Category Archives: Portraits

New Digital Collection: Benjamin L. Hooks Collection

Benjamin_L_Hooks

We are pleased to announce that our new Benjamin L. Hooks Collection is now available on Dig Memphis.

Bowling

This past summer, Matthew Hicks and Katie Jakovich (our archival fellows from Rhodes) processed the Benjamin L. Hooks manuscript collection and digitized selected items from that collection for inclusion here in the digital archive.  In addition, Hooks’ daughter, Patricia Hooks Gray, very kindly allowed us to make digital copies of a large number of family photographs which have also been added to this digital collection.

Bessie Hooks and children

The digital collection includes dozens of photographs of Hooks with civil rights leaders, presidents, family members and celebrities, as well as documents and reports related to his time as the Executive Director of the NAACP and a member of the FCC.

Benjamin Hooks speaking in the FCC days.

We hope you will join us on Saturday, October 25th, at 2:00 to celebrate the opening of the Benjamin L. Hooks Collection and to congratulate Matt and Katie on a job well done.

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Filed under Black History, Civil Rights, Collections, Dig Memphis, Events, History Department, Politics, Portraits

In Memoriam: Roy Cajero

Roy Cajero and Libby Carroll at Arts in the Park in Audubon Park

I met his work before I met him, and I was drawn to his vision instantly. His photographs were unlike anything else in the Memphis Room. They display an intimacy all while maintaining a wider, more objective perspective. He captured the mundane, but managed to elevate it to the extraordinary.

When I encountered the first two notebooks of his photographs, I had no idea who Roy Cajero was — the name was completely unfamiliar to me. I was very surprised to learn that we had worked at the library at the same time and that although he had retired, he was still a frequent visitor. One day, someone who knew of my growing obsession with him told me that he was in the building. I stalked him like prey.

I was very nervous to introduce myself to him, but there was no need. To meet Roy Cajero was to meet humility and kindness embodied. He was a soft-spoken, thoughtful man who was somewhat bewildered by my interest in him. I wanted desperately to interview him and to get some background on the person behind the beautiful photographs; I wanted to add his story to the digital archive along with the images I loved. But he wanted nothing of the sort. An intensely private man, he preferred that I write nothing about him.

Despite his hesitancy to be in the spotlight, he willingly agreed to share his work with the Memphis Room, and he has spent the past few years preparing hundreds of photographs for addition to the digital archive. His gifts will be forever in the hands of the community, and I greatly appreciate his willingness to share himself in that way.

I am also thankful for the gift of knowing him. Just as his photographs led me to examine Memphis from a different point of view, he could always help me look at life with a slightly new perspective. With a sly joke or a twinkle of the eye, this quiet man exuded warmth and put the people around him at ease, all while challenging us to think and grow.

Thank you, Roy. For your many gifts to the library and the Memphis Room, but most importantly for the gifts to your loved ones, friends, and admirers — the latter of which I am a proud member.

Oh, and sorry for breaking our deal.  I know you never wanted attention, but you deserve it nonetheless.

 

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Filed under Collections, In Memoriam, Libraries, Photographs, Portraits, Volunteers

New Digital Collection: Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!, the first movie musical to feature an all-black cast, was released in 1929 by MGM Studios.  Filmed in part on location in the Memphis area, several Memphians were featured in the cast, including Georgia Woodruff.  Woodruff’s daughter, Ruby Woodruff Carter, donated this collection to the Memphis and Shelby County Room.  The collection includes personal photos, publicity photos, newspaper clippings and correspondence about the film and the life of Ms. Woodruff.

In 1986, the library received special permission from MGM for a one-time screening of the film, and several programs and discussions were held in conjunction with that showing.  Two events were videotaped and are available here as well:

Hallelujah!: A DiscussionHistorically Speaking: The “Hallelujah!” Collection at the Memphis Room (Visit our Vimeo Channel by clicking here.)

Our thanks to Katy Tait and Candice Joyner for their hard work to digitize this collection!  Click here to view it now.

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Filed under Black History, Collections, Dig Memphis, Photographs, Portraits, Video, Volunteers

ID requested. Can you help?

Last week, Sandra Lee Drewry kindly donated digital copies of some of her family photographs.  Most are class photos from local schools (view them in The Schoolyard), but this particular image appears to be a company picture.  Can anyone help us identify it?Unknown Photo

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Filed under Gifts, ID, Photographs, Portraits

Sid Selvidge, 1943 – 2013

Sid Selvidge

 

Obituary from the Commercial Appeal

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by | May 2, 2013 · 2:59 pm

Maxine Smith, 1929 – 2013

Maxine Smith

View other images, read about her portrait in the Memphis Room, or learn more about the Maxine A. Smith NAACP Collection.

Commercial Appeal article.

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Filed under Civil Rights, In Memoriam, Portraits

March Madness

Whew! Things have been busy around here.  Several new digital collections are in the works and will be coming to you soon, thanks to our new volunteers and interns: Candice Joyner, Chris Montoya, Della Hebert, Elizabeth Levkoff and Sarah Fesmire.

In the meantime, since it’s the beginning of March Madness, it seems appropriate to share a little bit of Memphis basketball history.  Meet the Sacred Heart basketball team, city champions from 1936 to 1939:Sacred_Heart

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Filed under History Department, Memphis History, Photographs, Portraits, Sports, Volunteers