The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Book Reviews

Ringing the Children In would be strengthened by interviews with
some who were not successful and did not look back on those days with
nostalgia, perhaps an investigation into why many of the teachers inter-
viewed ended their careers in urban districts or of former students who
dropped out along the way. While the authors state that the system
"suddenly" fell apart when the Gilmer-Aikin laws passed in 1949, there
is no explanation as to why, in the face of the support shown in the
book, such massive changes were made so quickly.
Austin Public Library MAY SCHMIDT
Itinerant Photographer: Corpus Christi, 1934. By Sybil Miller. Afterword
by Bill Stott. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987.
Pp. xiv+ 15x. Acknowledgments, introduction, plates, afterword,
appendix, notes, bibliography. $24.95-)
Sybil Miller's Itinerant Photographer: Corpus Christi, 1934 will interest
photohistorians and evoke memories in Texans: she not only recalls a
time and place with pictures by anonymous traveling men, she settles
that army of restless, footloose craftsmen firmly in the historical main-
stream of American photography.
The 17o reproductions are principally from the 5 x 7-inch glass-
plate negatives and prints of an unknown Corpus Christi photogra-
pher, many reduced in size. Today they form a part of the John F.
McGregor archive in Corpus Christi and at the University of Texas at
Austin. The appendix contains a similar selection of photographs made
in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1930, now in the Ray Bandell Collection
of the Albuquerque Museum. Bill Stott, photohistorian and professor
at the University of Texas, Austin, has written the informal afterword.
Accompanying the photographs is a history of itinerant photog-
raphy. The emphasis, of course, is on the depression years, and Miller
writes with authority about "kidnappers" (itinerants who photo-
graphed children, passers-by, and so forth, and who then offered the
images for "ransom") and street photographers, as well as those who
plied their trade among commercial workplaces, as did the Corpus
Christi itinerant.
The photographs speak for themselves: strong, vital portraits of Tex-
ans at work. Miller contends that such impromptu poses are a truer
representation of ordinary life than more formal studio or commer-
cial shots, which "are little more than glossy advertisements for busi-
ness" (p. 54)-
The plates have been grouped by type, inviting comparison and rais-
ing questions one would like to ask the historian: about the clocks, for
instance, that invariably reveal mid-afternoon photographic sessions;

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed July 14, 2014.