Saturday, July 12, 2014

research time!

You can't imagine how happy I was when these volumes turned up on my desk in the Library of Congress!  Although I'm ostensibly in DC for another reason, a day's hard-nose-to-the-grindstone research has been a terrific boost.  These are the volumes of Flash! - an African-American newspicture periodical from 1937-38 - that the NYPL doesn't have, and that I've therefore not seen before.  It's truly a strange publication - very determinedly upbeat (though that shifts a little, over time); very much aimed at and about the successful elite in DC and, to a lesser extent, Baltimore; and, yes, with some pretty good examples of flash photography.  My favorite news item of the day?  March 20th 1937 ...

“Roland Hayes was well received by Wash’s top drawer set in his recital last Friday night … The artist’s repertoire included both foreign and American offerings, but the selection, “Dawn” with words by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and music by Coleridge Taylor was the best received…Hayes showed exceptional control when he calmed the audience when the curtain burst into flames /17/ from the sparks of a flash light camera…However, Percival Parham, accompanist for Hayes, caused subdued laughter, when the somewhat feminine pianist placed his hands upon his hips, and assumed an air of remonstrance when the vigilant stage fireman spilled extinguisher fluid on his music.”

That's got to find a place in the book ...

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