"Maxiña" photograph album, 1940s-1950s

Navigate the Collection

Using These Materials Teaser

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials


Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
More about accessing and using these materials...

Summary

Creator:
Jordan, William H., Maxiña, and Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture
Abstract:
The creator of this album was a person of color identified only as "Maxiña" or in one instance, "Maxine," living in Cleveland, Ohio. The album contains 102 black-and-white gelatin silver and Polaroid photographs dating from the 1940s-1950s, documenting the social life of Maxiña, who appears to be African American and Hispanic or Latino, assigned a male gender at birth and presenting as female. There are over 50 images of gender non-conforming individuals, identified by first names only. There are also some photographs of her family members. Most images are captioned; some names and captions are in Spanish. Locations include unidentified LGBTQ bars and possibly Maxiña's apartment. Seven larger photographs of Maxiña dressed in fashionable female clothing, one with a man identified only as "Homer," were taken at the studio of William H. Jordan, an African American photographer in Cleveland. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University.
Extent:
0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)
Physical description:
The album is comb-bound and measures roughly 11 1/2 x 10", and has faux leather covers. The front cover is detached. There are 62 pages, the first 30 containing 102 black-and-white photographs, including seven which are hand-colored. Ten photos are lacking. Most photos range from 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches to 5 x 7 inches. Seven studio portraits measure 8 x 10 inches, and 23 are photo booth or a little smaller. Approximately 26 are black-and-white Polaroids that are fading and abraded.
Language:
English
Collection ID:
RL.12046

Background

Scope and content:

This photograph album was compiled by an individual of color identified only as "Maxiña" or in at least one instance, "Maxine," living in Cleveland, Ohio. The black-and-white photographs date from approximately 1947 to the 1950s, and focus on Maxiña, her LGBTQ+ friends, and family. There are several images of men in military uniforms. Her gender as assigned at birth appears to be male; her gender expression in almost all the album images is feminine. There are over fifty images of gender non-conforming individuals, many of those depicting Maxiña.

A set of black-and-white Polaroids seem to be taken inside an unnamed bar which clearly served the Latino or Hispanic, African American, gay men, and gender non-conforming communities. Maxiña is seen in these photos embracing and kissing men of color. There are also photobooth pictures of gender non-conforming people, some with female names. One caption gives a Cleveland address, "Scene from my window/2162 E. 55," and another photograph of an African American man, "Mel," with a "Dr. Szeklay," possibly the Hungarian doctor named Emrick (or "Emerick") Szekely.

Seven portraits, including a formal portrait of Maxiña and a man identified only as Homer, were taken at the studio of William H. Jordan, an African American photographer in Cleveland.

About two-thirds of the 102 photographs have hand-written captions; some of the names and longer captions are in Spanish. A few of the captions on larger images express romantic love: "Before him there was no other."

A news clipping in the album refers to the death of an entertainer from Cleveland, Jess Rodgers, who was a member of the 12 Counts, a society for African Americans in Cleveland founded in 1939.

Biographical / historical:

The owner of this photograph album is identified only as "Maxiña" or in one instance, "Maxine," living in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1940s-1950s. Her gender assigned at birth appears to be male; in almost all of the images in the photograph album she expresses her gender as feminine through her name, clothing, hairstyle, and makeup. There may be a few photos of her with family, presenting as a male. The location is known from backstamps on the studio portraits.

William H. Jordan was an African American photographer who operated his studio on East 34th Street in Cleveland, Ohio, for over 50 years. Originally from West Virginia, he moved to Cleveland in 1916 and devoted his life to photography after losing both of his legs in a construction accident in 1922.

[Source: Dealer description]

Acquisition information:
The "Maxiña" photograph album was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a purchase from Langdon Manor Books, LLC, in 2022.
Processing information:

Processed and described by Paula Jeannet, September 2022.

Accession represented in this collection guide: 2022-0125.

Dimensions:
Album: 11 1/2 x 10 inches
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Contents

Using These Materials

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials


Restrictions:

Collection is open for research.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. Images may only be used for educational, non-commercial use. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Before you visit:
Please consult our up-to-date information for visitors page, as our services and guidelines periodically change.
Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], "Maxiña" photograph album, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.