Black portrait photograph collection

Summary

Creator: University of Delaware. Library. Special Collections
Date(s): circa 1860-1880, 1920s
Call Number: GRA 0140
Language: English
Abstract: The Black portrait photograph collection contains portraits of Black individuals and groups, collected from various sources by the University of Delaware Library. The photographers, sitters, and settings of these photographs are unidentified, unless otherwise noted.
Physical Description:
  • 0.2s (1 box)
  • 1 oversize box
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Various purchases, 2019-2021.

Photographs in box 1, F1-3 are accession 2019-0121.

Photographs in box 1, F4 are accession 2020-0015.

The photograph in box 2, F1 is accession 2020-0040.

The photograph in box 2, F2 is accession 2021-0018.

Processing Information: Processed and encoded by Kit Fluker in 2020 and 2021. This finding aid incorporates descriptive information created by the spring 2021 section of Curating Hidden Collections and the Black Archive: Danielle Bing, Thomas Busciglio-Ritter, LaStarsha McGarity, TK Smith, Daniella Statia, and Darbyshire Witek.

Anyone with information regarding the identities of the individuals in the photographs is encouraged to contact the Special Collections department at: https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec.

Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Alternative Format: Digitized versions of the materials in this collection are available in the University of Delaware Digital Collections.

Biographical and Historical Notes

The Black portrait photograph collection consists of photographs acquired from various sources by the University of Delaware Library. There is little and sometimes no information about the provenance of these photographs or the individuals depicted in them.

In spring 2021, students at the University of Delaware in the course AFRA 647: Curating Hidden Collections and the Black Archive studied the photographs and created metadata for the digital collection. This was a continuation of work done with the Baltimore Collection by the fall 2017 Curating Hidden Collections class. The work of both the fall 2017 seminar class and the spring 2021 seminar class is documented at the following link: https://sites.udel.edu/baltimorecollection/.

Scope and Contents

The Black portrait photograph collection contains portrait photographs of individuals and groups, who are likely African American or part of the Black diaspora. The photographers, sitters, and settings of these photographs have yet to be identified, unless otherwise noted. Dates are derived from the method of photography and aspects of the dress of the sitters.

The collection contains nine tintypes (collodion image on japanned iron) and two crayon enlargements. The tintypes have incurred damage over time, including creasing, rusting, denting, and scratches.

Though the identity of the sitters is unknown, the attire and accessories of many of them suggest their belonging to an educated middle class. Other sitters appear to be wearing the attire of their professional occupations. The use of props such as backdrops, rugs, and posing chairs signal that the photographs were likely created in photography studios.

Using these materials

Rights Statement

The text of this web page can be reused and modified under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Shelving Summary

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (upright mss)

Box 2: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches)

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

GRA 0140, Black portrait photograph collection, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

Related Materials in this Repository

GRA 0135 Baltimore collection

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec

Container List

Tintypes, circa 1860-1880

Portrait of a seated man and woman holding book Box 1, F1
Portrait of four men, two seated, two standing Box 1, F1
Portrait of a woman in a calico dress, seated on a chair Box 1, F2
Portrait of a seated woman Box 1, F2
Portrait of a seated woman Box 1, F3
Portrait of a seated woman Box 1, F3
Portrait of a man with book Box 1, F4
Portrait of a seated woman and standing child Box 1, F4
Portrait of a seated young man wearing a felt hat Box 1, F4

Crayon enlargements, circa 1920s

Hand-colored portrait of a man in a bowler hat Box 2, F1
Hand-colored portrait of a woman in a black dress Box 2, F2

Names & Subjects

Subjects

Formats