The Limited Editions Club’s Leaves of Grass (1942) and the American imagetext | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 32, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1466-0407
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9118



In 1941 photographer Edward Weston travelled around the United States photographing images for a luxury reprint edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass to be published by the Limited Editions Club under the direction of George Macy. A case study in the fundamental challenges of combining photographs and poetry, this article discusses Weston and Macy’s disagreements over the issue of ‘illustration’ and the shortcomings of an illustrative approach to photography, and discusses one of the more successful combinations of images and texts in the final published volumes. Although these final volumes occupy an uncertain place within the American photo-book genre of the 1930s and 1940s due to the lack of consistently close or dynamic interactions of texts and images, as a project by one of America’s acclaimed modernist photographers for a canonical American text, the Limited Editions Club’s Leaves of Grass is an important book in the history of the American photo book or image-text that represents some of the essential challenges in combining photography and poetry.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Leaves of Grass; photograph; poetry; Weston; Whitman
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