A DUSKY BEAUTY : MISS AIDA OVERTON WALKER

The subject of this vintage real photo postcard is Miss Aida Overton Walker. The caption above her name refers to her as “A Dusky Beauty”. Seems like a racist title to me. I don’t recall ever seeing its equivalent, “A Pasty Beauty”, on a portrait of a white female performer. Aida Overton Walker (1880-1914) was known as “The Queen of the Cakewalk”. She was African-American and an American vaudeville performer, singer, actress, and choreographer. She has been called the most famous African American female performer of the early twentieth century. She was married in 1899 to vaudeville performer, George Walker. Aida and her husband performed with the highly successful Bert Williams. They were the major black vaudeville and musical comedy act of the era. She was also a solo dancer and choreographer for a number of other vaudeville shows. Aida was well known for her 1912 performance of the ”’salome” dance. Aida was born in Richmond, Virginia and moved to New York City when she was young. She was educated there and received a great deal of musical training. When she was fifteen years old she joined the “Octoroons”, a black touring group. In 1900 she gained national notice with her performance of  “Miss Hannah from Savannah” in the play, “Sons of Ham”.  The song became a major hit. Overton Walker had significant theatrical success with her performances in Dahomey (1902), Abyssinia (1906), and Bandana Land (1908). Overall, Aida was praised by critics and fellow performers. She was financially successful. In 1908 she retired to care for her ill husband. In 1910 she returned to the stage as a solo act. In 1911, her husband died. By 1912, she was on tour again. That same year, she performed on Broadway as Salome. In 1914, Walker died suddenly from kidney failure. Two years before her death, she was performing in white variety theaters. She and Bert Williams were the only Black performers “permitted” to do so. At that time, African Americans were expected to confine themselves to “lower” entertainment such as comedy and ragtime. “High” art, like dramatic theater and classical dance were reserved for whites. Aida helped break that racist tradition. During her career, Aida addressed the issue of racial relations. She stated in an article in “The Colored American Magazine (1905), her view that that the performing arts could have a beneficial effect on race relations. Walker asserted “I venture to think and dare to state that our profession does more toward the alleviation of color prejudice than any other profession among colored people.” She also worked to improve working conditions, and to expand roles for black women on the stage. During the period Walker was performing, female actresses, especially black actresses, were seen as “immoral and oversexed”. Aida wrote “a woman does not lose her dignity…when she enters stage life”. Walker also worked to develop the talents of younger black performers within the framework of refinement and elegance. In 1908, she began organizing benefits to assist such causes as the Industrial Home for Colored Working Girls. This vintage postcard was published by Raphael Tuck, of Paris, France. The photographer of Miss Walker was Cavendish Morton (1874-1939). The National Portrait Gallery possesses 104 of Morton’s portraits. Morton had several careers including electrical engineering, architecture, acting, illustrating, and in the 1890’s he took up photography. He is known for his theatrical photo portraits. His son was a well known watercolor artist. This postcard was postmarked in 1908, The postcard is in good condition. See the youtube video below. It is a tribute to Aida Overton Walker. 

 

Buy this original Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #2841

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$38.50

Buy this original Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) #2841

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AFRICAN AMERICAN MOTHER AND SON (1926-1940)

afram boy and mom

afram boy and mom 1 This vintage real photo postcard features an African American mother posing proudly next to her adorable and well dressed young son. He is wearing an adorable outfit, probably his sunday best. The AZO stamp box indicates that the postcard was published between 1926 and 1940.  SOLD

afram boy and mom 2

Published in: on May 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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YOUNG AFRICAN AMERICAN GIRL IN NEWARK, NEW JERSEY

 

NEWARK AFRICAN AMER

NEWARK AFRICAN AMER 1

This young African American woman is posing for her photographic portrait at the studio of J. Henry Smith in Newark, New Jersey. Smith is listed in Newark business directories as early as 1870 and as late as 1897. The young lady in this photograph appears to be in her teenage years. Cabinet card photos of African Americans are not very common.  (SOLD)

NEWARK AFRICAN AMER 2

 

Published in: on November 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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PORTRAIT OF A WELL DRESSED AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN (1926-1940’S)

This vintage real photo postcard features a full length portrait of a well dressed African American man. Note his sporty cap. He appears to be a relatively young man and is displaying a serious expression. The man”s nam and the photographer’s name and location are unknown. The AZO stamp box on the reverse of the postcard indicate that the photo was taken sometime between 1926 and the 1940’s. The postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

Buy this original Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #2578

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$35.50

Buy this original Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) #2578

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$43.50

 

 

Published in: on November 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF AN OLDER AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN (1917)

An older African American woman poses for her photograph at an unknown studio in an unknown location. The woman projects and image of wisdom, warmth, and amiableness. An inscription of the reverse this vintage real photo postcard reveals that the photo was taken in 1917. The AZO stamp box confirms the date since it indicates that the postcard was published during that period (1904-1918). Photo postcards of African Americans, that are in good condition, are not all that common. This postcard has great clarity and is in very good condition (see scans).

SOLD

AFRICAN AMERICAN LITTLE GIRL WITH A BIG NAME: MARGARET ALICE VERA VANCE

This vintage real photo postcard features an adorable African American little girl sitting in a tree. The little girl’s mother wrote a touching message on the reverse of the postcard. “Her name is Margaret Alice Vera Vance. I can’t tell you how much I love my baby “Mgrt” but I can assure you that she doesn’t go hungry or cold.”  This postcard was never mailed and is in very good condition. The “AZO” stamp box indicates that the postcard was produced between 1904 and 1918.

SOLD

Published in: on July 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG AND HANDSOME AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN IN INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

This cabinet card portrait features a young African American man. He is well dressed in a three piece suit and wearing a pocket watch. His hat appears to be strategically tipped, and indeed, he does look quite debonaire. This photograph is especially nice because it offers a full portrait of this handsome gentleman. It is difficult to find cabinet card photographs of African Americans that are in excellent condition. Many African Americans did not have the means to have their images taken and did not have easy access to photographer’s studios. This photograph was taken at a studio belonging to James H. Clark. The studio was located in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is listed as a photographer in Indianapolis directories from 1889 through 1900.  SOLD

Published in: on May 17, 2018 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN

A young African American man is featured in this vintage real photo postcard. He is well dressed and has a pleasant smile. The photographer and the location of the studio is unidentified. The name “Raymond Clifford” is written on the reverse of the postcard. It is likely the name of the young man in the photograph. The postcard has an “Artura” stamp box indicating that the photograph was taken sometime between 1910 and 1924.  (SOLD)

AFRICAN AMERICAN LITTLE GIRL BASKING IN THE SUNLIGHT

This snapshot features an African American little girl asking in the sunlight. She has a lovely smile. The child is wearing a sailor outfit and has a bow in her hair. She is standing on a cement sidewalk in front of a large building. Note her shadow, which appears on the column behind her. Judging by the architecture, this photo was likely taken in a city or a large town.  The photograph measures about 4 1/4″ x 2 1/2″.

Published in: on April 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PHOTOGRAPH OF THE FINALISTS OF THE MISS BLACK OHIO BEAUTY PAGEANT (1976)

This vintage photograph features a portrait of the finalists of the Miss Black Ohio Beauty Pageant of 1976. The contest was hosted by the Bel-Aire Civic Club. All six of the African American women in this photograph are quite pretty but there could only be one winner and you can identify her by the crown on her head. This 8″ x 10″ image is likely a press photo.   SOLD