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A Journey through the History of Childhood

Written and edited by Ray Merritt

FULL OF GRACE chronicles the evolution of the child in society during the last 150 years through text and photographic imagery in a fashion that has never been done before. The text explores the place of the child from the reign of Queen Victoria to today. The book is divided into five chronological chapters, each of which highlights significant moments in child development -- culturally as well as politically, exploring both advances and setbacks in the progress towards gaining and maintaining basic rights such as freedom of speech, health, protection and education. Areas such as child labor, child exploitation and the effects of intolerance, poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease and war are assessed. The book presents and celebrates the positive aspects of the advances in child development and welfare.

Art photography and the works of photojournalists were selected as the best way to illustrate and enhance the text. Photography was born during the Victorian reign and its development surprising parallels the ascent of child suffrage. Since the child often serves as a muse and subject of photography, it seems appropriate to use that medium for this work. The book consists of over 300 images and illustrations and approximately 100 pages of text. The net proceeds received from the book and exhibitions are contributed to UNICEF.

The Cygnet Foundation believes that now, perhaps more than ever before, the struggle to insure basic rights to children is the paramount issue facing humanity. Hopefully, a book of this scope and appeal will help awaken a heightened sensitivity towards children and strengthen the readers' understanding social and cultural rights of children.         

A Journey through the History
of Childhood

Written and edited by
Ray Merritt

Book price: $30

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"No sentimental cooing, please: The historic and modern images in Ray Merritt's Full of Grace: A Journey through the History of Childhood are so dazzlingly elegant, elegiac, moving and exhilarating that mushy responses are simply out of the question. This is childhood seen through the clear lens of curiosity, filtered with compassion and respect. As philanthropist-connoisseur Merritt, who will donate the book's net proceeds to UNICEF, puts it, 'Old men can make war, but it is children who will make history.'"
Oprah Magazine

"A gripping collection of childhood photographs complimented by an interpretive text, Merritt arranges the photographs chronologically - from the mid-19th century to contemporary work, and from birth to teens - and by themes: romantic, innocent, marginalized..."
Kirkus Discoveries

"In this elegant edition, Merritt chronicles how youth is rendered in photographs, as well as other art and literature, over the course of the last 150 years. An eclectic, captivating study, this is a fine volume for anyone who works with children or children's welfare issues."
Publishers Weekly

Selected as The Best Photo Book of 2007
Photo District News

Junior Resources
Artis Specturm

John Baldessari
Cecil Beaton
Werner Bischof
Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Julia Margret Cameron
Lewis Carroll
Larry Clark
Clementina Lady Hawarden
Bruce Davidson
Frantisek Drtikol
Alfred Eisenstaedt
Elliott Erwitt
Robert Frank
Anna Gaskell
Ralph Gibson
Southworth & Hawes
Lewis Hine
Andre Kertesz
Dorothea Lange
Jacques-Henri Lartigue
Arthur Leipzig

Erna Lendvai-Direksen
Helen Levitt
Sally Mann
Robert Mapplethorpe
Helmut Newton
Gorden Parks
Irving Penn
Gilles Peress
Jacob Riis
Aleksandr Rodchenko
Sebastiao Salgado
August Sander
David Seymour (Chim)
Fazal Sheik
Alfred Steiglitz
Paul Strand
Wilhelm von Gloeden
Bruce Weber
Manfred Willman
Dr. Paul Wolff


Editor and Author: Raymond Merritt

Design Director: Caleb Cain Marcus

Senior Proofreading Coordinator: Cathy McCandalis

Research Coordinator: Alexandra McNear

Project Corrdinator: Marie Lillis