Muhammad Ali, 1942-2016

Flip Schulke, [Cassius Clay training at Sir John Hotel pool, Miami], 1961 (1883.2005)

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Made on the Bowery: J. D. Maxwell – “Above All Competitors”



J. D. Maxwell, [Unidentified Man], ca. 1880 (1572.1990)

This photo was made (perhaps by John Dey Maxwell, ca. 1843-1929, whose occupations included bookkeeper, butcher, photographer, “artist”, baker, laborer, watchman) at 186 Bowery.

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“An End To Liberty”

Weegee (1899-1968), An End to Liberty, June 1, 1941 (16741.1993)

PM, June 1, 1941, p. 12, Vol. I, No. 50. p. 12

75 years ago today the PM printed the above photo and caption:

An End To Liberty
This Rhesus monkey went AWOL from his unknown owner and tore around Duane Street until ASPCA inspectors cornered him in the girl’s room of the Star Bookbinding Co.
[Possibly the Star Ruling & Binding Co., 66 Duane St.] Tom Barnshaw lured him with a banana. Photo by Weegee.” PM, June 1, 1941, p. 12, Vol. I, No. 50. p. 12

PM, June 1, 1941, p. 12, Vol. I, No. 50. pp. 12-13

Weegee (1899-1968), [Monkey], ca. 1941 (9949.1993)

Possibly the same liberty-less rhesus monkey, or a similar simian, on its way to the ASPCA.

Weegee (1899-1968), An End to Liberty, June 1, 1941 (16741.1993_verso)

(Perhaps just to be funny, a few years before The Critic was made, or possibly making an ASPCA, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, joke, or offering a savvy and subtle bit of media criticism, or presciently predicting the Nonhuman Rights Project, or acknowledging that to live in “society” one must sacrifice some liberties, or questioning the nature of existence and the existence of nature, or anachronistically illustrating the lyric “It’s like a jungle sometimes,” or typically topical, or playfully and intentionally confounding archivists who would one day ponder the significance of a seventy-year-old scribbled sentence, Weegee wrote on the back of this print: “This is going into Society Panel.”)

Perhaps more significantly, what happened in Weegee’s world 72 years ago tomorrow, June 2, 1944: “A Weegee Gets Attention at Museum of Modern Art” – “The opera shot got the most laughs.”

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Six Schools in Hiroshima, 1945

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Unidentified Photographer, United States Government, [Interior damage to steel frame of Honkawa Grammar School Auditorium, Hiroshima], November 8, 1945 (2006.1.629)
Ground Zero 1,100

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Unidentified Photographer, United States Government, [Blast- and fire-damaged ruins of Takeya Grammar School, Hiroshima], October 28, 1945 (2006.1.600)
Ground Zero 3,800

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United States Government, The Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, Volume I, May 1947 (2011.23.2)

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Unidentified Photographer, United States Government, [Blast-damaged ruins of Temma Grammar School, Hiroshima], November 11, 1945 (2006.1.605)
Ground Zero 3,800

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Unidentified Photographer, United States Government, [Remains of a school building, Hiroshima], November 17, 1945 (2006.1.178)
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Building, School. Shows 12 inch concrete fire wall with non-automatic steel roll shutters at opening in fire destroyed two story school building. Typed on verso.

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Unidentified Photographer, United States Government,
[Blast-damaged trusses of Sendamachi Grammar School, Hiroshima], November 4, 1945 (2006.1.609)
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Unidentified Photographer, United States Government, [Interior of Sotoku Middle School, Hiroshima, showing blast-distorted steel roof trusses], October 27, 1945 (2006.1.646)
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On August 6, 1945, the United States detonated the world’s first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, a city of over 350,000 inhabitants. These once-classified, once-almost-burned, once-discarded, and once-found-amongst-trash US government photos, taken by the United States Strategic Bombing Survey’s Physical Damage Division, provided a comprehensive overview of the effects of a nuclear bomb. It is estimated that the number of people killed exceeds 200,000.

Hiroshima: United States Strategic Bombing Survey on emuseum.

All Fansinaflashbulb Hiroshima posts here.

Essential reading: “Hiroshima Lost and Found” by Adam Harrison Levy.

Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945 from ICP on Vimeo.

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A Moondog Centennial

Two of the most significant composers and musicians of the 20th century, Moondog and Miles Davis, were born 100 and 90 years ago tomorrow, May 26. Moondog was born in 1916 and Miles in 1926.
To commemorate the Moondog centennial here are a few photos of Moondog (1916-1999) made by Weegee (both single-named individualists) in Greenwich Village in the 1950s. (One or two of these are unpublished and rare.) And an amazing radio piece, “Moondog: the Man on the Street,” made by Gordon Spencer, broadcast in July, 1971, that features interviews made in 1961 and 1970 with Moondog and his music (from And we begin with a photo from PM.

PM, January 19, 1945, p. 13 (photo by John De Biase from article written by Natalie Davies, titled, “The Man with the ‘Face of Christ'”)

About two years before Louis Hardin became Moondog, he was attending daily rehearsals of the Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall (after befriending conductor Artur Rodzinski) and living in the top room of a brownstone on 56th Street, (between 8th and 9th Avenues). Hardin came to Manhattan in November 1943 after studying music in Iowa and Memphis. A fascinating profile of Hardin by Natalie Davis, published in PM on January 19, 1945 concludes:

Did he have any plans for the next years?
He squatted on the sleeping bag again and laughed. “I’m going to write music,” he replied. “I’m going to write my fool head off.”
Did he see many people? Did he have plenty of friends?
“Oh, yes. I meet people all the time.” He threw back his head again, and laughed. “I’m somewhat of a wolf. I know many women. But my life is lonely. I have to maintain a certain independence, and put everything into my music.”
We stood up to go, and he stood up too. As we walked down the flights of stairs we asked what his favorite piece of music was.
“Mozart’s G Minor Symphony,” he said immediately.
He paused on the steps. “It seems to me a perfect blend of the classic and romantic ideal.”
Did he wish sometimes that he had been born in ancient or medieval times where he could find romance?
“No,” he said earnestly. “You can be yourself in any age. You don’t have to follow the herd.”



Weegee (1899-1968), [Moondog performing, with recorder and trimba], ca. 1955

In the liner notes to a 2005 CD, The Viking of Sixth Avenue, Moondog commented on the PM profile:

When I first got to New York they wrote me up as “a man with the face of Christ.” I put up with that for a few years, then I said I don’t want that connection, I must do something about my appearance to make it look un-Christian.” And so Moondog became a Nordic warrior; complete with spear and horned helmet: “the Viking of Sixth Avenue.”

Gordon Spencer of WBAI in New York presents a program about Louis Hardin, more popularly known as Moondog. From the 1940s up until 1974 Moondog made his living as a street musician and poet in New York City and was typically found near the jazz clubs on 52nd Street. Blind since an accident when he was 16 years old, Moondog was always recognizable in his Viking helmet playing a variety of instruments, some of his own design. In this program Moondog talks about his interests, his influences and his experiences. From

Weegee (1899-1968), [Moondog], ca. 1955

A few links:
NY Times: “Sidewalk Hero, on the Horns of a Revival” – By John Strausbaugh, October 28, 2007.
NY Times: “Louis (Moondog) Hardin, 83, Musician, Dies” By Glenn Collins, September 12, 1999
NY Times: “Moondog Returns From the Hippie Years” – By Allan Kozinn, November 16, 1989.
WNYC: “Moondog – Adventures in Sound” – By Tony Schwartz, August 13, 1970.

Weegee Wednesday is an occasional series exploring, or just enjoying, the life and work of Weegee.

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Rembrandt, [Unidentified women in a question mark], ca. 1915 (2006.62.1)

I (heart) this photo (of possible punctuated paramours).

The Rembrandt photography studio that made this unquestionably lovely photo was located at 314 N. Main St, Decatur, Illinois.


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“This is Sammy…”

Weegee (1899-1968), This is Sammy of Sammy’s on the Bowery, ca. 1945 (14308.1993)

Sammy greets all his patrons at the door. I noticed he frisked some of the Bowery ones. He told me that they were the “bottle” babies and he could spot them by the bulge in their hip pockets. They would try to smuggle in a bottle of “smoke into Sammy’s place to drink in the washroom because if they drank out in the street or hallways the cruising patrol wagons would pick them up.

Weegee (1899-1968), [At Sammy’s on the Bowery], ca. 1945 (14307.1993)

Sammy is wise to all the tricks of the Bowery chiselers but he is also a friend and always ready to lend a helping hand… lending money so a man can get cleaned up, food and a rom while he is getting over a hangover, I know Sammy gave $100 without being asked for it for a woman in the neighborhood who died and there was no money for the funeral. He also takes care of his customers’ valuables. I saw one woman at the bar give Sammy her wrist watch and thirty dollars to save for her till the following day, and I also saw him turn men away from the bar, telling them not to drink till their day off.

Weegee (1899-1968), “At midnight both the elite and bums have left Sammy’s on the Bowery; only a milk-drinker remains while Sammy counts the receipts.” 1945 (14304.1993)

Sammy is known as the “Mayor of the Bowery” and his ambition is to become Mayor of New York City. And when that happy day arrives Sammy promises free drinks in every gin mill in town. Naked City, p. 139

PM, April 1, 1945, p.m2

Lisette Model speaking about Sammy Fuchs at ICP.

Weegee Wednesday is an occasional series exploring, or just enjoying, the life and work of Weegee.

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