A collection of portraits and personal stories of local Key Westers a century ago that show what life was like on the island before it became a glamorous resort.
The depth of McGarry’s research is impressive. His art uncovers the stories of people from prominent citizens to young telegraph boys. Key West is portrayed as a hub of industry, a bustling railroad town and a multifaith community. He is sensitive to the dynamics of race in Key West at the time, profiling a leader of the Ku Klux Klan as well as a Black harbor pilot and one-time child laborer Louis Welters, seen at age 13 in his security pass but also, in a photo from 2006, at age 100. He also reflects briefly on some gendered differences in Key West at the time, with one person profiled only receiving a pass because she possibly needed to bring her husband lunch.
McGarry’s love for Key West shines through his portrait paintings and the stories and photographs he shares, and the reader will grow to love them as well. Faces of Old Key West 1918 conveys both an artistic and a historic narrative, helping the reader feel the personalities of these men and women who lived on the island. Anyone looking for a specific name or organization, whether an ancestor or simply the origin of a street name will benefit from a helpful index. A winning mixture of art and history, Faces of Old Key West 1918 is sure to appeal to anyone who loves the Keys, tourists and locals alike.
Takeaway: A lovely collection of photographs and paintings of Key West and its people, circa 1918.
Comparable Titles: Maureen Ogle’s Key West: History of an Island of Dreams, John Viele’s Tales of Yesterday's Florida Keys.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-