Camp LaGuardia, NY: 1967. Original 2pp typed letter on two sides of a sheet of hotel letterhead, dated 31 July 1967. Addressed: Dear Ben [Shahn], signed in ink "Ed Locke." Three old folds, else fine.
A warm and personal letter from Shahn's old friend and fellow FSA photographer, including and commenting on two poems Locke has written: "...a bit of formal verse has crowded into my mind, four-square...I'd not send you these trivia, except as evidence that my heart is beating in some fashion...I'm inflicting the verses upon you, not just because you encouraged me, but because they are a sort of safety-valve. What an ancient square I am! I slip into a villanelle as though it were my own coat. Do you ever doodle with your brush?"
Though his talents lay more in the realm of writing and editing than photography, Edwin Locke worked for three years as Roy Stryker's main assistant at the FSA, where in addition to editorial tasks he participated in a number of documentary photo shoots, including an important collaboration with Walker Evans to document victims of the 1937 Arkansas Flood. His association with Shahn would have dated from this period, as Shahn and Stryker were extremely close colleagues in Washington, first in the Special Skills section of the Resettlement Administration and, later, in the art section of the FSA.