A new Heritage Room display on the second floor of Bennett Martin Public Library in downtown Lincoln celebrates author Wright Morris. Morris gained critical acclaim as a novelist and as a photographer. He received a National Book Award twice, in 1957 for The Field of Vision , looking at how a visit to a Mexican bullfight alters the lives of a group of Nebraska tourists, and in 1981 for Plains Song.
Photography and fiction were equally important in Morris' extraordinary life-long effort to capture the soul of the Midwest. In 1942 and again in 1946 Morris won a Guggenheim fellowship to support his photographic projects. The support enabled him to return to Nebraska and to produce his first two photo-texts, The Inhabitants, and The Home Place. These ground-breaking works, combining photography and fiction, have been recognized as an attempt to create an entirely new literary form. In honor of the 100th Anniversary of Wright Morris's birth, the Nebraska Center for the Book has chosen The Home Place as the One Book, One Nebraska book for 2010. The Lone Tree Literary Society in Morris's birthplace, Central City Nebraska, will host many of this year's One Book One Nebraska activities.
Our display (snapshot above) includes signed Wright Morris posters, books and other memorabilia. Heritage Room archival collections include the Wright Morris-Victor Musselman correspondence and several original Morris prints. Wright Morris developed a close friendship with Loren Eiseley when when both men lived in the same building in Philadelphia in the late 1940s. Gale Christianson's interviews and correspondence with Morris are in our Gale Christianson Collection of Eiseley Research Materials