Collection consists of 514 photographic items, almost all single black-and-white prints, in a variety of formats typical for the 19th and early 20th centuries: largely albumen, with some gelatin silver prints, a few tintypes, daguerreotypes, glass plates, and one cyanotype. There are also some mechanical prints such as Woodburytypes and half-tone prints, and groups of commercially produced postcards, collectible cards, and stereographs. Color images are chiefly limited to hand-tinted images and mechanical prints.
Roughly three-quarters of the images were taken by women photographers operating or managing studios in all regions of the United States, with a smaller number in England, Sweden, Canada, and a few other countries; some were well-known but the majority were small business operators in smaller cities and towns. Whenever possible, a brief photographer's biography is included with the image entry.
The majority of the images are studio portraits of mostly unidentified North American men, women, children, and families, with a slight focus on New England. Roughly 40 images are portraits of African American or mixed-race individuals young and old, with a few groups of people of color. There are several ethnographic images of northern African women and a few scenes from Southeast Asia.
In addition to portraiture, the collection offers images of women artists, authors, nurses, teachers, and students who appear in early images of graduation and sports teams. Women and girls in boarding house and hotel rooms, at home, on bicycles, at work in factories, large and small offices, mines, and hospitals, wearing uniforms, brandishing guns and tools, and enjoying leisure activities. One hand-sewn booklet of photographs appears to show scenes from a training school for African American women. Also present are many portraits of female actors, entertainers, and wealthy women. There are very few musicians. Of interest are several photographs of light-skinned enslaved children distributed as abolitionist propaganda.
The cataloger transcribed titles and dates when present and indicated the source location; in the absence of a title, the cataloger devised descriptive titles. The great majority of dates are approximate and are based on the format, biographies, geneaologies, and clothing styles. Much information was derived from history of photography websites and photographer indexes, especially the website Langdon's List of 19th & Early 20th Century Photographers.
The collection consists of three letters written by Agnes Smedley; the first to a Miss Gates, and the second two addressed to Corporal James A. Frankel. The single-page autograph manuscript letter to Miss Gates is written on letterhead stationery with Smedley's Shanghai address identifying her as the "Correspondent of the Frankfurter Zeitung in China." She asks Miss Gates to have "tiffin or tea" with her and wonders "Do you ever have extra time to see strange people?" The second manuscript letter, two leaves with text on all four sides, is dated December 27th, 1944. It primarily concerns Emily Hahn's book "China To Me." Smedley writes, “Miss Hahn spent 9 years sleeping around in Shanghai ... When the Japs took Hong Kong she wrote that she would just have died had she gone to a concentration camp like other Americans. So she went to the Japs and said, 'I’m a bad girl.' So the Japs left her free and she fooled around with them in Hong Kong, drinking and carousing, while the bastards were killing our men... But we Americans find this 'hot stuff' and put it up as a best seller... Miss Hahn is a propagandist for the Chinese reaction. She’s never seen a Chinese Communist, yet she’s agitating against them in N.Y... She led a purely personal life in two Chinese port cities but now poses as an authority on political and military matters of China." The third letter, autograph typescript dated March 23d 1947, was originally enclosed in Frankel’s copy of Smedley's book Battle Hymn of China, and addresses Frankel's questions about the Xi'an Incident of 1936 and the capture of Chiang Kai-shek. Smedley directs Frankel to her article on the topic published in The Nation magazine, as well as "her book."
Collection comprises letters, an article, a few photographs, and several drawings. There are 16 letters and notes, dated 1909-1931, addressed to "Ada," who was Ada Culmer, the companion/caregiver for May Morris' sister, Jenny. Fifteen of these items were written by May, with one by Jenny. Subjects range from personal matters to Kelmscott business, including May’s editing of her father’s collected works. Much of the content centers on mutual friends and relatives (with a focus on Jenny's ill health); several letters also mention foreign travel. The article, "Mrs. William Morris," The Athenaeum, 1914 Feb. 7, contains the author's memories of Jane Morris, following her death. There is an albumen photograph (4.25 x 5.75-inches) by Ernest Hall of Oxford, showing May Morris at work on one of her tapestries at Kelmscott, as well as a developing out paper copy by Haines of London of a 1905 Carter and Co. photograph (6 x 4.25-inches) of Jane, May, and Jenny Morris, with Ada Culmer. In addition, there is a reproduction of a photograph of Kelmscott manor. Includes three undated reproductions of portraits of female figures.
Collection primarily includes four sketchbooks by Allingham, but also contains four letters, a carte de visite, and two exhibit labels. The four sketchbooks date from 1868-1916, and feature sketches and drawings made in graphite, watercolor, and pen and ink. Subjects are varied, and include English cottages and buildings, architectural features, sailboats and coastal scenes, figures, landscapes, and botanical items.
The letters, dated 1881-1882 and undated, include three written by Allingham. There is one to Marcus B. Huish regarding her painting, The Tea Party, which she reports is incomplete, but she plans to finish before it is exhibited. There is a letter to a friend to whom she sends autographs, then describes her country place and garden, along with her 4-month-old son. Another letter focuses on the difficulty of finding unfurnished rooms. The final letter in the collection is written by Andrew Halliday to Dr. Watkins, regarding Allingham's address. There is also a carte-de-visite of English women's rights activist Emily Faithfull, with her signature, along with two modern exhibit labels on Allingham.
The collection consists of a single autograph manuscript note to an unknown recipient which reads, "With Miss Rebecca West's compliments." On letterhead stationery: 15, Orchard Court. Portman Square.W.1., Welbeck 3606.