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

through this trying time. As a foreword, the authors inform us that the book is a work of non-fiction, and that individual’s names have been rearranged to keep them anonymous. Inside the covers, groupings of photos are introduced by short excerpts written by Southerners from across the region, which discuss living conditions, professions, and characteristics unique to each area examined. In terms of its quality, the book has remained in great condition, and its photos, which cover entire pages, give the reader a more detailed glimpse into the Great Depression all across the South.

             When studying the Great Depression, this book could become a valuable asset, thanks to its in-depth reflections and candid photographs. Every excerpt approaches the southern reality from a different angle, whether that be in South Carolina, Arkansas, or Alabama, and offers insight that can only be found through the voices of those living during this time. Expanding on the idea of individuality, photographs highlight what the excerpts discuss through depictions of harshly realistic facial expressions and broken homes. You Have Seen Their Faces has the ability of showing the small details of everyday life in the South, which could provide incredible assistance to someone looking to explore this region of the country during the Depression-era.