Old New York Strong

As New York City takes center stage for the role of viral epicenter it did not ask for, it has revealed a longstanding tenacity of spirit and resilience baked in- her very landmarks, monuments and memorials infused with the history of the shared past now standing silently yet propelling it ever forward. Combined with those higher graces of social inclusion and togetherness representing an ideal for American Democracy, these places and symbols will continue to forge and unite the connections between cultures, commerce and diasporas for the common good- in the days ahead and for the future.   -David Spencer

blog-brooklyn-bridge-tissue“Brooklyn Bridge”: Adolph A. Wittemann, American (1845-1938). Vintage Japan-tissue photogravure: 1889: printed ca. 1897-1900: Photogravure and Color Co. (New York): 8.8 x 17.1 | 12.6 x 19.7 cm | supports: 20.6 x 28.0 | 22.2 x 29.1 cm. Ferries and other marine craft navigate the East River in this pictorial view emphasizing the span of the famous bridge by Wittemann. Conversely, in a gelatin silver variant held by the Museum of the City of New York: “Looking over New York toward the Brooklyn Bridge”, (x2010.11.3891) the foreground frame shows a greater concentration of buildings and less river activity. In 1890,The Getty Research Institute’s Art & Architecture Thesaurus notes, Adolph Wittemann and his brother Herman would found The Albertype Company, a Brooklyn-based publisher employing the collotype (or albertype) photographic process. “The company operated from 1890 to 1952 and produced over 25,000 prints. The Albertype Company both produced their own photographs (Adolph was a photographer), as well as reproduced photographic images produced by other companies or individual photographers. Using the prints, the company published postcards and viewbooks. Viewbooks, also known as souvenir albums or view albums, are books that contain commercially published groups of photographs depicting a place, activity, or event.” From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

blog-union-square-tissue-grDetail: “Union Square”: unknown American photographer. Vintage Japan-tissue photogravure: ca. 1880-1900: printed ca. 1897-1900: Photogravure and Color Co. (New York): 10.8 x 16.4 | 14.5 x 18.8 cm | supports: 19.1 x 24.5 | 22.2 x 29.1 cm. Soldiers, possibly Cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, assemble in parade formation (Washington’s Birthday?) two abreast on the north side of Union Square in New York City. Everett House, a fine residential hotel that opened in 1853 at background center of photograph can be seen, and other clues might help a modern viewer more accurately date this view. They include an American flag flying at center, horse-drawn carriages at foreground left, a telegraph pole at foreground right and intact signs (upon close-magnification) on the building at far background left, directly behind the head of the line of soldiers. Located at 29 East 17th Street, it was the warehouse and shop for L. Marcotte & Co., a manufacturer and importer of fine carpets, furniture, and “looking glass plates, frames, gas fixtures, bronzes, and all articles of art”, according to an 1876 sales invoice, and is believed to have been at this location as early as 1860. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

blog-bethesda-terrace-centr“Central Park” (Bethesda Terrace Steps): unknown American photographer. Vintage Japan-tissue photogravure: ca. 1885-1888: printed ca. 1897-1900: Photogravure and Color Co. (New York): 11.2 x 16.5 | 14.7 x 19.3 cm | supports: 19.8 x 25.3 | 22.2 x 29.1 cm. The Central Park Conservancy considers Bethesda Terrace- “the heart of Central Park and is, by design, its singular formal feature. Overlooking the Lake, it stands at the end of the Park’s long, tree-lined promenade known as the Mall. A grand staircase descends into the subterranean Arcade, which offers a welcome respite from rain and heat.” Shown in this photograph are the two flanking grand staircases for the terrace, designed by park architects Calvert Vaux with sculptural details by Jacob Wrey Mould. Although American commercial photographer John S. Johnston (c.1839-1899) was known to have documented features in Central Park in 1893-94, albeit with people in his views, this photograph, titled “Central Park-The Terrace and Grand Stairway”, first appeared in 1888 in the volume The Empire State: Its Industries and Wealth. (p.45) Later, it was included as part of a series of four architectural studies of Central Park bridges in the 1896 volume The Engineering Magazine, Vol. 11. (“The Terrace”: p. 863) The work was further published as “Terrace Steps, Central Park”- an offset color lithograph print souvenir inserted within the pages of The New York Recorder newspaper between 1891-96: see New York Public Library catalog ID (B-number): b17094307. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

blog-city-hall-park-1896-wi“City Hall Park, New York, March 2, 1896”: William H. Cooper, American. Vintage hand-pulled photogravure by the N.Y. Photogravure Co.: 18.0 x 22.9 | 27.6 x 34.8 cm. Plate issued with the March, 1896 Whole # 91 monthly issue of “Sun and Shade, An Artistic Periodical”. Snow from a late Winter storm coats trees and nearly everything else in New York City’s City Hall Park. From Wikipedia: “City Hall Park is a public park surrounding New York City Hall in the Civic Center of Manhattan. It was the town commons of the nascent city of New York… During the pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary eras, City Hall Park was the site of many rallies and movements.” Photographer William H. Cooper was the President of the Department of Photography at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Science when this photograph was published. The editors of Sun and Shade commented on this work: “The present picture, taken it may be noted for technical readers, by a 2A Zeiss lens, is, without exception, one of the most remarkable productions, so far, which photography has produced. Every one who has seen the strange and peculiar aspect of leafless trees, when showered with fleecy snow, has longed to carry in his mind the memory of the pretty sight: but, until now, it is doubtful if such a weird aspect has ever been perpetuated; certainly not by the hand of a painter, for it would be far and away beyond any artist’s powers.” From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

blog-statue-of-liberty“Statue of Liberty”: Edward H. Hart, American photographer. Vintage Japan-tissue photogravure: 1886: printed ca. 1897-1900: Photogravure and Color Co. (New York): 17.2 x 10.1 | 20.9 x 12.5 cm | supports: 23.5 x 20.0 | 29.0 x 22.2 cm. This rare view of the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) in New York Harbor was taken in the year it was officially dedicated, which took place October 28, 1886. E.H. Hart was a New York City based photographer with a studio at 1162 Broadway when contracted by the Photo-Gravure Co. of New York in 1886 to make several views of the statue. The company copyrighted one of these that year, titling it “Liberty”. A surviving example in the form of a mounted woodburytype process photograph is held by the National Archives at College Park in the U.S. state of Maryland. (Identifier: 45701938) This variant view by Hart includes the intriguing presence of six people who appear as “ghosts” at the base of the pedestal to the statue, their likeness due to movement during the long time-exposure required. The photographer billed himself an official U.S. Naval photographer, although it’s unclear if he was actually an employee of the Federal Government. A contract photographer for the Detroit Publishing Company in the late 19th Century, he was the author and publisher of the 1898 volume “The Authentic Photographic Views of the United States Navy”. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

blog-1897-grant-memorial“Grant Memorial”: John S. Johnston, American photographer, born England or Ireland. (c.1839-1899). Vintage Japan-tissue photogravure: 1897: printed ca. 1897-1900: Photogravure and Color Co. (New York): 10.6 x 14.8 | 14.5 x 17.4 cm | supports: 19.5 x 24.5 | 22.2 x 29.0 cm. Taken in early 1897, this New York City view shows bicyclists on Riverside Drive with the soon to be opened General Grant National Memorial in the background. Known more commonly as Grant’s Tomb, it is located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan. The massive domed mausoleum in the Neoclassical style is the final resting place for American Civil War General and 18th President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant. (1822-1885) Grant led the Union Army as Commanding General of the United States Army in winning the American Civil War. A close inspection of this photograph reveals ongoing work to the front stairwell area to the memorial, with large boards erected lengthwise against the base of the large columns. It was dedicated on April 27, 1897, the 75th-anniversary ceremony of Grant's birth on April 27, 1822. A known variant giving credit to Johnston is held privately, along with another more frontal view of the memorial and one example believed to be this very image at The Library of Congress. The library holds approximately 750 dry plate glass negatives of yachts and other marine craft views taken by Johnston when he was a contract photographer for the Detroit Publishing Company. A New York Times obituary for the photographer noted he “made a specialty of scenic photography. He photographed most of the United States warships during the war with Spain. He also photographed all of the international yacht races during the past ten years.” From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

 

Window Gazing

Patience - A Haiku

Premonition bound

A great, hopeful patience sleeps

beyond the window

⎯ Apologies:  Poem Generator

blog-hermann-c-lythgoe-the-winter-gardenDetail: “The Winter Garden” Hermann Charles Lythgoe (1874-1962), American: vintage unmounted bromide print ca. 1920-40: (31.2 x 16.9 cm) Houseplants and flowers compete for sunlight on interior windowsills in this study by accomplished Boston-area amateur photographer Hermann Lythgoe. A chemist by training, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1896 and went on to become the longtime Director for the Division of Food and Drugs at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in Boston. From: PhotoSeed Archive

March Madness: Old School

March Madness, the fanciful right of passage in the U.S. crowning a men’s and women’s national collegiate basketball champion, got cancelled this year. Instead, this aforesaid Madness has become a perfect descriptor for a reality that is the ongoing global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus. Obviously, what little PhotoSeed contributes during this time of uncertainty are mere diversions, yet ones curated with the intent of promoting positivity for our shared love of the universal language that is Photography.

 

1-smith-1900-basket-ball-team-freshmanDetail: “Freshman Basket ball Team” (Smith College) Unknown American commercial photographer (possibly Amand Joseph “A.J. Schillare: 1856-1917 of Northampton who advertised “groups and dramatics a specialty” in the 1899 Class Book): Gelatin Silver print: ca. 1897 (15.9 x 21.1 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf) These ten young women made up the Smith College Basket Ball Team for the 1900 graduating class. The photograph was taken approximately 4 years earlier, when they would have been freshmen. At center holding the ball is team captain Julia Carolyn Weston, (1877-1937) whose future daughter, Julia Child, (1912-2004: Smith College, class of 1934) became the legendary chef and famed American television personality. Known by her nickname “Caro”, Julia Weston was “known for her red hair, outspoken opinions, and sense of humor.” (source: Julia Child: My Life in France) This unique photograph is further annotated on the verso in graphite by team members in their own hand. Players left to right: Mary Tate Lord, Elizabeth Keniston, Frances Cruft Howe, Alida King Leese, Alma Hoegh, Carolyn Weston, Dorcas Floyd Leese, Agnes Patton, Helen Potter, Alice Morton. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

Today’s post concerns the early history of women’s basketball, a game commonly spelled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as two words: “basket ball”. What follows are a series of vintage photographs ✻  from the PhotoSeed archive showcasing the origins of the collegiate game as it evolved on the campus of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

 

It was here, in 1892, less than one year after James Naismith invented the game in nearby Springfield, that newly appointed Smith College school gymnastics instructor Senda Berenson Abbott (1868-1954) would adapt the rules of the new game for women. By 1893, she had organized the first college game in history, between players from the sophomore class of 1895 and the freshman class of 1896. In so doing, Berenson changed history, and forever became known as the “Mother of Women’s Basketball”. A wonderful video on the dawn of the game at Smith featuring Senda’s accomplishments was written and produced by Kate Lee and can be found here on YouTube. Another link shows the earliest known film footage of the game played at Missouri Valley College in 1904. Enjoy our gallery!  -David Spencer

 

2-senda-berenson-abbott-1868-1954"Miss Berenson” (Senda Berenson Abbott: 1868-1954) Unknown American photographer: cyanotype: ca. 1897-99 (11.5 x 9.0 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf) Known as the ‘’Mother of Women's Basketball'' Berenson was first hired as a gymnastics instructor at Smith College before becoming the Director of the Gymnasium and Instructor of Physical Culture there, adapting the first rules of women's basketball in 1892. The game had been invented less than a year earlier by James Naismith in nearby Springfield, Mass. By 1899, Berenson had codified her rules for the women’s game, and in 1901, they were published in the volume “Basket Ball for Women” by Spalding’s Athletic Library. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

3-in-the-gym“In the Gym” (Smith College: Northampton, Mass.) Unknown American photographer(s): cyanotypes: ca. 1897-99 (L: 11.9 x 9.1 cm | M: 9.3 x 3.5 cm | R: Detail: 7.3 x 9.7 cm) (18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf) Smith College students using the exercise and gymnastics equipment in Alumnae Gymnasium on campus are shown. Physical education for women was an important component of a collegiate education at Smith, especially after the college had built this new facility in 1890, one of the finest of its’ type in the country. Public sentiment however, beginning from Senda Berenson’s early tenure at Smith in the early 1890’s, was something she pushed back against- with obvious success. From her Wikipedia page: “Although the physical facilities were in fine shape, the notion that women should engage in physical exercise, much less be required to do so, was not then well-established. The prevailing atmosphere did not support the notion that women should engage in physical activity. Berenson would write, in 1894: “Until recent years, the so-called ideal woman was a small waisted, small footed, small brained damsel, who prided herself on her delicate health, who thought fainting interesting, and hysterics fascinating.” From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

4-alumnae-gymnasium-and-old-gymDetail: “The Alumnae Gymnasium” (Smith College: Northampton, Mass.) Unknown American photographer: cyanotype: ca. 1897-1900 (9.3 x 12.0 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf) It was in this building that the first women’s college basketball game in history took place on March 22, 1893 between players from the Smith College sophomore class of 1895 and the freshman class of 1896. The sophomores won, 5-4, during two, 15-minute halves under Naismith rules. The Late Gothic style building was built from red brick with brownstone trim and designed by architect William C. Brocklesby of Hartford, CT. Today it houses the Smith College Archives, and was saved from demolition in 1977 when it was moved 200’ from its original location in order to comply with a campus expansion. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

5-basket-ball-on-the-back-campus--waiting-for-game“Basket Ball Day - Waiting for the Doors to be Opened” (Smith College: Northampton, Mass.) Unknown American photographer: cyanotype: ca. 1897-1900 (9.4 x 12.3 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf) With some students holding class pennants used to cheer their team on, a long line of Smith women’s basketball fans wait two and three deep for the doors to be opened at Alumnae Gymnasium at far left. At far right is the former gym, a much smaller wooden structure, which originally opened in 1879 soon after the school opened. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

6-smith-college-gym-decorated-for-basket-ball-game“The Gym, decorated for the Basket Ball Game” (Smith College: Northampton, Mass.) Unknown American commercial photographer: cyanotype: ca. 1898 (17.4 x 24.4 cm found loose within disassembled album with leaves each measuring 18.2 x 27.5 cm) Alumnae Gymnasium, opened in 1890, is shown decorated with bunting above the second level at left and at far right with the different class years represented: 98’, 99’, 1900, 1901. The occasion is believed to be a game between teams from the 1900 and 1901 classes, which took place on March 26, 1898. (1900 team won, 30-11⅓) In the early years when this photograph was taken around 1898, basketball as a women’s sport was played on the intramural level, with the various class years from the same college playing against each other. Wikipedia states Senda “Berenson herself opposed intercollegiate play for women, and prioritized the health and fitness benefits for a larger goal”. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

7-smith-college-gym-decorated-for-basket-ball-gameDetail: “The Gym, decorated for the Basket Ball Game” (Smith College: Northampton, Mass.) Unknown American commercial photographer: cyanotype: ca. 1898 (17.4 x 24.4 cm found loose within disassembled album with leaves each measuring 18.2 x 27.5 cm) Seated along a second level railing in Alumnae Gymnasium with their legs dangling over the side of the court are a group of women with one having a strong resemblance to Senda Berenson (third from right with 01 usher standing behind her) along with upperclassmen and most likely several teachers. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

8-smith-college-1899-vs-1900-match-game“The Match Game ’99 vs 1900” (Smith College: Northampton, Mass.) Unknown American photographer: cyanotype: ca. 1897 (9.6 x 12.2 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf) This basketball game is believed to have been played on Saturday, March 27, 1897. This blurred view shows members of the Smith College class of 1899 and 1900 teams playing each other on the floor of Alumnae Gymnasium. The following description of some of the game rules were included in the article “Basket-Ball at Smith College” by Elizabeth Fisher Read published in The Outlook on September 26, 1896: “During the winter the games are played in the Alumnae Gymnasium. The floor of the gymnasium is marked off into three divisions, each of which forms the territory of a certain number of the players on each side. In each of the end divisions is a goal—an eighteen-inch cylinder or basket, the mouth of which is ten feet from the floor. The object of the game is to get the ball into the basket. At Smith a regulation Rugby football is used. Each basket is protected by three "homes"—players on the side to which that goal belongs, whose object is to get the ball into the basket. In the same territory stand three "guards," players on the other side, who try to prevent their opponents from scoring. In the middle division the "centers," four in number, play. The center players on each side try to get the ball when the referee puts it into play by tossing it out among them, and to pass it along from one member of the team to another, until it reaches the homes, and a goal is scored. The side scoring the most goals in forty minutes wins the game. The game is played in two halves of twenty minutes each, with ten minutes' intermission.” (p 557) From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

9-1902-captain-margery-ferriss-and-mascotsLeft: “1900 Mascot” Right: “Margery Ferriss Captain of 1902 Team (along with) 1902 Mascot & 1902 Ushers” (Smith College: Northampton, Mass.) Unknown American photographer(s): cyanotype: ca. 1897-1899 (Left: 8.4 x 6.6 cm Right: 11.9 x 8.4 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf) Team spirit for the new game of Basket Ball at Smith was ever present, with fans and students wearing distinctive colors on the big day. Each class even had their own “Mascot” : a young child dressed up for the occasion. At left, the 1900 class mascot wears a fancy child’s dress while holding a banner. By 1902, team captain Margery Ferriss, standing in front of Alumnae Gym, holds the hand of the class year Mascot, sporting a miniature version of the team outfit that she herself wears. The following description of game spirit at Smith was included in the article “Basket-Ball at Smith College” by Elizabeth Fisher Read published in The Outlook on September 26, 1896: “While waiting for the teams to come out, the students while away the time by singing songs gotten up for the occasion. These songs consist of lines appropriate to the situation, in praise of the class or the team, set to some popular melody. From time to time both sides join in singing some song of general interest. As each member of the Faculty comes in, he is greeted with cheers and with his verse of the "Faculty song." During the actual playing no singing is permitted, but in the intermission it is renewed with increased vigor, the winning side trying to express their approval and pleasure, the losers trying to cheer up their team to greater efforts. After the game cheers, songs, and a triumphal parade end the contest.” (p. 558) From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

10-1902-team-lineup“1902 Freshman Basket-Ball Team” (Smith College: Northampton, Mass.) Unknown American commercial photographer (possibly Amand Joseph “A.J.” Schillare: 1856-1917 of Northampton who advertised “groups and dramatics a specialty” in the 1899 Class Book): cyanotype presented as triptych within album leaf : ca. 1898 (Left: 13.2 x 3.6 cm Middle: 13.1 x 3.4 cm | Right: 12.6 x 6.0 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm thin, manilla album leaf) In this unusual variant from one published featuring 11 players in the 1902 Smith Class Book, only six players are shown. At far left, team captain Margery Ferriss holds the Smith pennant. Margery May Ferriss Semple (1880-1950) was originally from St. Louis, MO. 1902 team members were: Homes: Juliet Patten, Constance Patton, Helen Walbridge; Guards: Margery Ferriss, Harriet Emmons, Louise Vanderbilt; Centres: Eda Bruné, Agnes Inglis, Mary Glover, Katherine Harter. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

11-basket-ball-on-the-back-campus“Basket Ball on the Back Campus” (Smith College: Northampton, Mass.) Unknown American photographer: cyanotype: ca. 1898-1900 (9.1 x 11.7 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf) It is unclear if this view shows a basketball game in progress or perhaps a practice, since no goals are seen. The student at front right holds some type of cylinder on top of her head-possibly signifying the placement for where the goal would be located? The following description describes basketball played during the Spring at Smith, included in the article “Basket-Ball at Smith College” by Elizabeth Fisher Read published in The Outlook on September 26, 1896: “In the spring the playing is done on a ground laid out on the campus. The pictures accompanying this article were taken on this out-of-door ground. The gymnasium suit shown in the pictures is the dress worn by all the gymnasium classes. It consists of a blouse with Turkish trousers. These out-of-door games are very popular with the students. The ground is nearly always surrounded by interested spectators when a game is going on.” (p. 558) From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

12-college-basketball-game-ca-1900-1910“Women’s outdoor Basket Ball Game: New England or Mid-Atlantic States” Unknown American photographer: gelatin silver print: ca. 1905-10 (11.4 x 17.0 cm - photograph enclosed within gummed manilla postal envelope engraved with spot hand-coloring on recto: “Kodak shots and postal cards Of many a pleasant view - Will bring the golden memories back Of happy days to you”) A rare surviving photograph featuring outdoor basketball action between two women’s collegiate teams is shown. Notice the ball aloft just above one of the suspended nets near the center of the composition, featuring an open-style backboard. A throng of fashionably dressed young women (and a lone gentleman) watch and cheer on the sidelines in the background. This game may have taken place as part of popular “Field Day” exercises colleges were known to host in the early Spring. Women’s basketball as a sport that in turn promoted good physical conditioning may have started at Smith in the early 1890’s but soon spread rapidly around the country: “Soon thereafter women at Wellesley, Vassar, Radcliff, and other women’s colleges and “normal schools” in the Northeast took up the sport. It was only a matter of time before basketball was being played by girls and women at high schools and colleges across America-including Montana.” (Source: “The Girls’ Basketball Team from Fort Shaw” by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith in: Native Athletes in Sport and Society: edited by C. Richard King: University of Nebraska Press, 2005. (p. 44) From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

 ✻ The provenance for these photographs with the exception of the final one taken outdoors were part of a disassembled album that formerly belonged to Mary Ruth Perkins, a 1900 graduate of Smith who was Chairman of the 1900 class yearbook committee. Three students are given credit in the 1900 Class Book as having contributed photographs: Alma Hoegh, Cornelia Amey Kingman, Ora Mabelle Lewis.

 

Photograph: Meet Frame

Last August I had the uncommon opportunity to purchase five photographs ca. 1905-1910 that were still in their original picture frames taken by William T. Knox, (1863-1927) then president of the Brooklyn Camera Club.

 

blog-1-working-knox-pleasuresDetail: “Pleasure Under Summer Skies”: William T. Knox, American: (1863-1927) Vintage sepia Platinum print ca. 1905-10; 19.6 x 24.5 | 19.6 x 24.5 cm (flush-mounted on Bristol-board type matrix). Photograph framed in quarter-sawn oak frame with brass title nameplate made by James Engle Underhill, American: (1870-1914) two-piece integrated: 34.5 x 39.5 x 2.0 cm shown with glass removed. “Pleasure Under Summer Skies” dates to 1905, and was initially exhibited in the Second American Photographic Salon, overseen by the American Federation of Photographic Societies under President Curtis Bell. At the time, William Knox was Federation Secretary. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

Additionally, three of them were in beautiful wood frames made by his fellow club member James E. Underhill, 1870-1914, who I discovered had made his living as a fine picture framer since around 1900 in New York City at his shop at 33 John Street, at the corner of Nassau Street.

 

blog-2-james-underhill-framerBefore limited conservation, the original James E. Underhill white-paper letterpress label in olive-green (2.9 x 2.0 | 4.3 x 3.2 cm) is seen affixed to the frame backing verso of his oak frame enclosing the William T. Knox photograph “Pleasure Under Summer Skies”. Conservation treatment by this archive carefully left this label in place. James Engle Underhill was a fellow member along with Knox at the Brooklyn Camera Club when this photograph was taken and framed. (ca. 1905-10) Underhill’s picture framing shop: “Jas.E.Underhill, 33 John St., New York City. MAKER PictureFrames.” was in operation at this location (corner Nassau) from around 1900 to his death in 1914. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

In my 20+ years of collecting photography, and with a definite impression the “bloom is off the rose” when it comes to the intersection of internet commerce, it seems to me today more difficult to acquire vintage photographs of artistic note still in their original frames. This is a pity, because framed photographs left undisturbed from 100+ years ago can often reveal the more honest intent photographers wished for their work to be seen and appreciated- for the time they were created no doubt, but also on a higher aesthetic level.

 

blog-4aUpper left: When first received by PhotoSeed after purchase in late August, 2019, the verso of the framed William T. Knox photograph “Pleasure Under Summer Skies” is seen in its’ original James E. Underhill oak frame. As was common in framed works from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a thin sheet of pine wood veneer was used as a backing board, secured by small nails. Upper Right: Conservation treatment on the framed work included removal of this wood backing board along with rusted screw-eyes and wiring used for hanging as well as some of the frame backing paper. The original Underhill framing label is carefully left undisturbed at lower right and the Bristol-board type matrix with flush-mounted photograph on recto is revealed, showing the “burning in” of several wood knot holes from the recto of the original sheet of wood veneer. Next steps included the thorough cleaning of the original framing glass and then cutting a piece of acid-free, 4-ply mat board that would be sandwiched between the photographic matrix and new piece of cardboard backing board. Finally, a Fletcher brand framing gun was used to secure glass, mounted photograph and the two separate backing matrixes using new metal framer’s points to the inside perimeter of the frame verso. Lower Left: Tools at right including small pliers and a wire-cutter were used to remove the original verso framing nails from the William T. Knox photograph “Playmates”, along with an X-Acto knife at far right to cut away the delicate and very acidic backing paper. A unique paper label signed and titled by the artist in the middle of the paper was then carefully removed and preserved within a newly encapsulated frame using a piece of acid-free mat board. New flush-mounted hanging hardware (screw-eyes not recommended!) and braided wire were also installed. Lower Right: A selection shows vintage frames with photographs from the PhotoSeed Archive, including the William T. Knox photograph “Pleasure Under Summer Skies”, now re-installed within its’ original James E. Underhill frame at upper right. To the left of it is a separate frame made by Underhill’s contemporary, George F. Of Jr. (1876-1954) From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

On a technical note, PhotoSeed does minimum conservation on framed works when they enter the collection. The mantra of “do no harm” as well as the realization of being temporary custodians of an archive is embraced. When in doubt about proceeding with photographic conservation, advice given me many years ago from a George Eastman Museum conservator to basically just leave things alone when unsure of how to proceed is something I’ve always kept in mind. Of course, the financial realities of proper conservation standards will always be at the forefront for collectors, both private and institutional.

 

blog-4-william-t-knox-playmates“Playmates”: William T. Knox, American: (1863-1927) Vintage sepia Platinum print ca. 1905-10; image: 12.0 x 23.5 mounted on fine art papers: 19.6 x 24.5 | 19.6 x 24.5 cm. This fine children’s genre study by Brooklyn Camera Club president William T. Knox dates to 1905 or slightly before as it was known to have been exhibited in the Second American Photographic Salon that year. It shows a young child attaching a leash from his faithful canine companion to his toy wooden wheelbarrow. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

Frame Conservation: A Few Ideas

 

For framed works, conservation on my end typically includes the removal of acidic frame backing materials and replacement with acid-free mounting materials that come into direct contact with the physical print. Embedded dirt and other foreign matter is then carefully removed and or wiped away from the frame itself, with original finishes showing the passing of decades left deliberately intact and never stripped off. Finally, everything is put back together for storage or display: the original glass from the frame is also cleaned on both sides and then carefully put back into place. If cracks are discovered or worse, replacement with a custom cut piece of window glass will typically suffice.

 

Digital Presentation on PhotoSeed

 

For digital presentation on this website, the frame is then photographed separately and the print scanned. I use Photoshop to combine the two-leaving the original framing glass out. Purists may object to this but I’m not changing the physical object in any way-just taking advantage to present you with an optimum web experience. Of course, the joy of collecting is being able to appreciate a vintage photograph in the very best form possible: in person. Never the less, I’ve included a small photo along with three other conservation snaps in this post showing a small display of conserved and “reframed” works from this archive. Other examples can be found here.

 

blog-3-william-t-knox-portrait“Portrait: Brooklyn Camera Club President William T. Knox”: Charles Frederick Clarke, American, born Nova Scotia: (1865-1912) image: 21.7 x 17.8 cm; supports: light-gray art paper 23.7 x 19.4 | 36.4 x 29.5 cm; Vintage platinum print ca. 1905-10. William T. Knox (1863-1927) was an important American amateur photographer and promoter of photography from Brooklyn, New York. From at least 1891-1915, he was a partner of McCormick, Hubbs & Co., importers and commission merchants in West India and Florida Fruits and Produce with offices at 279 Washington Street in New York City. (Manhattan) From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

Intriguingly, I have owned a platinum portrait of William T. Knox, showing him to be quite the dapper gentleman- mustachioed, and sporting a bow tie taken about the same time he was club president, for many years prior to my collecting any of his actual photographs. This was  by Charles F. Clarke, 1865-1912, (American, born Nova Scotia) an amateur and business agent for the Forbes Lithograph Company of Springfield, MA.

 

blog-5-william-t-knox-green-carbon“Landscape in Green Carbon”: attributed to William T. Knox, American: (1863-1927) Vintage green Carbon print ca. 1905-10; image: 23.4 x 19.7 cm flush mounted to thick, Bristol-board type matrix: 23.6 x 19.7 cm shown within its’ original oak frame: 32.6 x 28.6 x 2.0 cm (with glass removed) by James E. Underhill (1870-1914) of New York City. Knox and Underhill were members of the Brooklyn Camera Club when this photograph was taken and framed. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

You can see all of Mr. Knox’s framed works in the collection here, which includes a professional chronology for his friend the framer and fellow Brooklyn Camera Club member James E. Underhill.  Happy hunting!   -David Spencer

 

 

The New Decade Roars In

blog-2019-final-new-year-greeting-photoseed

Blue Christmas

⎯ And when the blue snowflakes start falling

That’s when those blue memories start calling

You’ll be doing alright with your Christmas of white,

But I’ll have a blue blue Christmas  ✻ 

blog-christmas-night-from-a“Christmas Night from an Attic Window”: Sigismund Blumann, American: (1872–1956). Vintage “Lithobrome” (Bromoil transfer) print ca. 1932 or later; 23.6 x 18.3 | 43.3 x 33.0 cm. Photographed from above through tree limbs supporting several inches of snow, this rare wintertime view by noted California pictorialist photographer Sigismund Blumann (1872–1956) shows a home courtyard with parked automobile seen through limbs at lower left. Most likely dating to the late 1920’s, this example printed 1932 or later due to Blumann’s inclusion of his F.R.P.S. affiliation (the year he earned Fellowship in the Royal Photographic Society) within the lower right corner of the primary matt’s impressed window. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

✻   (lyrics by Billy Hayes & Jay W. Johnson made famous by Elvis Presley on his first Christmas album released in October, 1957)

You Devil! A Fairy Tale

With Halloween apologies to our flying bat friends, role-playing courtesy of the Vienna stage ca. 1894 pits the demons of the mirror’s Vanity and Indulgence against our better angels.

blog-rund-um-wien-from-ju“Scene aus dem Ballet Rund um Wien” (Scene from the Ballet “Around Vienna”) by (Baron) Albert Freiherrn von Rothschild, Austrian: (1844-1911): 1896: Chine-collé photogravure from atelier k.u.k. Military Geographical Institute in Vienna. (11.1 x 13.9 | 16.0 x 23.6 cm) Published in the July,1896 issue of the Austrian photographic journal Photographische Correspondenz, ballerina Camilla Pagliero (1859-1925) examines herself in the mirror while trying on some jewelry ⎯ while the allegorical forces of evil at left ⎯ (Austrian stage actress Marie Schleinzer, (1874-1949) mistress to Archduke Otto of Austria) and good at far right (most likely Hedwig Haentjens, as an angel) make starring roles. Possessing “all the virtues of amateur photography”, the editors of the journal in the following rough translation from the original German stated this… “image is exceedingly characteristic, and the effects are so locked together that the most beautiful in the mirror-image confronts Freiherr von Rothschild with his image "blurred direction". We rejoice in the example given here, because, of the small format and the consequent reduced scale, there is so seldom the opportunity to make use of the indefinite charm, whereby the imagination of the observer is called upon to shape the picture.” Austrian Court Ballet director Josef Bayer (1852-1913) composed “Around Vienna” (Rund um Wien) in 1894 as a golden jubilee celebration honoring Viennese Waltz King Johann Strauss II. (1825-99) It was performed in October that year at the Vienna State Opera house. From: PhotoSeed Archive

Shocks & Gourds

The bounty of Fall is in full-swing in many parts of the United States, along with the gourds that made Halloween famous.

blog-pumpkin-harvest-ca“Harvesting Pumpkins”: unknown American photographer: ca. 1915-20: mounted bromide print on black leaf removed from larger album : 14.4 x 19.5 | 17.3 x 24.0 cm. Bundles of corn shocks frame pumpkins awaiting harvest by farmers loading a cart in background lead by a team of two horses. This fine genre photograph of Fall was most likely “stage directed”, as the field hand at left is shown pausing while hoisting a pumpkin into the bed of the cart while the array of gourds is seemingly perfectly spread out in the foreground. From: PhotoSeed Archive

American Love Story

 

“And I never saw that love did any harm anywhere or was complained about O my brothers when you understood it: 

For that’s about all life comes to anyhow—comes to the love we can put into it:

I just give you what I’ve got, dear comrades.”   -Horace Traubel

 

1-blog-horace-traubel“Horace Traubel: Roundel Portrait” : Allen Drew Cook, American (1871-1923): 1910: mounted platinum print contained within folder: 17.4” roundel on paper 23.7 x 19.6 cm; supports: 24.8 x 20.6 | 28.4 x 23.9 cm. Folder: 29.4 x 48.8 cm. This print dedicated to Gustave Percival Wiksell (1863-1940): “Wiksell” in upper left corner of print recto; signed “Horace Traubel 1910” at lower right. Best remembered as the literary executor and biographer extraordinaire of America’s first national poet Walt Whitman, this uncommon profile portrait features the American editor and poet Horace Logo Traubel. (1858-1919) Traubel, a magazine publisher and committed socialist who held Whitman’s hand on his deathbed and earlier compiled nearly two million words over the the last four years in daily conversations with the poet, later transcribed and ultimately published what would become the nine volume opus: “With Walt Whitman in Camden”. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

In this 200th anniversary year of American poet Walt Whitman’s birth, articles and exhibitions abound, celebrating the continuing relevance of America’s “Bard of Democracy”. But who was largely responsible for initially preserving, and thus memorializing for a larger audience this most important literary voice? A gentleman by the name of Horace Traubel. (1858-1919)

 

Three years ago I had the good fortune of purchasing a heraldic roundel portrait of Traubel, the one featured above taken by a fellow Philadelphian, pictorialist photographer Allen Drew Cook. (1871-1923) 

 

2-blog-horace-traubel-to-percival-wiksell-1910Lines addressed to Gustave Percival Wiksell (1863-1940) from the Horace Traubel poem “I Just Give You What I’ve Got” (from “Optimos”- 1910) in hand of author on inside front cover to folder containing photograph “Horace Traubel: Roundel Portrait”. Wiksell was a Boston dentist who served as president of the Walt Whitman Fellowship from 1903-1919. “You don't know me? I do not wonder: I dont know myself: I am at a loss about myself: You ask: who are you? and I shake my head : I look at you and say nothing: I come to you but I could not tell why: I have something for you but I could not tell what: Out of me some flower will blossom out of my seedthrow some harvest will come. - Horace Traubel”. Writing in the Mickle Street Review No. 16, (2004) U.S. scholar Michael Robertson’s article “The Gospel According To Horace: Horace Traubel And The Walt Whitman Fellowship” outlines Traubel’s and Wiksell’s relationship: “However, Traubel’s letters to Wiksell move beyond comradeship into physically explicit expressions of desire.  “I dream of … the little bed in your paradise and the two arms of a brother that accept me in their divine partnership,”(114) Traubel wrote shortly before traveling to Boston.  After his visit, he wrote longingly, “I sit here and write you a letter.  It is not a pen that is writing.  It is the lips that you have kissed.  It is the body that you have traversed over and over with your consecrating palm.  Do you not feel that body?  Do you not feel the return?”(115) These and other letters leave little doubt that the two men had a sexual love affair, an affair that seems to have been remarkably guilt-free.  Wiksell’s letters to Traubel refer to his own wife and child and mix heavy-breathing passion with cheery greetings to “Annie and Gertrude,”(116) Traubel’s wife and daughter.”(114-“I dream of”: Traubel to Wiksell, 3 Jan. 1904, WC.; 115-“I sit here”: Traubel to Wiksell, 12 May 1904, WC.; 116-“Annie and Gertrude”: Wiksell to Traubel, 30 Dec. 1901, TC.) From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

Best remembered as the literary executor and biographer extraordinaire of Walt Whitman, Horace Traubel was also a magazine publisher and committed socialist who held the poet’s hand on his deathbed and compiled nearly two million words over the last four years in daily conversations with him, later transcribing and publishing in his lifetime the first three volumes of what would become his nine volume opus: With Walt Whitman in Camden. (completed 1996)

 

Unlike Whitman, whom The Guardian newspaper notes in an article published this year “was also the 19th century’s most photographed American writer”, (1.) there are only a smattering of photographs featuring Traubel-most being credited to Cook. By and large, Horace Traubel is a figure in American letters most people have never heard of.

 

3-blog-horace-traubelLeft: “Gustave Percival Wiksell as Walt Whitman”: Undated gelatin-silver print by Emile Brunel Studio, Boston, ca. 1915-25?: Wearing similar clothing, Wiksell strikes a pose similar to one Whitman made from a lost daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison later made into a steel engraving by Samuel Hollyer. Boston dentist Gustave Percival Wiksell was an ardent devotee to Walt Whitman and president of the Whitman Fellowship from 1903-19. Photograph © All rights reserved by tackyspoons/flickr. Middle: 1855 first edition title page to Leaves of Grass, Brooklyn, New York. Courtesy The Lilly Library, Indiana University. Right: Original Samuel Hollyer steel engraving of frontispiece portrait of Walt Whitman used for the 1855 and 1856 editions of Leaves of Grass.,Gabriel Harrison’s original 1854 daguerreotype showed the 35-year-old Whitman wearing laborer’s clothing. The Whitman Archive provides the following description of the original sitting: “Of the day the original daguerreotype was taken, Whitman remembered, "I was sauntering along the street: the day was hot: I was dressed just as you see me there. A friend of mine—”Gabriel Harrison (you know him? ah! yes!—”he has always been a good friend!)—”stood at the door of his place looking at the passers-by. He cried out to me at once: 'Old man!—”old man!—”come here: come right up stairs with me this minute'—”and when he noticed that I hesitated cried still more emphatically: 'Do come: come: I'm dying for something to do.' This picture was the result." Engraving courtesy Bayley Collection: Ohio Wesleyan via Walt Whitman Archive.

 

But concerning the roundel portrait of Traubel, what a difference between it and the staid portraits published during his lifetime! The seller described it thus: “Vintage Risque Photo Handsome Shirtless Man w/ Love Poem c. 1910 Gay Interest”. If you are a collector like me, the proverbial eye roll is something experienced practically every day in the course of searches for new treasure. To wit: if it’s a photo depicting two men together- or for that matter, two women- a seller might add the descriptor of “Gay Interest” to the listing. This is laughable on the face of it, as to my mind there is often a complete disconnect between reality often taking over the minds of sellers intent on rewriting photographic evidence for the sole purpose of making a quick buck.

 

But not always. Fortunately for me, and unbeknownst to the seller, I had a hunch who the sitter of this portrait was. My offer accepted, I only later determined “gay interest” was only the tip of the iceberg.

 

After some sleuthing, I discovered this portrait had seemingly been published only one time in 1919: as the dust-jacket illustration to a limited-edition posthumous work on Traubel written by his biographer David Karsner, a close friend who describes him as part Karl Marx and Jesus of Nazareth, andin possession of a point of view which issues a labor-conscious ‘warning and challenge.” (2.)

 

4-blog-horace-traubel-walt-whitman-photographiDetail: 1887: Walt Whitman-1819-1892 by George C. Cox: (portrait known as the "Laughing Philosopher") 23.9 x 18.8 cm | 45.2 x 33.3 cm: vintage large format, hand-pulled photogravure printed circa 1905-10 by the Photographische Gesellschaft in Berlin on Van Gelder Zonen plate paper. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

But unlike the aforementioned staid portraits, which always show him wearing a shirt or jacket- this profile view was unusual for the time in which it was made- 1910-bare-shouldered, and thus sans shirt. When I finally made out the signature of the person this particular print was dedicated to-personally inscribed by the sitter on the print surface recto to someone named “Wiksell” in the upper left corner, it all came together. For on the inside cover of the folder in which this portrait appears (when purchased it was framed) Traubel has inscribed several lines- a love poem, if you will, confirming the  sellers hunch, “For Percival Wiksell- 1910” :  

 

You don’t know me? I do not wonder: I dont know myself: I am at a loss about myself: 

You ask: who are you? and I shake my head : I look at you and say nothing:

I come to you but I could not tell why: I have something for you but I could not tell what:

Out of me some flower will blossom out of my seedthrow some harvest will come. - Horace Traubel

 

 (From Optimos:  “I Just Give You What I’ve Got”- 1910)

 

5-blog-horace-traubelLeft: “Frontispiece Portrait of Horace Traubel” (1909) from the book of poetry “Optimos”: Clarence H. White, American: 1910: photogravure: 11.4 x 8.7 | 18.7 x 12.5 cm. From scholar Anne McCauley’s 2017 volume “Clarence H. White and His World: the Art and Craft of Photography, 1895-1925 we learn” : “Reynold’s (Stephen Marion Reynolds (1854-1930) a lawyer who joined the Social Democratic Party in 1900-ed) and Traubel’s recognition of photography as a powerful tool in the class struggle, whether in the form of the dissemination of the fine arts or as a creative means of personal expression if transformed by hand manipulation, caused them to appreciate White’s skills as well as his openness to their political opinions.” (p. 178) Right: Front Cover of “Optimos”, the best-known volume of poetry by Horace Traubel: New York: 1910: B.W. Huebsch (8vo | olive green cloth) From the Walt Whitman Archive online resource, “His own books can be read as socialist refigurings of Whitman's work, each of his titles subtly adjusting Whitman's terminology: …Optimos (1910) redefined Whitman's "kosmos" as an optimized "cheerful whole" (qtd. in Bain 39). And although some in his day declared Traubel as a poet to be Whitman’s successor, there were plenty of critics. Writing in the pages of The Smart Set for July, 1911 under the heading “Novels for Hot Afternoons”, American critic H.L. Mencken, said of “Optimos”: “Horace Traubel fills the three hundred and more pages of his "optimos" (Huebsch) with dishwatery imitations of Walt Whitman, around whom Horace, in Walt's Camden days, revolved as an humble satellite. All of the faults of the master appear in the disciple. There is the same maudlin affection for the hewer of wood and drawer of water, the same frenzy for repeating banal ideas ad nauseam, the same inability to distinguish between a poem and a stump speech. Old Walt, for all his absurdities, was yet a poet at heart. Whenever he ceased, even for a brief moment, to emit his ethical and sociological rubbish, a strange beauty crept into his lines and his own deep emotion glorified them. But not so with Horace. His strophes have little more poetry in them than so many college yells, and the philosophy they voice is almost as bad as the English in which they are written.” From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

The recipient, Gustave Percival Wiksell, (1863-1940) was a Boston dentist who served as president of the Walt Whitman Fellowship from 1903-1919. So devoted was this disciple to the master that he went to the length of replicating the now famous pose Whitman took from a now lost 1854 daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison made into an engraving and used as the frontispiece illustration for the 1855 & 1856 editions of Whitman’s masterpiece Leaves of Grass.

 

Wiksell’s papers are now in the Library of Congress in Washington and he was known to have eulogized Horace Traubell at his funeral in 1919. More than one Traubel scholar lays out the evidence that Wiksell and he were more than good friends, but I will leave that for your own further inquiries.  (further attribution can be found in a cutline with this post)

 

6-blog-horace-traubel“Ca. 1915 signed and mounted portraits of Horace Traubel” (unknown photographer) surrounding at center: “Horace Traubel: His Life And Work” by David Karsner (New York: Egmont Arens, 1919) with elusive dust-jacket reproducing bare-shouldered 1910 portrait “Horace Traubel: Roundel Portrait”. Commentary on Traubel by Karsner appeared in the online resource Poetrybay in the Fall of 2009: “On the other hand David Karsner, Traubel's biographer… called him “a poet and prophet of the new democracy.” Traubel, suggests Karsner, is part Karl Marx and part Jesus of Nazareth, and in possession of a point of view which issues a labor-conscious ‘warning and challenge.” From Wikipedia: David Fulton "Dave" Karsner (1889–1941) was an American journalist, writer, and socialist political activist. Karsner is best remembered as a key member of the editorial staff of the New York Call and as an early biographer of Socialist Party of America leader Eugene V. Debs. Photographic grouping courtesy The Library of William F. Gable Auction: Savo Auctioneers, Archbald, PA: January 3, 2015.

 

7-blog-horace-traubelLeft: Detail showing blind-stamp for photographer Allen Drew Cook on secondary mount to photograph “Horace Traubel: Roundel Portrait”: Allen Drew Cook, American (1871-1923): 1910: mounted platinum print contained within folder: 17.4” roundel on paper 23.7 x 19.6 cm; supports: 24.8 x 20.6 | 28.4 x 23.9 cm. In upper left of detail is seen graphite signature: “Cook”, underlined outside lower margin of roundel; the blind-stamp additionally lists his address as 1631 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia- the same as for the offices of the The Conservator, a monthly literary magazine edited and published by Horace Traubel beginning in October, 1910. (the magazine, which was started in 1890, previously lists its’ address as 1624 Walnut St. in Philadelphia.) Beginning In 1915 and running into 1916, an advertisement for “Photographic Portraits” by Allen Drew Cook of Eugene Debs, Clarence Darrow, J. William Lloyd and Traubel appeared on the back page of The Conservator. From: PhotoSeed Archive. Right: “Study of a Girl’s Head”, from around 1900, is an early example of a pictorialist photographic portrait entered by Cook in the Third Annual Philadelphia Photographic Salon and reproduced as a halftone in the Salon’s 1900 catalogue. Courtesy: Thomas J. Watson Library Digital Collections - The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

 

 

Five years ago on July 4th, America’s birthday, I published a post featuring several vintage likenesses of Walt Whitman- “Oh Say Can you See?” and his importance to capturing the enduring spirit of our country. In this, Traubel certainly will never be magically rediscovered as the good gray poet’s literary successor (none other than H.L. Mencken derided his  poetry as “dishwatery imitations of Walt Whitman, around whom Horace, in Walt’s Camden days, revolved as an humble satellite.”) (3.) But his ideals as one spreading love as written in the lines at the top of this post-a socialist ideal in the vein of Whitman- are surely honorable and needed in the fractured American present. Instead of cleaved partisan camps and tribes seemingly taking over our national conversation, how about a bit more love comrades? Socialism has nothing to do with that last word, by the way. Instead, let’s celebrate the ideals of our national melting pot, and give all her citizenry power to the truth of  her motto: “E Pluribus Unum” - Out of Many, One.

 

Just what Horace would have wanted.

 

 

Notes:

1. Excerpt: The Guardian (online): Julianne McShane:Walt Whitman: celebrating an extraordinary life in his bicentennial”: June 12, 2019. One hundred thirty photographic portraits of Walt Whitman have been identified to date.

2. Excerpt: Online resource Poetrybay: Fall, 2009:  commentary on Traubel by Karsner. 

3.  Excerpt: Review: “Optimos” : “Novels for Hot Afternoons”: H.L. Mencken: The Smart Set: July, 1911.

 

A Day for Rainbows

A Happy Fourth of July to All!

 

blog-washington-monument-by“Rainbow Pool Fountain & Washington Monument”(Washington, D.C.) : ca. 1925-30: Unknown Brooklyn photographer: vintage gelatin silver print: 11.4 x 8.9 cm | 17.7 x 12.6 cm. Designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., “the fountain for this pool was designated the “Rainbow Fountain” in October 1924, when during a trial run just before its dedication a rainbow formed above the fountain’s spray. Operating with 124 nozzles arranged in an elliptical pattern near the outer edge of the pool, and with two clusters of nine north and south of the center, the fountain made a “hazy vista”. (source: National Park Service: Cultural Landscape Report-Lincoln Memorial Grounds-undated pdf document-p. 35) Originally situated between the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool (to the west), and 17th Street NW, (to the east) the fountain and reflecting pool was integrated into the National World War II Memorial in 2001. With the original source negative for this photograph taken in daylight, the photographer has manipulated the image-darkening the sky to make the fountain jets stand out against the backdrop of the Washington Monument. From: PhotoSeed Archive