[Seattle and perhaps other locations in the Pacific Northwest: ca. 1944]. Fifty-seven sepia-toned and black-and-white photographs, all in mounting corners, measuring between 3.5 x 2.5 inches and 7.5 x 10 inches. Quarto. Contemporary carved wooden boards with brass spine hinges and a small brass decorative vignette on front cover. Minor wear. Internally clean, with images in great condition. Very good plus. Item #3760
A wonderful collection of evocative candid photographs picturing an African-American family in Washington State in the mid-20th century. The images begin with the only reprint photograph in the album, showing the ancestors of the compiler in Richmond, Virginia in the 1860s; the remainder of the images are originals, and feature various members of an African American family in portraits, posed in groups, at parties, on driving excursions, and more. The photographs stand as a photographic record of the Great Migration, showing a family that started in the mid-19th century in Virginia, and settled in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska by the middle of the 20th century.
Some of the images picture certain members of the family in their U.S. military uniforms. A few of the images are captioned on the verso, documenting a young couple and another family member on a vacation trip to Canada. One image of a young child is captioned in pencil, "Lester, Jr." Another group of images show the family in swimwear, posed in various groups around a car. The latter photographs largely capture the family partying and enjoying adult beverages, specifically Rocking Chair whiskey, and also camping and taking driving excursions. A couple of these later images were produced by photographer Al Smith in Seattle, evidenced by his studio stamps on the verso. A group of about six photographs on two of the final three pages picture a young African-American couple presumably visiting family in the Pacific Northwest, as their car sports Alaskan license plates. Some of the photographs appear to emanate from earlier than the 1940s, including a single photograph with a manuscript caption on the verso, written to "Dad" from Helen and Edward McDaniel of Detroit. The final, and largest image pictures about twenty members of the family in formal wear, perhaps a family reunion or milestone birthday party for one of the elders.