“Flowers, flowers everywhere…” – “An American Town Celebrates in the Old Dutch Fashion”

An American Town Celebrates in the Old Dutch Fashion

An American town energetically carries on the tradition of Dutch cleanliness: Men and girls of Holland, Mich. Whose population of 15,000 is largely of Dutch descent, scrubbing the city streets as the opening feature of the annual tulip festival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors and is perhaps the most beautiful display of its kind in the country.

They make the dirt fly: The men in Dutch garb, wooden shoes and all, lustily wielding their scrubbing brushes in the streets as is the traditional custom of the land of their ancestors.

They would look at home on the shores of the Zuider Zee: Two shy marchers in the school children’s parade…

Mirrored on spotless streets: Boys and girls of the Michigan town halted for a brief rest in the children’s parade.

They can march in wooden shoes: Tiny Bequett and Bobby Gross with a duplicate of the Netherlands milk cart.

The New York Times, Mid-Week Pictorial, June 4, 1932 (2006.18.38)

Views of the Annual Tulip Festival Festival at Holland, Mich

In old world costume for a colorful festival of the new world: Miss Beatrice Kline and Miss Lois Kronemeyer

A typical tulip time girl: Miss Marjorie Klomparens, 15 years old, with an armful of the blossoms which are on display almost by the millions in the annual festival at Holland, Mich.

With a tiny windmill of the old Dutch type: children marching in their parade in the costume of their ancestors.

Loyal Americans in their Dutch guise: Small participants in the parade of the school children at Holland Mich. where many of the customs of the Netherlands are maintained as brought to the region by the early settlers.

Flowers, flowers everywhere: Miss Gertrude Young and Miss Peggy Bergen picking tulips for the annual celebration.

The annual Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan, population of 33,000, began in 1929. Last month the Tulip Time Festival celebrated its’ 90th anniversary.

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“And what is reason? and what is love? and what is life?”

George Frank Edgar Pearsall, [Walt Whitman], September 1872 (24.2004)

Walt Whitman, Song of the Exposition, 5.

You shall see hands at work at all the old processes and all the
new ones,
You shall see the various grains and how flour is made and then
bread baked by the bakers,
You shall see the crude ores of California and Nevada passing on
and on till they become bullion,
You shall watch how the printer sets type, and learn what a com-
posing-stick is,
You shall mark in amazement the Hoe press whirling its cylinders,
shedding the printed leaves steady and fast,
The photograph, model, watch, pin, nail, shall be created before

In large calm halls, a stately museum shall teach you the infinite
lessons of minerals,
In another, woods, plants, vegetation shall be illustrated—in
another animals, animal life and development.

One stately house shall be the music house,
Others for other arts—learning, the sciences, shall all be here,
None shall be slighted, none but shall here be honor’d, help’d,

Mathew B. Brady, [Walt Whitman], 1869-71 (2010.41.1)

…It was while looking at this photo in 1889 that Whitman explained what he saw to be the difficulty of photographing him properly: “my red, florid, blooded complexion — my gray dull eyes — don’t consort well together: they require different trimmings: it is very hard to adjust the camera to both.” Whitman attributed his photogenic qualities to his relaxed and natural attitude before the camera: “I don’t fix up when I go to have the picture taken: they tell me nearly everybody does: that is a great item… Startle, strikingness, brilliancy, are not factors in my appearance — not a touch of them. As for me I think the greatest aid is in my insouciance — my utter indifference: my going as if it meant nothing unusual…” whitmanarchive.org

Attributed to J. C. Tarisse, [Walt Whitman], ca. 1869 (2010.41.3)

“W. always objected to sending out these pictures because the photographer has immodestly painted the cheeks. N.J. 1908” (Written on verso.)

In an 1869 Washington Chronicle article, Whitman, describing the best photographs of himself, noted that “Mssrs. Seybold & Tarisse, on the Avenue, below Sixth, have a good head, just taken, very strong in shade and light.”… Whitman disapproved of retouching negatives or prints, since the “photograph has this advantage: it lets nature have its way.” whitmanarchive.org.

Edy Brothers, [Walt Whitman], September 22, 1880 (2010.41.2)

Walt Whitman was born two hundred years ago today, May 31, 1819, in New York and died on March 26, 1892, in New Jersey. His burial site is the Harleigh Cemetery in Camden. To commemorate and celebrate the bicentennial bard: four portraits of and a pair of poems (that include the word photograph) by Whitman. Walt was one of the most photographed (and photogenic) authors of the 19th century. “I have been photographed, photographed, photographed, until the cameras themselves are tired of me.”

Mathew B. Brady was born in 1822 and died in 1896. G.F.E. Pearsall was born in 1841, worked in a studio at 298 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, from 1873-1896, and died in 1927.

“…Whitman again stressed the illusion of a ‘peculiar life-likeness’ in the displayed daguerreotypes. ‘What a spectacle!’ he exclaimed. ‘Ah! what tales might those pictures tell if their mute lips had the power of speech!'” (Reading American Photographs: Images As History – Mathew Brady to Walker Evans, By Alan Trachtenberg, pp. 60-70.)

Unidentified Photographer, [Illustration of Walt Whitman’s burial site, Harleigh Cemetery, Camden, New Jersey], ca. 1940

Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, 42.

This is the city and I am one of the citizens,
Whatever interests the rest interests me, politics, wars, markets,
newspapers, schools,
The mayor and councils, banks, tariffs, steamships, factories, stocks,
stores, real estate and personal estate.

The little plentiful manikins skipping around in collars and tail’d

I am aware who they are, (they are positively not worms or fleas,)
I acknowledge the duplicates of myself, the weakest and shallowest
is deathless with me,
What I do and say the same waits for them,
Every thought that flounders in me the same flounders in them.

I know perfectly well my own egotism,
Know my omnivorous lines and must not write any less,
And would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself.

Not words of routine this song of mine,
But abruptly to question, to leap beyond yet nearer bring;
This printed and bound book—but the printer and the printing-
office boy?
The well-taken photographs—but your wife or friend close and
solid in your arms?
The black ship mail’d with iron, her mighty guns in her turrets—
but the pluck of the captain and engineers?
In the houses the dishes and fare and furniture—but the host and
hostess, and the look out of their eyes?
The sky up there—yet here or next door, or across the way?
The saints and sages in history—but you yourself?
Sermons, creeds, theology—but the fathomless human brain,
And what is reason? and what is love? and what is life?

George Frank Edgar Pearsall, [Walt Whitman], September 1872 (24.2004)

Walt Whitman, Twilight.

The soft voluptuous opiate shades,
The sun just gone, the eager light dispell’d—(I too will soon be
gone, dispell’d,)
A haze—nirwana—rest and night—oblivion.

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial Day

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified man], ca. 1863 (2007.14.9)

Unidentified Photographer, [Private Benjamin F. Smith, 11th U.S. Infantry. (One of the Civil War’s shortest soldiers.)], ca. 1875 (78.2004)

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified man], ca. 1900-1910 (706.1990)

Alva, [Unidentified woman and man], 1918 (1560.1990)

This dramatic, hand-colored photograph of a Red Cross nurse bringing aid to a theatrically wounded World War I soldier may be an early movie still. City directories indicate that an Alva Studio operated in Harlem at 111 West 125th Street under the proprietorship of photographer Morris Licht. It is possible that this photograph was a product of Licht’s studio. (1560.1990)

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified man], ca. 1940 (565.1990)

Many local studios from the 1920s to the ’40s used elaborate backdrops including a variety of wallpaper, fabric, and coverlets. These backdrops were especially popular with itinerant photographers because they could be easily rolled up and transported. (565.1990)

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified men and woman], ca. 1942 (439.2005)

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The First Woman to Fly the Atlantic Alone”

Unidentified Photographer, [Amelia Earhart], ca. 1932 (1335.2005)

Vu, “La ‘Girl Lindbergh’ A Traversé L’Atlantique,” May 25, 1932, (2009.61.15)

Vanity Fair, “Miss Amelia Earhart: A new portrait by Steichen of the famed American flier who is now the wife of Mr. George Putnam, the publisher,” p.72, November 1931 (2006.18.26) (Photographer: Edward Steichen)

Although Amelia Earhart was a continuous source of fascination for human-interest journalists, she did not sit for many of the leading photographers of the day. Other than a few portraits by Edward Steichen, the foremost celebrity and fashion photographer on the Condé Nast staff, and mass-market image distributors like Underwood & Underwood, most pictures of Earhart were taken by little-known staff photographers at newspapers or wire services. (2006.18.26)

Vanity Fair, “Amelia Earhart Putnam – A Lady Lindbergh,” p. 47, July 1937 (2006.18.41) (Photographer: Edward Steichen)

This issue of Vanity Fair appeared in July 1932, shortly after Amelia Earhart returned from her record-breaking flight. (2006.18.41)

Unidentified Photographer, [Amelia Earhart and George Putnam, Paris], late May or early June 1932, (1354.2005)

After a stop in London, Amelia Earhart continued on to Paris, the original destination of her cross-Atlantic flight. George Palmer Putnam joined her there and accompanied her to Rome for meetings with Mussolini and the pope. Then they traveled to Brussels for lunch with the king and queen of Belgium.

The New York Times, Mid-Week Pictorial, “The First Woman to Fly the Atlantic Alone,” p.11, June 4, 1932 (2006.18.38)

The First Woman to Fly the Atlantic Alone

All Set For Her Second Flight Across The Atlantic: Mrs. Putnam. Photographed with Bernt Balchen, Bryd’s South Pole Pilot, Just Before She Took Off on Her Solo Flight to Europe.

Congratulations for the “Lone Lady of the Air”: Mrs. Amy O. Earhart, Mother of the First Woman to Fly the Atlantic Alone, and Mrs. Albert Morrissey, Sister of the Aviatriz, Opening a Part of the Mail That Poured Into Their Home at Medford, Mass., After the Flight.

The Feminine “Lone Eagle” Ready to Wing Her Way Across the Atlantic: Mrs. Amelia Earhart Putnam in a Pose Reminiscent of the Lindbergh Flight, Just Before She Took Off from Harbor Grace, N.F. on the Hop That Ended Near Londonderry, Ireland, Making Her the First Woman to Fly Across the Atlantic Alone/ She Made the Trip in 13 1/2 Hours, the fastest Atlantic Crossing on Record, and Also Set a New Women’s Distance Flight Mark of 2,026.5 Miles.

National Geographic, “The Society’s Special Medal Awarded to Amelia Earhart,” September 1932 (2006.18.21)

“On May 20-21, 1932, Earhart became the first woman—and the only person since Charles Lindbergh—to fly nonstop and alone across the Atlantic. Flying her red Lockheed Vega […] she left Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, and landed 15 hours later near Londonderry, Northern Ireland.” (airandspace.si.edu.)

The above objects, and more, were included in the ICP exhibition Amelia Earhart: Image and Icon (May 11 – September 9, 2007).

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mother and Child

Nell Dorr, Mother and Child cover, ca. 1950 (128.1999)

Nell Dorr, Mother and Child, ca. 1950 (128.1999)

Nell Dorr, Mother and Child, ca. 1950 (128.1999)

Nell Dorr, Mother and Child, ca. 1950 (128.1999)

Nell Dorr, Mother and Child, ca. 1950 (128.1999)

Nell Dorr, Mother and Child, ca. 1950 (128.1999)

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Katharine Hepburn (Photos by Munkácsi)

Martin Munkácsi, [Katharine Hepburn, Hartford], 1935 (2007.110.1395)

Harper’s Bazaar, February 1935, pp. 38-39 (photo by Martin Munkácsi)

Katharine Hepburn takes off from her native Hartford in gray gabardine trousers, gray flannel coat, white wool scarf. She likes this get-up for flying because it is so comfortable. On cold days she throws a big mink overcoat on top.

Martin Munkácsi, [Katharine, Marion, and Margaret Hepburn], 1939 (2007.110.2273)

Harper’s Bazaar, August 1939, pp. 52-53 (photos by Martin Munkácsi)

If anyone should ask you, a Frenchman for instance, what sort of house nice Americans live in, there’s one in Hartford, Connecticut, you might point out to him. A big rambling brick house it is, set far back from a shaded quiet street, circled by deep lawns and a high brick wall. A graveled drive leads to the garage and the back door, winding through evergreens and shrubberies. The casement windows are thrown wide open – and there are many of them. Walk up close, and you’ll see a lot of cars in the garage, overflowing into the driveway. The phone is ringing. Somebody is playing Mozart on the piano with the loud pedal down, hard. Someone is calling, “Oh, Mo-o-ther…” You know that there are children in this house, lots of them. Children grown up now to college age and the possession of those assorted cars in the drive. You’ll have chosen a good house to show your foreigner. It’s where the Hepburn’s live.

There are more cars in the drive and thew phones ring more often, now that Katharine is back East, playing on Broadway. In New York, she has a lovely old house in Turtle Bay. But when the last curtain falls on Saturday evening, she leaps for her car and home to Hartford. There, for two days, she is Father’s girl, Mother’s adored eldest, and sister to Bob and Dick and Marion and Margaret.

Seeing the three Hepburn girls together, you get a feeling that you have known them before. it is not only that they are so completely American. There is something in them of all the darling heroines of you favorite novels. They’re by Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott, of course…

The Hepburns do nothing by halves. When we asked them to be fashion models, they piled on all the clothes and Marion carried extra slacks in her hand. Katharine wears violet tweed slacks and a big tweed raglan coat. Marion wears gray men’s flannel slacks, a double-breasted brown tweed overcoat, and carries gray and red plaid slacks. Peg has a shirt and slacks of lightweight gray wool, and a big plaid topcoat with pleats and a belt in the back. Best.

Harper’s Bazaar, March 1937, pp. 106-107 (photo by Martin Munkácsi)

Miss Katharine Hepburn and Vionnet in an effective collaboration. Bias bands of white satin shape the dress, and rhinestone buttons are a flash of light down the tightly fitted bodice. At Hattie Carnegie. Martha Weathered, Chicago, I. Magnin, California. (No, the crocheted wool shawl is not Vionnet’s idea, but Miss Hepburn’s own.)

Martin Munkácsi, [Katharine Hepburn], 1939 (2007.110.2284)

“Katharine is back East, playing on Broadway.” In 1939 Hepburn was starring in The Philadelphia Story, (1939, written by Phillip Barry). A year later it was turned into a movie, directed by George Cukor, and starring Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart.

Katharine Houghton Hepburn was born in Hartford, Connecticut on May 12th, 1907. She died on June 29th, 2003 in Connecticut. Martin Munkácsi was born Mermelstein Márton in Hungary on May 18th, 1896, and died in July 1963, in New York.

“In New York, she has a lovely old house in Turtle Bay.” For many years Katharine Hepburn lived on East 49th St., in Manhattan. This weekend there’s an annual birthday party for her on the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, East 47th St., near the U.N. and the wonderful Katharine Hepburn Garden.

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Audrey Hepburn (“Funny Face”)

Chim (David Seymour), [Audrey Hepburn holding balloons on the set of “Funny Face,” Tuileries, Paris, France], 1956 (42.1990)

Chim (David Seymour), [Audrey Hepburn and designer Givenchy, trying on her gown for ballet sequence], ca. 1956 (41.1990)

Chim (David Seymour), [Audrey Hepburn at dancing lesson, Paris], 1956 (2012.122.17)

Audrey Hepburn was born 90 years ago today, May 4, 1929, in Belgium.

Miss Hepburn, whose name originally was Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston, was born on May 4, 1929, near Brussels, to a Dutch mother and an English father, and was educated largely in London. During World War II, she and her mother were caught vacationing in Holland when the Nazis invaded and her family endured much hardship during the occupation. During the war, one of her brothers was taken to a labor camp, and an uncle and cousin were executed. She once said the family was reduced to eating tulip bulbs.

But when she returned to London after the war, her life took the glamorous turn she would maintain for the rest of her life. She was a ballet student and model. On the Riviera, she was spotted by the author Colette, who insisted that Miss Hepburn star in the Broadway version of “Gigi,” which led to “Roman Holiday.”

She attributed her work with Unicef to her childhood experience of hunger and fear during the war.

As Goodwill ambassador for Unicef she traveled extensively in Africa and Latin America. She visited Ethiopia during the drought to call attention to the plight of starving children. In 1991 she described her Unicef role as “talking my head off,” and said, “I just decided to do as much as possible in the time that I’m still up to it.” (New York Times, January 21, 1993.)

Chim (David Seymour) lived from 1911-1956. Audrey Hepburn was alive from 1929-1993.

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment