The White Mountains of New Hampshire have long inspired artists, writers and photographers. John Collier took this photograph in June 1943 while he was working for the Office of War Information. Collier had suffered hearing loss and learning disabilities from a childhood accident. When he was 12, he was apprenticed to the painter Maynard Dixon, but it was Dixon’s wife, Dorothea Lange, who exposed him to photography.
Collier followed quite a few artists who portrayed the White Mountains. Early in the 19th century, artists began traveling to northern New Hampshire to paint them: Benjamin Champney, John Frederick Kensett and Asher Durand, to name a few. Louisa May Alcott featured the White Mountains in two of her novels, Eight Cousins and its sequel, Rose in Bloom. Her neighbor in Concord, Mass., Nathaniel Hawthorne, wrote several stories about the White Mountains, including The Great Carbuncle and The Ambitious Guest. Hawthorne died in Plymouth, N.H., while on a trip to the White Mountains.