You Have Seen Their Faces

Caldwell, Erskine, and Margaret Bourke-White. You Have Seen Their Faces.  The Viking Press, 1937. Hoole Special Collections Library, UA.

             You Have Seen Their Faces, by Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White, is a compilation of photos and short excerpts published in 1937 by The Viking Press, which explores the South during the Great Depression, and uses pictures and personal quotes to describe the sentiments felt by those living

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Joseph Needle


A man in his tuxedo and his family
Joseph Needle, his two sons, his wife, and his daughter in law. (Family photo)

From the time that he was a boy, Joseph Needle, born on December 7, 1896 in Charleston, South Carolina, had a clear picture of the world around him. As the son of a retail storekeeper, he spent the beginning of his life working within the family business, until attending Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. After his schooling finished in 1921, he moved back to his home- town and married Bertha Rephan. The couple had two sons, Harry and Morton, and lived on President Street in downtown Charleston. There, Joseph worked as a Civil Engineer and Cartographer, positions that allowed him to transfer his own picture of the world onto a lucid canvas for others to follow. When he passed away on March 5, 1976, these directions had not only provided a clear path for his family, but his entire city as a whole.

The Infamous Map

"Historic Charleston on a Map," the title of Joseph Needle's map of Charleston, South Carolina

When my mother was a little girl, she vividly remembers the days when her Poppy let her join him at work in his attic-style cartography studio in Charleston, South Carolina. Poppy, known to the rest of the city as Joseph Needle, was a Civil Engineer and my great-grandfather. As listed on the Charleston government website under the “City Engineering Records from 1867-1979,” Joseph’s work entailed “providing essential public services to a growing populace” ( Continue reading “The Infamous Map”