The only person I recognize at this card party is my Aunt Barbara in the bottom two photographs. I am told they are playing Bridge. I think late 1930s or early 1940s.
In 1990 my four youngest children began homeschooling. They went from Ayanna in 8th grade to 2 year old Cabral. Soon after we began to publish a family newsletter, The Ruff Draft. They did the writing and I did the layout. They would send out questionnaires to family members and write a Person of the Month article from the information they got back. Last night I was going through my Ruff Draft archives and thought I should publish some of the articles on my blog. Since today is my aunt’s birthday, it seems like the perfect time to run this. Last year we went to South Carolina and helped her celebrate. This year she said she’s keeping a low profile. See more photos and information about my aunt at Barbara’s 90th Birthday.
It was in the 1930’s, as the Cleage brothers reached their twenties, that the “art photos” began. Before that, there are some actual studio photos and lots of snapshots. Then we begin to get photos like these, where someone was experimenting, this time with shadow. The first photo to the upper right is of Paul Payne. There was another photo of him, younger, with Hugh Cleage here. Paul was a long time friend of the Cleage family. Above on the left we have the verso of Paul’s photo which says “Tried for shadows in this also?” All three of these photos have the same number.. To the right, we have Barbara Cleage with a double shadow. And below right we have Anna Cleage and Paul, again with strong shadows.
From this period we have many posed portraits of family members. Some are 8 x 10 and some are snap shots. None of them are signed so I don’t know who took them except for the ones that my father took of my mother in California since he was the only one there. The largest group of snapshots taken during this time, including last week’s Wordless Wednesday photographs of the winter scenes, were taken at the Meadows. (Go to the last paragraph on the linked page to learn more about the Meadows) There are over one hundred of them, from all seasons and spread over several years. My Aunt Gladys confirmed that her brother Hugh did set up a darkroom in the basement.
During the 1960’s Henry and Hugh went into the printing business. They had several presses, a darkroom, an enlarger and more cameras. I have boxes and boxes that used to hold 5 X 7 film that now hold photographs taken during that time. More in the weeks to come. To see more Sepia Saturday entries click HERE.
Tomorrow we’ll be driving over to SC to help celebrate. My aunt was born in Detroit in 1920, the fourth of the seven children of Pearl and Albert Cleage. Barbara attended what is now Wayne State University for several years and then acted as receptionist for her father and brother at Cleage Clinic on the old west side of Detroit. She eloped with Ernest Martin in 1950. They have one son, Ernest Cleage Martin and two grandchildren. In 1970 the Shrine of the Black Madonna opened the first of what would eventually include three Cultural Centers. The stores had collections of African and African American art, books and other cultural objects. Barbara became buyer and manager for all three. She made various buying trips to Africa over the years. She also visited Mexico with her brother Louis who spoke fluent Spanish and often traveled there. Barbara has a wonderful sense of style both in dress and in decorating. Looking forward to seeing her tomorrow celebrating her 90th birthday and hearing some family stories.