Michael Francis Blake Photographs, 1912-1934

117 photographs of men, women, and children taken between 1912-1934 by Blake who opened one of the first African-American photography studios in Charleston, S.C. More »

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About the Digital Collection

The collection consists of the contents of a photographic album entitled "Portraits of Members," containing 117 photographs of men, women, and children, both singly and in groups. The album might have been used by clients in the studio to select the backdrop and props they wanted in their photographs. The majority of the subjects appear to be African-American. The photographs represent the work of Michael Francis Blake from the 1910s to his death in 1934.

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Source Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:

Michael Francis Blake photographs circa 1912-1934

Collection #RL.00119 | 1.0 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Michael Francis Blake was one of Charleston, South Carolina's first African American studio photographers. Collection consists of 118 photographs, mostly studio portraits taken by Michael Francis Blake from about 1912 to 1934, with some outdoor settings. There is also a full set of copy prints. The great majority of the subjects appear to be African American; however, there are also individuals who are multi-racial, and possibly white and Asian. Formats comprise 91 photographic postcards and 28 black-and-white prints, many on card mounts but some in the form of more casual snapshots; there are also eight copy negatives. A few of the photographs may be taken by others. Thirty-six individuals in the photographs have been identified, including a portrait of the photographer. Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University.

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