The photojournalist and street photographer Simpson Kalisher (American, born 1926) came to national attention with his 1961 book, Railroad Men: A Book of Photographs and Collected Stories. Resulting from a magazine assignment that went unpublished, the volume featured casual and revealing scenes of men at work on trains and in railway yards along with oral histories. “Because of the intensity of the conflicts, there were heroes and villains, legends and songs,” Kalisher wrote. “I hoped to capture some of this intensity, and also to find those lighter moments of man relating to man.” While he primarily produced commercial commissions, Kalisher also pursued independent projects and saw his photographs included in such significant surveys as the exhibitions The Family of Man (1955) and Mirrors and Windows: American Photography Since 1960 (1978), both at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. To date he has published two further photographic books, Propaganda and Other Photographs (1976) and The Alienated Photographer (2011).
In a 1962 review of Railroad Men, Hugh Edwards linked Kalisher’s work to a tradition of realism going back to the daguerreotype and following the lineage of Lewis Hine, Walker Evans, and W. Eugene Smith. The largest themes in the book, Edwards argued, were “those ancient qualities, human dignity and character.” In the fall of that year, he mounted a solo exhibition of Kalisher’s work and acquired a portfolio of a dozen photographs from the series. He also purchased for himself the photograph he included on the show’s printed announcement, of a James Dean-like young man dashing out of a car on a wet street. Edwards wrote the photographer that his images were “impossible to forget and always good to remember.”
 Simpson Kalisher, Railroad Men: A Book of Photographs and Collected Stories (Clarke & Way, 1961).
 Ibid., p. 78.
 Simpson Kalisher, Propaganda and Other Photographs, with an introduction by Russell Baker (Two Penny Press/Addison House, 1976); The Alienated Photographer, with an introduction by Luc Sante (Two Penny Press, 2011).
 Edwards, review of Railroad Men, by Simpson Kalisher, Infinity: American Society of Magazine Photographers 11, 3 (Mar. 1962), p. 20.
 Edwards to Simpson Kalisher, Nov. 1, 1962, Institutional Archives, Art Institute of Chicago.