Category Archives: photographs

photographs

“From the only poet to a shining whore,” Samuel Beckett for Henry Crowder to sing.

Photomontage by Man Ray (1890-1976)

Two complementary volumes were recently acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection, greatly enhancing the fine press holding of Nancy Cunard’s Hours Press and more generally, expanding material on Harlem Renaissance expatriates living in Paris during the 1930s:

Henry Crowder (1890-1955), Henry-Music. Poems by Nancy Cunard, Richard Aldington, Walter Lowenfels, Samuel Beckett, and Harold Acton. Music by Henry Crowder (Paris: Hours Press, 1930). Edition: 100. Cover photomontage by Man Ray. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process. Acquired thanks to funds provided by the Friends of the Princeton University Library.

Anthony Barnett, Listening for Henry Crowder: A Monograph on His Almost Lost Music with the Poems and Music of Henry-Music (Lewes, East Sussex, England: Allardyce Barnett Publishers, 2007). “This 128 page monograph with previously undocumented materials includes an essay, roll/discography, some 90 photos, documents, music, CD insert with rolls and recordings including the Crowder-Cunard composition Memory Blues aka Bouf sur le toit and new recordings by New York vocalist Allan Harris of six compositions by Crowder including his collaboration with Samuel Beckett.” Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Here is a brief snippet of music by Henry Crowder from Listening for Henry Crowder:

Born in Georgia, the Black jazz pianist Henry Crowder (1890-1955) first met the White shipping heiress Nancy Cunard (1896-1965) in Venice while performing at the Hotel Luna. They fell in love and moved to Cunard’s home outside Paris. Together they converted an old farmhouse in Reanville into a fine press printing studio, called Hours Press, where they set type, designed and printed small editions, and published the work of Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington, Norman Douglas, Laura Riding, and others. The young Samuel Beckett won a poetry contest sponsored by the press and became a valued friend.

 

In Cunard’s book These Were the Hours: Memories of My Hours Press, Reanville and Paris, 1928-1931, she writes about their 1930 publication Henry-Music. Richard Aldington, Harold Acton, Walter Lowenfels, and Beckett each gave Crowder poems to be set to music during an August vacation in the village of Creysse. “Nearly everything was written here in the course of four weeks, so that we went back to Paris with the Opus almost finished. … To do the covers Man Ray’s name came to me at once, for he had not only a strong appreciation for African art but for Henry as well. I had known Man Ray and had admired his work for several years.” Crowder later wrote an account of his years spent with Cunard, published posthumously, with almost no mention of this publication.

Princeton’s copy of Henry-Music includes a lengthy inscription from Crowder to Mr. & Mrs. Otto Theis: “Dear friends, if this little effort of mine brings you one moment of pleasure, I assure that I am amply repaid for whatever effort went into the making of it. You two people are realy [sic] nearer to my heart than you may suspect. Probably I am presuming when I say that, but nevertheless the Gods themselves (whoever they are) don’t always know who loves them.”

See also: Henry Crowder, As Wonderful as All That?: Henry Crowder’s Memoir of His Affair with Nancy Cunard, 1928-1935 (Navarro, CA: Wild Tree Press, 1987).

Nancy Cunard, These Were the Hours (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969).

Below is the poem twenty-four years old Samuel Beckett gave Henry Crowder for Henry Music, and above is a snippet of vocalist Allan Harris’s recording. The complete recording is available on our CD included in Listening for Henry Crowder. **It begins very quietly**

From the Only Poet To a Shining Whore
for Henry Crowder to Sing

Rahab of the Holy Battlements,
bright dripping shaft
in the bright bright patient
pearl-brow dawn-dusk lover of the sun.

Puttanina mia!
You hid them happy in the high flax,
pale before the fords
of Jordan, and the dry red waters,
and you lowered a pledge
of scarlet hemp.

Oh radiant, oh angry, oh Beatrice,
she foul with the victory
of the bloodless fingers
and proud, and you, Beatrice, mother, sister, daughter, beloved,
fierce pale flame
of doubt, and God’s sorrow,
and my sorrow.

George Boileau Willock cartoons

The Graphic Arts Collection recently added an album of 259 original cartoons, watercolors, and pen-&-ink sketches on 170 pp., along with a few printed cartoons, including one “sent to Punch January 1868.”

 

George Boileau Willock (born 1832), Gore Wynyard Willock (1861-1910), et al., Scraps by Many Hands, [ca. 1855-1885]. Embossed cover “G.B.W.”

Some work has already been done on the albums provenance, which is repeated here:
A collection of original art work by G.B.W. (George Boileau Willock, born 1832) and his artistic friends. The album was passed to his son, G.W.W. (Gore Wynyard Willock, 1861-1910). George came from an Imperial family that included Alexander Willock, London merchant and slave owner in the West Indies, his son Francis (1785-1834), naval officer and brother of Sir Henry Willock (1790-1858) chairman of the East India Company, and Captain Frank Gore Willock (1829-1857) who died at Delhi.

The son of Sir Henry Willock and Elizabeth Davis, George married Georgina C.M Willoughby in 1857 and together they had three children, Beatrice, Gore and Frank. Gore was born at Mussoorie, (a hill station pictured in the album) in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, north of New Delhi, and served in the Indian army before retiring to London. The Boileau connection was through Mary Elizabeth Boileau (1838-1919), who married Henry Davis Willock in 1859.

It is assumed that Gore compiled his father’s drawings into this album, including 124 cartoons signed G.B.W. or G.B. Willock; and about 80 others unsigned but probably by Willock. George was clearly an accomplished artist but many of the drawings present racist views of Asian, African, and Indian people, both in the image and the text. They are not included here. A portrait [at the top] presumed to be George Willock is included with a photograph of his face pasted to a sketch of a man on horseback

 

There are 20 non-humorous watercolors or pen-&-ink drawings of landscapes in England, Scotland, and India.. Eighteen cartoons are signed with the initials of other artists: 8 by C.A.R., 4 by J.L., 2 each by H.M.J. and W.T., one each by W.F.L. and M.E.
The two printed items laid into the album are:
Legend of Broadstairs. For Private Circulation only (Broadstairs: Printed by E. Cantwell, ca. 1875). Signed G.B.W. at end. Inscribed to “Gore from the Author,” [ca.1875].
A True Tale told by Mariah Hanne to Sarah Jane. 3pp. on a single folded sheet [ca.1880], inscribed to “Gore from the Author.”

 

 

Picturing Chess

Given the success of The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis (New York: Random House, 1983) [HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access ReCAP PS3570.E95 Q4 1983] and the Netflix series, we thought it might be interesting to see what chess games were in our collection, played by all genders. Princeton owns one of the earliest calotypes of two men playing chess, attributed to the unknown British amateur named Brodie and undated [above: Richard Willats ark:/88435/k930bx11x, Treasures of the Graphic Arts Collection]. This rivals the calotype attributed to Antoine Claudet showing two men playing chess around 1845. https://talbot.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/2018/09/07/claudets-talbotype-or-calotype-portraits/

On the left is the death mask for the French chess master Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1795–1840, box 25), who Wikipedia calls “possibly the strongest player in the early 19th century.” Unfortunately there is no picture of him actually playing.

Princeton University Library’s Eugene Beauharnais Cook chess collection https://library.princeton.edu/special-collections/topics/chess, includes over 2000 volumes, separately arranged, classed and catalogued. The complete list of the collection is published in Princeton University Library Classified List VI (1920) pp. 3585-3608 [(ExB) 0639.7373.5 vol. 6]. [full text] .

Within the Cook collection is a portfolio holding nineteen prints and photographs (Cook Oversize GV1447 .C665e). Two are particularly interesting as they are both the French and German edition of the lithograph after Johann Peter Hasenclever (1810-1853) from the series Le musee des rieurs. The German print is titled Die Schachspieler (Berlin) and in Paris the print is called Les Joueurs d’echecs.

Other chess themes appear in Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), Check mate. n.d. [1790]. Pen and ink. Graphic Arts Collection Rothrock GA 2014.00739. Below James Bretherton (active 1770-1781), A game at chess [before and after lettering]. London: [s.n.], 1780/03/01. Graphic Arts Collection Oversize GA 2011.01368 and at the bottom George Cruikshank (1792-1878), Game of chess. London: [s.n.], 1819/08/01. Graphic Arts Collection GC022

Proof before lettering above. Note the changes in the final print below, including a second dog.


There is much more, of course, but this is a taste.

 

Detail

A Curious Application of Photography 1857

TelaDoc medicine is not so new. Under the heading: “PARIS GOSSIP: New Freaks of Fashionable Life–A Grisette Strangled in an Eastern Harem–French Marringes–Miscellaneous News,” a story titled “Curious application of photography” was printed in New York Daily Times January 6, 1857, then, reprinted in various other papers as far as the Lancaster Gazetter (from the Paris correspondent of the New York Times), Friday, January 31, 1857.

It looks like this:

Radical members of the South Carolina Legislature

Attributed to J. G. Gibbes, Radical Members of the So. Ca. [South Carolina] Legislature, no date [1868?]. Albumen silver print. GA 2009.01025 and GA 2009.01024

After our recent election, did anyone ask if either house, any legislature, or other governing body now had a majority of Black members? On January 14, 1868, the South Carolina constitutional convention met in Charleston with a majority of Black delegates.

There are many images of this 1868 photo-montage on the internet. We digitized ours so researchers could enlarge and study each individual man. https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/10657586
As described by the Digital South Carolina Encyclopedia,

The 1868 constitution was revolutionary because it embodied many democratic principles absent from previous constitutions. The new document provided for population alone, rather than wealth or the combination of wealth and population, as the basis for House representation. It also continued popular election of the governor. Additionally, the 1868 constitution abolished debtors’ prison, provided for public education, abolished property ownership as a qualification for office holding, granted some rights to women, and created counties. Provisions [in schools] for the deaf and blind were also ordered. Race was abolished as a limit on male suffrage. The Black Codes that had flourished under the constitution of 1865 were overturned. There was no provision against interracial marriage, and all the public schools were open to all races.

This text accompanies the print:

“These are the Photographs of 63 members of the reconstruction South Carolina Legislature, 50 of whom are negros, or mulattoes and 13 white. 22 read and write (8 grammatically). The remainder (41) make their mark with the aide of an amanuensis. Nineteen (19) are tax-payers to an aggregate amount of $146.10 the rest (44) pay no taxes, and the body levies on the white people of the State for $4,000,000.”


Two of the images in the composite read: “President, Lieut. Gov. Booze 40 acres and a mule” and “Judas Moses who raised the Confederate flag on Fort Sumter”.

The men’s names are printed on some copies:
1-Dusenberry, McKinlay, Dickson, Wilder, Hoyt, Randolph, Harris
2-Myes, Jillson, Lomax, Jackson, Thomas, Webb, Bozeman, Tomlinson, Wright.
3-Demars, Brodie, Hayes, Cain, Maxwell, Martin, Cook, Miller.
4-Rivers, Duncan, BOOZER, Smythe, Wright, MOSES, Sancho, Sanders, Nuckles.
5-Miteford, White, Barton, Boston, Shrewsbury, Mickey, Henderson, Howell, Hayne, Mobley, Hudson, Nash, Carmand.
6-Smith, Pettengill, Hyde, Lee, Simonds, Chesnut, McDaniel, Williams, Gardner.
7-Swails, Perrin, James, Johnston, Wimbush, Hayes, Farr, Meade, Thompson, Rainey.

Thanks to Emily E. Vaughn, we know a little more:
http://emilyevaughn.com/SC1868LegislatureR1.htm
Row 1
Harris, David
McKinley, Whitfield J.
Randolph, Benjamin F.
Wilder, Charles M.

Row 2
Boseman, Benjamin A.
Lomax, Hutson J.
Mays, James P.
Thomas, William M.
Wright, Jonathan J.


Row 3
Brodie, William J.
Cain, Lawrence
Cooke, Wilson
Hayes, Eben
Maxwell, Henry J.

Row 4
Duncan, Hiram W.
Nuckles, Samuel
Rivers, Prince R.
Saunders, Sancho
Smythe, Powell
Wright, John B.

Row 5
Burton, Barney
Hayne, Henry E.
Henderson, James A.
Hutson, James
Mickey, Edward C.
Mobley, Junius S.
Nash, William B.
Shrewsbury, Henry L.
White, John Hannibal

Row 6
Chestnut, John A.
Gardner, John
Lee, Samuel J.
McDaniels, Harry
Simons, William M.
Smith, Abraham W.

Row 7
Farr, Simeon
James, Burrell
Johnson, William E.
Meade, James W.
Perrin, Wade
Rainey, Joseph H.
Swails, Stephen Atkins
Thompson, Benjamin A.
Wimbush, Lucius W.

Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther, Un Film de William Klein

Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther, Un Film de William Klein (Paris: Imprimerie Speciale Capital Films, n.d. [1970]). Photomechanical poster. Unknown designer. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2020- in process

Filmed nonstop for three days by director/cinematographer William Klein (born 1928) on site in Algeria, this low budget film follows Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998) after leaving the United States. When it was released in London, the Guardian noted, “Cleaver, on film as in life, is a complex mixture of profound political insight, socially crystallized ghetto cultural patterns and a multifaceted human personality.”

“When in Algiers to film the Pan-African Cultural Festival in 1969, Klein met Eldridge Cleaver, the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Information, in exile after being charged with murder in the United States and now invited by the Algerian authorities to take part officially in the Festival with his African-American Information Center. Klein is fascinated by this charismatic and controversial figure, openly advocating the use of violence by the Black Panthers as a legitimate revolutionary practice, and at the same time involved in humanitarian activities and an international solidarity network bringing together activists from Cuba to Africa to Vietnam. The documentary portrays Cleaver’s manifold personality against his daily life in Algiers, as he talks to Klein and to other Festival delegates about American society, the war in Vietnam and the ongoing struggles for independence and civil rights across the continents.”


A short selection from Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther by William Klein, Algeria / France 1970, 35mm transferred to digiBeta, 75 min, English and French with English subtitles

Musical Families

The Hurtt Family, taken in Detroit, Michigan

 

This is the third in a series of three posts introducing our new collection of vernacular portrait photographs of American musicians. Originally owned by Pasadena visual and sound artist Steve Roden, some images were published in his book I Listen to the Wind that Obliterates My Traces …, and others are seen by the general public for the first time here. These are all part of a collection of approximately 330 photographs now in the Graphic Arts Collection.

Additional images from the collection can be seen at: https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2020/10/26/american-musicians/

Highlights include close to a hundred images of women musicians, from soloists to women’s bands and cabaret acts; images of musical ‘special personalities’, e.g. a one-armed musician, albino musicians, and an African-American dwarf troubadour, Lynn Lewis White; child musicians, including vaudeville performer L. Wade Ray, “The Boy Wonder Youngest Violin Player in U.S.A.;” a number of examples depicting one-man bands; and unidentified African-American musicians.

Seen here are a few of the family bands popular in the United States at the end of the 19th century.

Mitchell’s Concert Band, taken in Lavalle, Wisconsin

 


A member of the Shippen Family Band, taken in Lebanon, Kansas

 

The Noss Family Band, of New Brighton, Pennsylvania

 

The Celebrated Female Band, now with the Burr Robbins

 

 

Brother and sister?

 

 

 

Steve Roden, I Listen to the Wind that Obliterates My Traces: Music in Vernacular Photographs, 1880-1955 (Atlanta, Ga.: Dust to Digital, 2011). Mendel ML87 .R654 2011

One Person Bands


This is the second of three posts introducing our new collection of vernacular portrait photographs of American musicians. Originally owned by Pasadena visual and sound artist Steve Roden, some images were published in his book I Listen to the Wind that Obliterates My Traces …, and others are seen by the general public for the first time here.

Sitters include the popular showman Professor McCrea [below], an Ontario-born one man band, along with several other polymuses seen here. These are all part of a collection of approximately 330 photographs now in the Graphic Arts Collection.

Additional images from the collection can be seen at: https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2020/10/26/american-musicians/

Highlights include close to a hundred images of women musicians, from soloists to women’s bands and cabaret acts; images of musical ‘special personalities’, e.g. a one-armed musician, albino musicians, and an African-American dwarf troubadour, Lynn Lewis White; child musicians, including vaudeville performer L. Wade Ray, “The Boy Wonder Youngest Violin Player in U.S.A.;” a number of examples depicting one-man bands; and unidentified African-American musicians.



 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Roden, I Listen to the Wind that Obliterates My Traces: Music in Vernacular Photographs, 1880-1955 (Atlanta, Ga.: Dust to Digital, 2011). Mendel ML87 .R654 2011

American Musicians

Back in 2011, Pasadena visual and sound artist Steve Roden published a collection of vernacular photographs together with several compilation CDs entitled I Listen to the Wind that Obliterates My Traces …, which presented music and musicians we might not otherwise know or appreciate. Derived mainly from flea market cabinet cards and photographic postcards 1860-1930, the images capture musicians old and young; country and city; classically trained and self-taught; costumed and barefooted.

Popular showmen such as Professor McCrae, a Canadian one man band, are presented but the majority of the collection are unidentified next-door neighbors you may have seen at the local town square gazebo or fairgrounds. Some portraits were taken at commercial studios, possibly the one formal photograph someone may have had made. Still others reveal a bed sheet quickly tacked up on the porch to serve as a homemade backdrop. Either way, someone cared enough to print each of these photographs onto a penny postcard or paper mount, to be mailed or shared with others.

Roden organized the images “to create what he calls ‘his specifically timed experience. There are these pauses where there are photos with no people, and a quote from a literary text. The whole thing is about slowing down.’ And, in an odd way, the visual aspect of the book is also an ode to silence. ‘There something very absurd about collecting images of something that’s not present in the photograph — which is the sound,’ says Roden. ‘There’s something perverse about that.’”–Randall Roberts, LA Times

 

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired approximately 330 photographs, 1880s to 1930s, originally owned by Steve Roden, some published in his 2011 book I listen to the wind… and others never before seen by the general public. The contents have been variously listed as blind musicians, family bands, poised soloists, women’s social clubs, sibling groups, drinking buddies, and all kinds of instruments (one-man bands, glass harps, bassoons, banjos, violas, drum kits, trumpets, and clarinets, et al.). This group is specifically American portraits.

Highlights include close to a hundred images of women musicians, from soloists to women’s bands and cabaret acts; images of musical ‘special personalities’, e.g. a one-armed musician, albino musicians, and an African-American dwarf troubadour, Lynn Lewis White; child musicians, including vaudeville performer L. Wade Ray, “The Boy Wonder Youngest Violin Player in U.S.A.;” a number of examples depicting one-man bands; and unidentified African-American musicians.


 

 

 

This is the first of three posts offering a taste of our wonderful new collection. The next post will feature one-person-bands and the third, musical families.

 

 

Major Lynn Lewis White, 21 years old

 


 

 

 

 

Steve Roden, I Listen to the Wind that Obliterates My Traces: Music in Vernacular Photographs, 1880-1955 (Atlanta, Ga.: Dust to Digital, 2011). Mendel ML87 .R654 2011

Chris Killip 1946-2020

In Flagrante is one of the greatest photobooks of our generation. Its artist/author Chris Killip passed away yesterday at the age of 74. His photographs for that series, created between 1973 and 1985, were published, sold out, republished, sold out, and continue to be loved by the world. Hopefully you are lucky enough to have one or at least a reproduction of one.

“History is what’s written, my pictures are what happened.”

In the Guardian today, Martin Parr is quoted, “Chris is without a doubt one of the key players in postwar British photography. …It was a different way of looking. Put simply, Chris created a new narrative by looking more closely at his subjects and what they represented.”

While Four Young Photographers, the catalogue for Killip’s 1972 group show quickly made its way to library shelves in America and remains a classic, his prints were first appreciated on the East Coast thanks to John Szarkowski’s 1989 exhibition Photography Until Now, followed in 1990 by MoMA’s British Photography From The Thatcher Years.

Fittingly born on the Isle of Man, Killip was a charming and enthusiastic mentor to many young students. “In 1991, Killip was invited to Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a visiting lecturer. He embraced the move to America, was made a tenured professor in 1994, and remained teaching at the world-famous university until 2017, as a professor of visual and environmental Studies.”—Art Newspaper

His personal webpage offers more: https://chriskillip.com/index.html, including this link to a recent interview: https://a-small-voice-conversations-with-photographers.simplecast.com/episodes/094-chris-killip

A few years ago, The Getty mounted Now Then: Chris Killip and the Making of “In Flagrante”, noting “Poetic, penetrating, and often heartbreaking, Chris Killip’s In Flagrante remains the most important photobook to document the devastating impact of deindustrialization on working-class communities in northern England in the 1970s and 1980s. The fifty photographs of In Flagrante serve as the foundation of this exhibition, which includes maquettes, contact sheets, and work prints to reveal the artist’s process. The show also features material from two related projects—Seacoal and Skinningrove—that Killip developed in the 1980s, included selectively in In Flagrante, and revisited decades later.” — https://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/chris_killip/

 

Chris Killip (1946-2020), In flagrante; with an essay by John Berger and Sylvia Grant (London : Secker & Warburg, 1988).
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/oct/14/chris-killip-hard-hitting-photographer-of-britains-working-class-dies-aged-74