Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9781930066274 Published August 2005
Cloth $49.95 ISBN: 9781930066267 Published August 2005

The Mississippi River in 1953

A Photographic Journey from the Headwaters to the Delta

Charles Dee Sharp

The Mississippi River in 1953

Charles Dee Sharp

Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press

232 pages | 39 color plates, 96 duotones | 8-1/2 x 11
Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9781930066274 Published August 2005
Cloth $49.95 ISBN: 9781930066267 Published August 2005
The Mississippi River flows through American history and culture as a mythic waterway brimming with tragedy and hope, and awash in passionate ambitions and harsh realities. In 1953, a young Charles Dee Sharp traveled twice down the Mississippi (first by towboat and then by car along the renowned river road Highway 61) to make a documentary film of it, taking black-and-white photographs of the river, its communities, and its people.

While Sharp’s documentary never came to fruition, the striking images he captured survived as moving and evocative historical testaments to a lost era, now collected in his new book The Mississippi in 1953. These images create a vivid portrait of America’s heartland a half century ago, and they are enriched with excerpts from Sharp’s original trip journal, intriguing anecdotes from the people he encountered along his journey, and an engaging environmental history of the river by historian John O. Anfinson. The Mississippi in 1953 offers an original and poignant look at the living artery of the American landscape and how it molded the United States into the nation it is today.



The River Beckoned

by Charles Dee Sharp


by  John O. Anfinson


The River’s Geology

by John O. Anfinson





Review Quotes
Verlyn Klinkenborg | New York Times
"In 1953, a young documentary filmmaker named Charles Dee Sharp traveled down the Mississippi River, shooting still photographs for a film he never made. One of Sharp's pictures . . . is a color shot of rows of new red cornpickers awaiting shipment in Moline, Illinois. . . . Those old pickers -- so bright and new in 1953 -- are a visual reminder of the vital, complex connection between America's agricultural heartland and the Mississippi River."
Fredric Koeppel | The Commercial-Appeal
"Memphis figures briefly in The Mississippi River in 1953. . . . Among the many evocative photographs are images of Front Street's Cotton Row, Main Street, Beale Street and Handy Park."
Robert Armstrong | Star-Tribune
"Charles Dee Sharp's The Mississippi in 1953 is a special treat. . . . The photographic record of his journey and the thoughts he entered in a journal connect us to an era that seems more than half a century ago."
Photo Review
"While Sharp's documentary was never realized, the striking images and insightful writings he made have survived in this book as a moving and evocative testament to a lost era."
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