Schuyler Family photograph collection

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Collection Data

The collection documents the lives of musician and journalist Philippa Schuyler, her father, journalist and writer George Schuyler, and mother Josephine Schuyler, who managed Philippa's musical career, from the 1930s to the late 1960s. The collection consists of studio and candid portraits of the Schuylers; Josephine's family, the Cogdells; friends, colleagues and acquaintances; celebrities; political officials; and military personnel. Also included are views of concerts; radio broadcasts; social events and gatherings; street scenes; foreign travel; and family pets. Depictions of George Schuyler's family are very limited, and there are no depictions of his early life. Some of the images were used in the book "Composition in Black and White: the Life of Philippa Schuyler" by Kathryn Talalay, published in 1995. The Schuyler family series depicts some of the Schuylers' private and social life, from the 1930s to the 1960s. The series includes candid portraits, many of them snapshots, of the Schuylers, mainly Josephine and Philippa during Philippa's childhood (1931-1939); group portraits of the Schuylers relaxing at home (ca. mid-1940s); candid views of the family attending social events (ca. 1940s-1950s); and a small group of candid portraits of George and Josephine taken at various times (ca. 1950s-late 1960s). Also included are group portraits of the Schuylers posing with family friend Caroline Mitchell (1952). The George Schuyler series documents some aspects of his personal life and journalism activities, from the 1910s to the 1970s. Personal photographs include studio portraits of George when he served in the United States Army (ca. 1916-1917); various individual portraits of him taken between 1950 to the 1970s; snapshots of friends and, possibly, family at an undated gathering in upstate New York; views of him attending various social gatherings (1969 to 1973); and photographed at home (1973). George's journalism activities include a photo album depicting diplomats, villagers, social conditions, and a Firestone Tire plant in Liberia during his investigation of charges of slavery there for the New York Evening Post (1931); views of him attending various news conferences (1950s); taking part in various radio interviews on WLIB, New York (1950s-early 1960s); and meeting with foreign figures during his trips abroad (1949-early 1960s). Also included are several portraits of prominent African-Americans that were compiled by Schuyler for use with his unpublished manuscript "The Negro in America." The Josephine Schuyler series depicts aspects of her personal life (1900s-1960s) and her early professional activities (late 1910s to 1920s). Included are studio portraits of her as a small child (ca. 1901-1902); individual and group portraits of her parents and siblings (ca. 1900-1920s); studio portraits and snapshots of her as a Mack Sennett beauty and pin-up girl in California (late 1910s to the 1920s); and snapshots of her, as writer Heba Jannath, in New York City (ca. 1927). Also included are formal and candid portraits of Josephine taken at various dates (ca. 1930s-1969); and a view of her open casket at her funeral (1969). Some images of the Cogdell family and Texas friends are compiled in the loose pages of a photo album she titled "People I Have Known." The Philippa Schuyler series documents both her personal life and her professional activities as a musician and journalist, from the 1930s to the 1960s. Personal photographs include snapshots of Philippa as a small child, often in outdoor settings (1931 to late-1930s); in a group of individual portraits at home either composing or playing the piano (ca. 1938-1939); posing with classmates for a recital where she performed dressed as Mozart (ca. 1937); in a series of studio portraits taken by Carl Van Vechten (1946-1947, 1949 and 1951); in a group of studio and candid portraits, some for publicity purposes, during various tours (1950s-mid-1960s); and views of her coffin at her funeral (1967). Individual and group portraits of Philippa's friends and acquaintances are included, as well as views of social gatherings and events (ca. 1940s-1967). Also depicted are some of Philippa's suitors and lovers including Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu, Belgian poet Andre Gascht, composer Dennis Gray Stoll, and Maurice Raymond. Philippa's concert and journalism activities include a view of her performing on Philippa Schuyler Day at the World's Fair, New York (1940); views of her 1946 debut concert at Lewisohn Stadium, City College, New York; views of her tour in Argentina, performing with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic at the Teatro Opera and at the Gershwin Festival with conductor Everett Lee (1954); visiting Dr. Albert Schweitzer at his hospital near Lambarene, Gabon (1959); in a series of group portraits with government officials and tribal leaders from her concert and journalism tours of the Belgian Congo (1959-1960); snapshots and group portraits from her concert tours of Togo and Madagascar on the occasion of their independence (1960);and candid views of her visit to Southeast Asia, including her first visit to Vietnam (1966). Other images depict her concert and journalism travels to other parts of Africa, Asia and South America, as well as Europe and the Caribbean, throughout the 1950s to mid-1960s. Others depicted with Philippa Schuyler include Ghanan president Kwame Nkrumah, Madagascan president Philbert Tsiranana, conductor Rudolph Ganz, composer Deems Taylor, and photographer Carl Van Vechten. Also included are many official photographs collected by Philippa, such as studio portraits of Congolese political leaders, and views of official gatherings and factory workers in the Congo (ca. 1959-1960); views of a South Vietnamese Government-guided tour for foreign journalists of manufacturing sites and government facilities (ca. 1966); portraits of some Viet-Cong leaders (ca. 1960s); views of atrocities committed against civilians in Angola allegedly by insurgents from the Congo (ca. 1960s); and U.S. Navy photographs of the shipping port at Da Nang, South Vietnam (1966). The Miscellaneous series includes a group of photographic postcards taken by Carl Van Vechten, mainly portraits of celebrities and entertainers. The majority of postcards (dated 1946-1956 and 1961-1963) were inscribed and mailed to the Schuylers by Van Vechten, who signed them as "Carlo." Other miscellaneous items include other portraits and still life images taken by Van Vechten; snapshots of Southern towns; and snapshots of the Hamilton Heights neighborhood where the Schuylers lived in New York City (ca. 1940s).
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1901 - 1973 (Approximate)
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division
Shelf locator: Sc Photo Schuyler Family Collection
Schuyler, Philippa, 1932-1967
Schuyler, George S. (George Samuel), 1895-1977
African American families -- New York (N.Y.)
Schuyler, Josephine, 1900-1969
African Americans in the performing arts
African American musicians
African American families -- New York (State) -- New York (N.Y.)
Africa -- Social conditions
Biographical/historical: George Samuel Schuyler (1895-1977) was an African-American journalist and author. Josephine Cogdell Schuyler (ca. 1900-1969), the daughter of a wealthy white Texas family, was an artist and writer who managed Philippa Schuyler's musical career. Philippa Duke Schuyler (1931-1967) was a child musical prodigy, concert pianist, composer and journalist.
Physical Description
Extent: 5127 items (4.7 cubic ft., 20 boxes).
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b15050584
MSS Unit ID: 532292
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 91653ae0-c607-012f-435b-58d385a7bc34
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