“My Sister and I,” by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra; Helen Forrest; Hy Zaret, Joan Whitney, Alex Kramer, 1941, from

Weegee (1899-1968), “Arrest didn’t dampen the spirits of Lillian and Pauline, 16 and 18, when they posed for this picture,” 1942 (2330.1993)

PM, August 17, 1942, pp.8-9

Weegee Passes Up a Movie for a Holdup Alarm… And Gets This Group Portrait of Five Prisoners
by Weegee

I was on the way to the Fifth Ave. Playhouse to see the movie, “Sins of Bali,” strictly a cheesecake affair, when I picked up a signal on my police radio for a holdup car. I went chasing after the car instead of going to the movie.
At Ninth Ave. and 20th St. the cops got the car and its five occupants, three fellows and two young girls, sisters. When the group was brought into the station house the other dicks asked, Where did you get the two pigeons? Meaning the two girls.
All night long people who had been up arrived at the station house and identified the stickup men. One detective told the two sisters they should be home cleaning the house instead of going to cheap dance halls. But the girls enjoyed the thrill of having their pictures taken. They kept singing ‘My Sister and I’ while they were telling the dicks about the holdups. The cops said the gang confessed to 20 in all, three of them Saturday night.
The girls’ father is an auto mechanic from Brooklyn. He said: Let them rot in jail, I warned them against those Harlem dance halls. The payoff was that the holdup car has an S sticker. Judging by the number of stickups the boys needed unlimited gas. I wonder what they told the rationing board. Photos by Weegee, PM.

PM, August 17, 1942, p.8

From the five suspects police took this collection of weapons and loot: two small-caliber automatics (left), a revolver, a big Mauser and a Luger. Other items on the table include rings, watches, paper money and coins, cartridges, girls’ pocketbooks.

“My Sister and I,” Jimmy Dorsey And His Orchestra; Bob Eberly; Hy Zaret, Joan Whitney, Alex Kramer, 1941, from

Dictionary dot com’s word of the year for 2017 is complicit.
Dictionary dot com’s definition of complicit:

choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having complicity.

A complex complicity saturates these photos and is embedded in the sentences of Weegee’s story. The five prisoners, complicit in at least twenty crimes; presumably forced by the police to pose for photographers. (These “five youngsters” were the “stickup quintet” that “kept the police on the jump for a week” and “netted about $1,500 in loot,” according to the New York Daily News.) A full page spread, 1/16th of the entire newspaper, was given to Weegee’s coverage of the stickup gang. The guys, handcuffed to each other, looking solemn; the girls, seated, laughing, singing an appropriate and popular tune. The song, “My Sister and I,” very popular in the middle of 1941, written by Hy Zaret, Joan Whitney, and Alex Kramer, might wistfully resemble the opposite of complicit. Lillian and Pauline, full of honesty and complicity; no need for a perfume called Complicit.

My sister and I remember still
A tulip garden by an old Dutch mill,
And the home that was all our own until
But we don’t talk about that.
My sister and I recall once more
The fishing schooners pulling into shore,
And the dog-cart we drove in days before
But we don’t talk about that.
We’re learning to forget the fear
That came from a troubled sky.
We’re almost happy over here,
But sometimes we wake at night and cry.
My sister and I recall the day
We said goodbye, then we sailed away.
And we think of our friends that had to stay,
But we don’t talk about that.

PM, August 17, 1942, p.9

Arrest didn’t dampen the spirits of Lillian and Pauline, 16 and 18, when they posed for this picture. Their companions, left to right, are Steve Samanek, 27, Raffael Martini, 18, and Baspay Cabrera, 23. Cabrera and girls worked outside, police say.

“My Sister And I,” Bea Wain with Orchestra; Hy Zaret, Joan Whitney, Alex Kramer, 1941, from

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“On that great action, lighted in by dawn’s red ember, with flowers and singing, entered the Twelfth of December.”

USSR in Construction. The XXIst year of the Great Socialist Revolution. 4. April 1938

Here are people who in the majority of capitalist countries are disenfranchised-
Young people of eighteen…
Members of the armed forces…

In the USSR they are full-fledged citizens.

In the USSR they can take their share in administrating the country.

C: “I am glad to devote my energies, and if necessary my life, to justify, in a way worthy of a Bolshevik, the confidence shown in me.”
I.D. Papanin, in an address sent to his electors from the North Pole Station, November 22, 1937.

C: “In twenty years our air force has become a power which at a moment’s notice can smash any enemy that dares to attack our country… But we, the Soviet people, are not content with this and are moving at rapid strides towards communism.”
M.M. Gromov, addressing a school for collective farmers, Galich, November 16, 1937.

C: “I am keenly aware of the responsibility you have laid on me as a Soviet citizen, I shall endeavour to work conscientiously, so that you may never to have occasion to blush for me.”
I.M. Moskv in, at a meeting of electors of the Frunze Electoral Area, Moscow, November 26, 1927.

P: “Comrades, I think that tens of millions of people will show the capitalist world by their votes that the working masses of the Soviet Union will fight stubbornly for the Soviet system.”
M.I. Kalinin, at a meeting of voters of the Volodarsky Electoral Area, Leningrad, November 25, 1937.

The candidates addressed their electors, and the whole country listened to them, for never has a people been addressed by its candidates, its representatives, its emissaries, in such a way.

C: “To us, the younger generation, all roads are open. We can become airmen or engineers, or choose any profession we like. Whom have we to thank for this happy life? We have to thank the Bolshevik party, we have to thank our leaders, V.I. Lenin and our Comrade Stalin.”
T.V. Fedorova, at a meeting of voters of the Soviet Electoral Area. Moscow, December 6, 1937.

C: “It was the great Stalin who drew from my record a practical lesson for the whole country; and this lesson id the nation-wide Stakhanov Movement.”
A.G. Stakhanov, at a meeting of voters of the City of Stalino, December 6, 1937.

C: “Solid elections to the supreme Soviet, the participation of all the ninety million voters in the elections on December 12, will strengthen most powerfully the might of the Soviet power to an even greater height, and will add glory to the great banner of Lenin and Stalin among the working people of all countries.”
V.M. Molotov, at a meeting of voters of the Molotov Electoral Area, Moscow, December 8, 1937.

P: “We are obliged to keep in readiness our workers’ and peasants’ Red Army, capable of defending our great fatherland and its socialist gains, our workers’ and peasants’ Red Army, like our whole people, is ready to stand in defence of our country.”
K.E. Voroshilov, at a meeting of voters of the City of Minsk, December 7, 1937.

Then from its midst the people called its trusted forth, its best to rule as the supreme Soviet our vast land, east and west.

“December 12, 1937, should be a day of great celebration of the unity of the working people of all the nations of the the USSR around the victorious banner of Lenin and Stalin.”
From the appeal of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. to all electors – workers, peasants, red army men and intellectuals. December 6, 1937.

On that great action lighted in
By dawn’s red ember,
With flowers and singing entered
Twelfth of December.

December 1937

On windswift trains, on ships that ride
The ocean’s thundering crest,
We voted in, the straight of heart
The bravest and the best.

I.M. Moskvin, national actor of the USSR, casting his vote.
The aged and infirm were brought to the polling stations in automobiles.
Gipsy collective farmers (comintern collective farm. Yaroslavl region) at the ballot box.
A.T. Kurakina, collective farm woman (first of May collective farm, Ryazan region), on a visit to Moscow, votes in the 23rd ward, Stalin electoral area.
V.I. Kachalov, national actor of the USSR, votes in the 5th ward of the Soviet electoral area, Moscow.
Welland Rudd, actor, is the first to vote in the 48th ward of the Sverdlov electoral area, Moscow.
M.T. Timofeya, old-age pensioner, and V.S. Terekhova, working woman, voting in the 31st ward of the Molotov electoral area, Moscow.
V.S. Mamatavrishvili, 140 years of age, and her youngest son, G.D. Mamatavrishvili, 63 rears of age, voting in the 75th ward of the Stalin electoral area, Tbilisi.
(Correction: The age of V.S. Mamatavrishvili shown in the picture on the right-hand page should be 104, not 140.)
Polling station for passengers on the train from Moscow to Novokuznetsk.
The car serving as the polling station for the passengers on a long distance train.
Voting in the Krupskaya maternity hospital, Moscow.
Academician A.N. Bach and his wife, voting in the 13th ward of the Molotov electoral area, Moscow.

Our country’s twentieth year
And its great December
Through dust of marches and perpetual song
I shall remember.

Like a sea was its urge,
Like a storm its command,
Like a song, the breathing
Of my fatherland.

Then from its midst the people called
Its trusted forth, its best,
To rule as the supreme Soviet
Our vast land, east and west.

With patient and with vigilant care
the people made its choice;
Amur pondered, Caspian weighed,
Caucasus gave its voice.

From Tixie Bay to Kronstadt
The millions’ voices blend,
Naming their first candidate
Stalin, Leader, Friend.

On that great action, lighted in
By dawn’s red ember,
With flowers and singing entered
Twelfth of December.

With proud and gutsy banners
And anthems pealing
We sealed into our ballots
Our holiest feeling.

With those who loved their fatherland
And gave it their life blood
We sealed into our ballots
Our lasting brotherhood.

‘Neath steppeland sun and city lights,
And on the Taiga treks,
On far of Rudolph Island
On the Aurora’s decks.

And here where Kremlin’s towers rang out
The international’s word
All night the votes were counted-
And the whole world heard.

And swift throughout the country
The message went its way-
To the Bolsheviks, Ninety Millions
Gave their heartfelt “Aye!”

That Amur cheers with Kronstadt,
And all their greetings send
For their deputy chosen,
Stalin, Leader, Friend.

Our country’s twentieth year
And its great December
Through dust of marches and perpetual song
I shall remember.

By Viktor Gusev.
Translated by Isidor Schneider.

The millions’ voices blend,
naming their first candidate
Stalin, Leader, Friend.

USSR in Construction, “Election of the Supreme Soviet,” April 1938, (2012.13.52)

USSR in Construction, No. 4. Election of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R.
Plan and text by V.M. Gusev and P.A. Pavlenko. Verses by V.M. Gusev, translated by Isidor Schneider.
Artists: A. Rodchenko and Barbara Stepanova.
Photos by M. Alpert, G. Zelma, M. Kalashnikov, M. Penson, N. Petrov, Mikh. Prekhner, A. Rodchenko, P. Troshkin, M. Troyanovsky, A. Shaikhet, A. Sterenberg, and Soyuzphoto.
English by A. Fineberg.

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Pearl Harbor

Al Brick for Movietone News, “When ‘Arizona’s’ magazines exploded there was a roar that could be heard for miles. Then she was still.” December 7, 1941, (1406.2005)

This Is How Some New Yorkers Reacted to War News
From time immemorial, the populace has always gathered in the public square at an announcement of a national emergency. These New Yorkers obeyed instinct to gather in Times Square last night, although they could have learned more listening to their radios. Photo by Leo Lieb.

Diplomats at the Japanese Consulate in New York hastily packed their papers in suitcases when they learned of the war. Photo by Wide World.

A cop was sent to the Nippon Club to lock the door so that no more Japanese could hang out there. PM Photo by Irving Haberman.

Ken Chow, a Chinese student reacted this way when reading a paper in Times Square. Photo by Wide World.

PM, December 8, 1941

Civilian Defense Chiefs of the City Get Ready
Mayor Fiorello La Guardia’s Emergency Board on Defense held a rush meeting at City Hall to consider methods of preventing sabotage, riot and mob violence against Japanese nationals. Left to right: Chief Inspector Louis F. Costuma, Fire Commissioner Patrick Walsh, Police Commissioner Lewis J. Valentine, the Mayor and Dock Commissioner John McKenzie. Public Works Commissioner Irving M.A. Huie was also there but was talking with other city officials across the room. PM Photo by Irving Haberman

These sailors were spending a quiet Sunday at the YMCA when they heard the war news that called them back to their ships immediately or to duty at their shore bases. Photo by Morris Gordon, PM.

Toitiro Takamutu was a correspondent here for the powerful Japanese newspaper Nichi-Nichi. Here he is explaining to reporters outside the Japanese Consulate just how it all happened.

Weegee (1899-1968), [“Japs Bomb Hawaii”], 1941 (15232.1993)

Weegee (1899-1968), [After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Times Square, New York], 1941 (15234.1993)

76 years ago today, December 7, 1941, (Sunday, around 1 PM, in New York) the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii was attacked by over 300 Japanese planes. The next day, shortly after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Day in Infamy” speech, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” The U.S. declared war on Japan. In New York City, many people gathered in Times Square. Almost immediately Mayor La Guardia ordered Japanese subjects in New York to remain in their homes. La Guardia said on WNYC radio: “I want to warn the people of this city that we are in an extreme crisis[…] I now want to appeal to the people of our city to be calm[…] You must remain cool and yet determined. We are aware of the danger ahead but unafraid. In the meantime know that your city’s government is on the job and looking after your welfare and comfort and safety[…] So, in the meantime, good night, and we will remain on the job.”

Upcoming (January 26 – May 6, 2018) exhibition at ICP: “Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II examines a dark episode in US history when, in the name of national security, the government incarcerated 120,000 citizens and legal residents during World War II without due process or other constitutional protections to which they were entitled.”

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Vera Talbot: From Honolulu to Yokohama

Vera Talbot, [Travel Album through Asia, Southeast Asia, India, Africa, and Europe by Vera Talbot], 1924-26 (2009.32.68)

On this day, December 5, in 1924, Vera Talbot began her two year, around-the-world, voyage from San Fransisco to “Honolulu, Japan, China, Indo-China, Siam, Burma, India, Africa, Europe.” The first leg of her journey was “from Honolulu, Dec. 5, 1924 to Yokohama, Dec. 15, 1924” on board the S.S. President Taft.

A Flapper’s Trip Around the World
In 1924 Vera Talbot, a California socialite, departed San Francisco on a two-year journey… Vera’s album is a dense collage of images culled from books, souvenir postcards, maps, brochures, itineraries, and her personal photographs. the result is an album as energetic as her time: the roaring Twenties. “Around the World: The Grand Tour in Photo Albums,” Barbara Levine and Kirsten M. Jensen, 2007.

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In celebration of National Cookie Day

Underwood & Underwood Publishers, “Hurry up! Mamma is coming!” 1902 (2012.45.9)

Unidentified Photographer, [Lunch table setting with decorative sandwiches, cookies, and tea, and a bunny], 1972 (DA.3A7171)

Unidentified Photographer, [Christmas gifts and cookies placed on table], 1972 (DA.3A8.103)

Unidentified Photographer, [Girl making cookies with cookie cutters], 1972 (DA.3A7.1233)

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World Aids Day, 2017

Donald Moffett, He Kills Me, published by ACT UP New York (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), 1987 (1253.2000)

As the AIDS epidemic spread, activists criticized the Reagan administration for ineffectively responding to the disease. In particular, they were concerned that the administration was underfunding AIDS research and obstructing prevention efforts by opposing sex education. These concerns were exacerbated by Reagan’s public silence about the disease until 1987, when he made his first speech on the subject. Later that year, Reagan yielded to pressure from Congress and organized the Presidential Commission on the HIV Epidemic. However, scientists and AIDS activists were skeptical of the recommendations the commission’s appointed members would provide to the President due to their lack of expertise. For the third in a series of demonstrations that ACT UP organized against the commission, Donald Moffett made this poster of Reagan, with words that concisely communicated the group’s thoughts about the President’s effect on AIDS patients. (1253.2000)

Silence = Death Project, AIDSGATE, Published by ACT UP New York (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), 1987 (1277.2000)

Unidentified Artist, 1968/1988, 1988 (1174.2000)

The Tet Offensive in Vietnam
May ’68 riots in France
Andy Warhol’s Flesh
The whole world watches the Democratic Convention in Chicago
Martin Luther King is assassinated
Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated
Tommie Smith & John Carlos make a Black Power salute while receiving their medals at the Mexico City Olympics
Queers still invisible, in 1969 drag queens attack police in Stonewall riot – gay lib is born

Rubber glove manufacturers increase production by 400%
Helms Ammendment approved, prohibiting educational materials which promote or condone IV drug use and gay sex
Andy Warhol’s estate yields millions in Sotheby’s auction
100,410 with AIDS worldwide
38,000 dead from AIDS in America
Media compares AIDS with Vietnam, stating that more are dead from AIDS than killed in Vietnam. Comparison excludes Vietnamese killed in war.
NYC Health Commissioner Stephen Joseph slashes estimate of gay AIDS cases by 400% – weeks before the creation of a 1989 budget.
Painting of Harold Washington in bra and panties is arrested – makes international news

Gran Fury, Fact or Fiction?, 1989 (1222.2000.01)

Unidentified Artist, Serial Killer, 1990 (1176.2000)

This is one of the many ACT UP posters that targeted politicians whose response to the AIDS epidemic was inadequate during the early years of its spread. The criticism levied against President Bush in the poster’s text was widespread and was not limited to AIDS activists only. In a speech given just prior to President Bush’s first public address about the disease on March 29, 1990, the chairman of Levi Strauss & Company stated that if there was no direction from the White House, all of the efforts of the private sector would have little effect. These criticisms continued even after Bush’s speech: nearly a month later, the National Commission on AIDS stated that the government was failing in coordinating an AIDS response. The commission recommended that the Bush administration give emergency relief to cities hardest hit by the virus, pass a law making AIDS discrimination by employers illegal, remove restrictions hindering the creation of straightforward educational material, and provide funds for housing people affected by the disease. Out of these measures, the administration only supported making discrimination illegal. (1176.2000)

GANG, AIDS Crisis, ca. 1991 (1188.2000)

Unidentified Artist, 114,000 AIDS Deaths, ca. 1993 (1260.2000)

“The AIDS Graphics collection was purchased by ICP in 2000. Various artists and collectives including ACT UP, Gran Fury, WHAM!, Richard Deagle, and Fierce Pussy, made this group of over 300 posters, stickers, pamphlets, photographs, and laser prints during the 1980s and early 1990s in response to the AIDS crisis.” (AIDS Graphics Biography.) There are additional selections from ICP’s AIDS Graphics Archive available online.

World AIDS Day
1 December 2017

World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world on December 1st each year. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

The global HIV epidemic claimed fewer lives in 2015 than at any point in almost twenty years. Prevention programmes reduced the number of new HIV infections per year to 2.1 million in 2015, a 35% decline in incidence since 2000. The massive expansion of antiretroviral therapy has reduced the number of people dying of HIV related causes to approximately 1.1 million 2015 – 45% fewer than in 2005.

Having achieved the global target of halting and reversing the spread of HIV, world leaders have set the 2020 “Fast-Track” targets to accelerate the HIV response and to END AIDS BY 2030. (World Health Organization)

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“A look of grave concern…”

Weegee (1899-1968), [Police officer looking at woman on stretcher, New York], November 30, 1943 (966.1993)

At 12:50 AM on November 30th, 1943 an explosion on the ground floor of the Western Electric Company building killed two people and injured more than 30 others. The explosion was felt through out much of Lower Manhattan and even as far away as New Jersey. The explosion broke every window in the ten story Western Electric building, and many others within a ten block radius. According to The New York Times, nearby streets were ankle-deep in shattered glass. 700 of the 1,000 Western Electric employees working the night shift were women. They were working around the clock because of the war. The workers were making radio equipment and radio tubes for the armed forces. The explosion was an accident, not terrorism or sabotage, according to the New York Police Department, the FBI was noncommittal. Sabotage was a concern, because there were a number of plants nearby also making instruments and devices for the war. The explosion was caused by a spark made by a pair of workmen who were trying to repair a leaking hydrogen tank. They and many other hydrogen tanks were on a loading platform. A 28 year old guard died of the burns he received while dragging the two workmen out to safety. Mayor La Guardia arrived at the scene around 2 AM. The fire was extinguished in about an hour and was limited to the loading platform area.

The magnificent edifice at 395 Hudson Street occupies an entire city block, and is framed by Houston, Hudson, Greenwich, and Clarkson Streets. When the building opened on July 15, 1921, it was New York City’s largest concrete building, cost $5,000,000 (approximately $69,678,813 in 2017) to build, and was the most “up-to-date warehouse-shop-office in the country.” The land “on which the new building stands was was purchased from the Corporation of Trinity Church, which received it from Queen Anne (1665–1714) in 1705.” (The New York Times, July 3, 1921.) (More information and “an excellent view of the block which will be occupied by the new 395 Hudson St. building,” before construction began, can be seen in the Western Electric News, The Employee’s Magazine, July 1920.) The reinforced concrete building was built by the Turner Construction Company. (According to the building’s website, it was designed by the architectural firm McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin and renovated in 1989, and the building has a “structural steel frame with red brick façade and contains 512 double pane, mahogany tilt and pivot operable windows.”) The photo is an amazing achievement: in a fraction of a second, in the middle of the night, during a chaotic catastrophe, a uniformed police officer displays enormous empathy and consternation while looking at the calm, placid face of an injured woman, human and helpless, on a stretcher. (Unidentified photographer in the background.) An uncropped version reveals that the cop was not the only empathetic and concerned human looking gravely at the body brought to the back of an ambulance.

Weegee (1899-1968), [Police officer looking at woman on stretcher], November 30, 1943 (Portfolio 40)

On Wednesday, December 1, 1943, PM published a pair of unrelated photos made by Weegee. In one, a few people including a police officer are looking at a destroyed police car, and in the other and a police officer is looking at an injured person on a stretcher. (PM gave very little coverage to the massive explosion, no articles, just one great photo, while The New York Times ran a few articles, without photos.) The two versions of the famous photo, often called “The Human Cop,” published in PM and Naked City, are about a half of the original negative. The photo above, made from the original 4×5 negative, was not cropped and was expertly printed in 1982 by the brilliant Sid Kaplan.

PM, December 1, 1943, p. 16

End of a Bandit Chase
Two policemen were critically injured early yesterday when their radio car cracked into a truck at 55th and Eleventh Ave. They were chasing two men who were fleeing in a stolen car after holding up a tailor shop at 446 W. 57th St. One suspect was later seized by other policemen.

Proving the Cops are Human
A look of grave concern crosses the face of this policeman as he watches an injured woman being removed from the Western Electric plant at 395 Hudson St. following explosion that killed two early yesterday.

Weegee, Naked City, 1945, pp. 68-69

…and the human cop.

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