Picturing Literary Modernism

Photographs documenting the lives of artistic and literary Americans at home and abroad throughout the Modernist period.
[Photograph of Mabel Dodge Luhan, Frieda Lawrence, Dorothy Brett at Mrs. Lawrence's porch, near Taos ... 1938.]

Photography played an important role in the artistic and literary communities of the Modernist period, and it continues to shape our understanding of this exciting and dynamic era in American arts and letters. Still a relatively new technology in the early decades of the twentieth century, photography provided both public and private means to explore modern aesthetics.

Writers of this period fashioned their literary personae though formal portrait photography and many used small cameras to take snapshots, documenting their homes, performances, parties, travels, and communities. The resulting images provide contemporary viewers with a window into the lives of artistic and literary Americans at home and abroad throughout the Modernist period. Photographs in this gallery are drawn from the Yale Collection of American Literature and the Gernal Modern Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, including the archives writers, editors, artists, and performers such as of Hilda Doolittle, Bryher, Eugene and Maria Jolas, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Marsden Hartley, Robert McAlmon, William Carlos Williams, Margaret Anderson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ezra Pound, Dorothy Peterson, Carl Van Vechten, and many others.

The Modernism Lab at Yale University, a virtual space dedicated to collaborative research into the roots of literary modernism.


American Literature
Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University


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