943 – The Wide Net
1944 – Eudora works for several months as a copy editor and staff reviewer for the New York Times Book Review
Three photographs published in “Literature and the Lens,” Vogue pg 104; August 1, 1944 issue, pg 102-103.
Photos: New Orleans on Royal Street; First sight of an abandoned house near the Natchez Trace, and members of the Church of God in Christ Holiness
1946 – Delta Wedding
1946-47 – Eudora has two extended stays in San Francisco.
1949 – The Golden Apples
1949-50 – Eudora travels through Europe on a Guggenheim Fellowship.
1951 – Eudora spends a few months in England and Ireland.
1952 – Elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
1954 – Eudora lectures at Cambridge University in England and publishes The Ponder Heart
1955 – The Bride of the Innisfallen; Eudora receives Howell’s Medal from Academy of Arts and Letters
1956 – Jerome Chodorov’s and Joseph Fields’s dramatization of The Ponder Heart runs on Broadway
1959 – Eudora’s brother Walter dies
1960—Welty spends two seasons of study and observation at the Phoenix Theatre in New York on a grant from the Ford Foundation
1963 – Eudora publishes “Where is the Voice Coming From?” in The New Yorker
1966 – Eudora’s mother Chestina and her brother Edward die
1966 – “The Demonstrators” appears in The New Yorker
1969 – “The Optimist’s Daughter” appears in The New Yorker
1970 – Eudora publishes Losing Battles, a novel begun in 1955
1971 – Eudora’s book of photographs, One Time, One Place, is published, and she is elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters
1972 – The Optimist’s Daughter in revised and expanded form is published, and Eudora receives the Gold Medal for Fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters
1973 – The Optimist’s Daughter receives a Pulitzer Prize
Photographs from One Time, One Place shown as slides at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, November 14
1974 – Eudora travels through Italy and France
1975—Welty presented the Doctor of Letters degree from Yale University in 1975
1976 – Alfred Uhry’s dramatization of The Robber Bridegroom runs on Broadway
1977—Welty: An Exhibition at the Mississippi State Historical Museum, Jackson, Mississippi; 14 photographs and texts by Eudora Welty
1978 – The Eye of the Story
1979 – Artist-in-residence, British Studies Program, Associated Colleges of the South, held at Oxford University
1980 – The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty; Eudora receives Presidential Medal of Freedom
Twenty Photographs. Limited edition. Winston-Salem: Palaemon Press, 1980
1980—President Jimmy Carter awards Welty the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980
1983 – Eudora delivers the William E. Massey, Sr., Lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University
1984 – One Writer’s Beginnings; Eudora travels to England and Italy
1985—In Black and White: Photographs of the 30’s and 40’s (55 photographs). Northridge, California: Lord John Press, 1985
1986 – Eudora receives National Medal of the Arts
1989 – Eudora Welty Photographs, includes 226 photographs from the Welty Collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, is published by the University Press of Mississippi with a foreword by Reynolds Price.
1990 – Travels to London
1991 – Norton Book of Friendship, co-edited with Ronald A. Sharp
1995—Eudora Welty: Other Places (20 photographs). Jackson: Mississippi State Historical Museum, 1995
1996 – Receives French Legion of Honor in ceremony held at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson
1997—Home Places: 5 Photographs. Eudora Welty Print Series. Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1997. Pigs and Sheets, Jackson; Man with watermelons, Grenada; Saturday off, Jackson; Girl dancing, Jackson; Going to town, Utica
1998 – The Library of America publishes two volumes of Eudora’s fiction and non-fiction, making her the first living writer whose works have become part of this distinguished series
2000—Country Churchyards (90 photographs). “Eudora among Her Photographs” by Hunter Cole, with comments by Welty, and “An Abundance of Angels” by Elizabeth Spencer. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2000
2001 – Eudora Welty dies on July 23
2002—Passionate Observer: Eudora Welty among Artists of the Thirties (27 photographs). Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Mississippi, April 6-June 30, 2002.
Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin:
Photography Collections Database Record Detail
A Gallery, New Orleans LA:
Welty's Silver Gelatin photographs are generally 16" x 20".
How many photographs exist?
She printed in editions of 60, approximately 30-40 of each photograph. Different images were sold in two portfolios.
$5,500. - $45,000.
How are the photographs printed and signed?
Welty signed her photographs in pencil au recto.
Welty used three different cameras: a small Eastman Kodak that used Number 116 film, a Recomar which used film pack, and a Rolleiflex.
"The Eudora Welty Portfolio" - set of 18 original photographs
"Twenty Photographs" - a portfolio published by Palaemon Press
Books - In Print (order yours now!):
Eudora Welty, Country Churchyards - hardback, $35
also available in a limited edition of 150, slipcased and numbered for $150
Select photographs by Eudora Welty are available at A Gallery.
Bauman Rare Books:
“LIFE DOESN’T HOLD STILL”: LIMITED EDITION OF PHOTOGRAPHS, ONE OF ONLY 52 SIGNED BY WELTY, WITH VINTAGE GELATIN SILVER PRINT FROM A PHOTOGRAPH BY HER WELTY, Eudora. Photographs. Jackson, Mississippi and London: University Press of Mississippi, (1989). Quarto, original full silver-lettered burgundy leatherette, original publisher’s plum silk slipcase with faux bone ties. WITH: Laid-in vintage gelatin silver print (8 by 10 inches), Welty inkstamp on print verso, original folding sleeve, original limitation caption leaf, loose as issued. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
Signed limited first edition, copy P of only 52 lettered copies (A-ZZ: most likely reserved for private distribution) signed by Welty, Deluxe edition with vintage gelatin silver print, “At Bowen’s Court, County Cork, Ireland,” containing Welty’s inkstamp on print verso, laid into original protective sleeve with limitation caption leaf, together housed in original plum silk folding box.
“Eudora Welty Photographs” initially came out in hardback and a limited slipcase edition. Most rare is an exquisite deluxe edition: The signed book is bound in leather and laid in a plum silk folding box with vintage silver gelatin print and photogravure on the front. Only 52 lettered copies were published, a fitting reflection of Welty’s ability to capture “one time, one place.”