The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988

Book Reviews

Never lost in Dominican Women is the dignity, and sometimes the ec-
centricity, of the individual. Given the magnitude of the undertaking,
no small accomplishment, that.
Texas A&I University BARBARA SORENSEN
Laura Gilpzn: An Enduring Grace. By Martha A. Sandweiss. (Austin: Uni-
versity of Texas Press for the Amon Carter Museum of Western
Art, 1986. Pp. 339. Preface, introduction, photographs, plates, ap-
pendix, notes, index. $75.)
In this book the major American photographer Laura Gilpin has fi-
nally been given the serious study and presentation she deserves. Born
in Colorado in 1891 and educated in Colorado and the East, Gilpin be-
came aware of her identity as a western American and felt a need to
present the landscape and culture of the American West through her
art. After studying photography with Clarence H. White in New York,
she returned to Colorado in 1918 and devoted her professional life to
photographing and studying the landscape, architecture, and native
peoples of the American Southwest. Her books on the Navajo, the
Pueblo, the Rio Grande, and the architecture of the Yucatain contained
not only her powerful photographs but also her own substantial texts.
Since Gilpin was committed to the art of making books using both
photographs and text, it is particularly fitting that her work should be
preserved in a book that has been as beautifully conceived and exe-
cuted as this one. The story of Gilpin's long and active life and a critical
analysis of her work are given in the well-written text by Martha A.
Sandweiss. Over a third of the book is devoted to reproductions of
Gilpin's photographs, which show her mastery of the use of light to
present and enrich her subjects. The quality of the plates is excellent,
and they successfully reproduce the tonal distinctions between the early
autochrome and platinum prints and the later gelatin silver prints. The
book also contains an unusually detailed bibliography by Milan R.
Hughston, which will prove invaluable to anyone wishing to learn more
about Gilpin or her work.
Though Gilpin's final home and major source of photographic sub-
jects was New Mexico, she had several special connections with Texas.
Her book The Rio Grande: River of Destiny (1949) included a significant
section on the life and landscape along the Texas-Mexico border as well
as one of her most beautiful landscape photographs, an aerial view of
the Rio Grande emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. She struggled for
more than ten years to complete the photographs and to find a pub-
lisher for a book on the Navajo Indians. In 1963, Mitchell Wilder, of

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/. Accessed March 1, 2015.