[Various locations: ca. 1930s to 1970s].  leaves, illustrated with 260 mounted photographs, most black-and-white but some in color, between 1.5 x 1.5 to 8 x 10 inches, and a few ephemeral items. Full brown pebbled leather photograph album, screw-bound. Moderate edge wear and some chipping, front joint split but holding. First leaf detached, moderate wear throughout. Good plus. Item #3431
An absorbing collection of vernacular photographs documenting multiple generations of the Piper family, an African American family from New York City. This family album captures Piper family members from babies to grandparents over the course of about forty years. Numerous images show family and friends, with the men posed in fine suits and fedoras, and the women in dresses and gloves. Several pictures feature African American men in military uniforms, both Army and Navy, including an image of a World War II soldier signed "Sincerely Kenny 1942." There are also numerous shots of the family hamming it up for the camera in various houses while in sitting rooms or at the dinner table. A couple of the larger photographs feature family groupings, including a bride, groom, and four family members at a wedding in the 1960s or '70s. A handful of shots capture the Pipers while traveling, showing them posed in remote locations outside their car or near train stations. One identifiable location they visited is the St. Joseph statue in front of the Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal. And dozens of photographs feature subjects posed on the streets of New York.
Laid into the album is a "Memorandum of Charges" for the funeral expenses of George Piper; the only ephemeral item pasted into the album is a humble typed card reading "In God's Care George R. Piper 1897-1973." This card is the last item pasted into the album. Also laid into the album is a single letter from Joseph Piper of Hollywood to James Piper of New York City, dated May 15, 1973, which also includes a few photographic negatives. This letter also relates to the death of George Piper.
Though uncaptioned, the present collection of photographs provides a deep look into an African American family from New York City, encompassing the middle few decades of the 20th century.