Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1941. Evans, Walker. First edition. 8vo., , xvi, 471 pp. and 31 full-page b&w plates from photographs. Publisher's black cloth, spine titled in silver, lightly rubbed at the spine ends; small neat bookseller's ticket on the rear free endpaper. The dust jacket has had minor restoration at the folds, bottom edge of the front panel, and spine ends; it is possibly married to this copy. This is a near fine book in a very good or better dust jacket that was professionally restored; housed in a clamshell box of brown morroco and cloth, titled in gilt on the spine. Item #54338
This copy is inscribed and presented by James Agee to his friend, photographer Florence Meyer Homolka on the front free endpaper, " Flo, with love - Jim, December 11, 1948."
Florence Meyer Homolka was born in New York City, January 22, 1911, the eldest daughter of Eugene Meyer, financier and publisher of the Washington Post, and Elizabeth (Ernst) Meyer. She studied dance and acting in Paris and Berlin, associating with artists; she once played her violin in the studio of Constantin Brancusi. In Berlin, she met and married the noted actor, Oskar Homolka. The couple left Berlin in 1939, spent a few years in London, were part of the New York acting and literary circle, and in 1943, settled in Pacific Palisades. During her Paris years she met Man Ray, and living close to him in the Los Angeles area, became his student of photography. " Man Ray is my revered teacher, and I am proud when he tells me that I am following in his footsteps as a photographer." With her connection to Hollywood, she worked as a photographer on several film sets, and after her divorce in 1946, she return to New York. She regularly sold her portraits for publication; among her sitters were: Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Thomas Mann, Vladimir Horowitz, Arnold Schoenberg, Christopher Isherwood, Edward Steichen, Brassai, Man Ray, and for Charlie Chaplin - she made over 150 photographs on the set of Limelight. Among her friends were Walker Evans and James Agee; she made portraits of both. For Agee's posthumously published, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Death in the Family, one of Homolka's portraits was used on the dust jacket. Florence Homolka died in Los Angeles, November 27, 1962.
Of this first edition, only 2416 copies were printed. Copies signed or inscribed by James Agee (1909 - 1955) are rare, let alone such an association copy. Only one inscribed copy has appeared for auction from 1982 - 2022; it is described as follows: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Boston, 1941. Illustrated by Walker Evans. 8vo., original cloth, in worn dust jacket, binding with bump & minor soiling. Inscribed for John, and signed Jim Agee. Sotheby's New York, November 16, 2004, lot 268, $4000. (price before buyer's premium added).