MARK, Mary Ellen. Ward 81.

(New York, NY): Simon and Schuster, 1979. First edition. Oblong quarto. The scarce hardcover issue. Introduction by Milos Forman. Text by Karen Folger Jacobs. In 1975, photographer Mary Ellen Mark was assigned by a magazine to do a story on the making of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, shot on location at the Oregon State Hospital, a mental institution. While there, she met, briefly, the women of Ward 81. Ward 81 is the women’s security ward of the hospital, the only locked ward for women in the state. The women on this ward are considered dangerous to themselves or to others. In February of 1976, Mary Ellen and Karen Folger Jacobs, a writer and social scientist, were given permission to live on the ward in order to photograph and interview the women. They spent thirty-six days on Ward 81. Ellen’s black-and-white pictures are straightforward and often stark, but, considering the overwhelmingly depressing context, they’re startlingly comfortable. A highspot of American photo documentary. This is a very good plus copy, previous owner’s inscription on front endpaper, in a very good plus dust jacket.


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