[WALKER EVANS] RITTENHOUSE, Jack D.
American Horse-Drawn Vehicles
New York: Bonanza Books, [ca 1968]. Reprint. Quarto (28cm). Cloth boards; dustjacket; 101pp. Very Good. A Christmas gift to Ben Shahn from Walker Evans, with a long and personal gift inscription: "Dear Old Dr. Ben - This book I've just found seems to be just for you. I hear we're about to see you, at last: what a pleasure. I'm a doctor now, too, so it amuses me to name you. You've always been something of a doctor to me, anyway. And old? We're both that, I guess. Let's behave it. Nobody else dares. Merry Christmas / Much love, and to B. too / Walker / Nov 22, 1968." Despite opposing temperaments, and excepting brief fallings-out over the termination of Evans's FSA career and, later, over Evans's comparative apathy during the HUAC hearings, Evans and Ben remained close friends for life - a rare feat, as Shahn's long list of alienated ex-associates would attest. Evans's inscription, poking fun at his own and Shahn's honorary doctorates, reveals a sense of humor and affectionate indulgence which were by all accounts prerequesites for anyone who wished to remain close with Shahn for long. By this date Shahn was quite ill; it's not certain whether the visit to which Evans refers ever took place.