The collection consists of approximately 1,950 glass plate and large format film negatives,100 hand-tinted and black-and-white prints and four photographic albums containing prints of various sizes, taken by Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge, the royal photographer to the Oba of Benin, Akenzua II (1933-1978). These images span six decades (1926 - 1989) and represent a dynamic, continuous record of the Benin Royal Court in Nigeria. Alonge documented the pageantry, ritual and regalia of the Obas, their wives and retainers for over a half-century, including the coronation of the King and the Iyoba, or queen mother. The collection also documents historic visits to Benin by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip (1956), Princess Alexandra (1960), foreign dignitaries, traditional rulers, political leaders and celebrities. The collection preserves an important historical record of Benin art and culture during the periods of British colonial rule and Nigerian independence in the 20th century. The rarity and historical value of the collection are enhanced by Alonge's privileged access to the Palace as a chief in the Iwebo Palace Society, a position which presents a unique insider's view of Benin royalty. The quality of the collection is testament to Alonge's technological skills in photography and his professionalism in keeping the collection ordered and well-preserved despite the heat, humidity and tropical climate of Nigeria.
Photographs of art objects collected by Maxwell C., 1904-1984, and Betty Stanley. The Stanley's had begun to collect African art objects during a business trip to West Africa in the 1960s, and they gradually acquired nearly 600 pieces. The objects are found today in the University of Iowa Museum. Events documented include official government ceremonies with staged indigenous dances; rituals in villages such as young members of the female sande society returning from the initiation camp; and visits by foreign heads of state such as Queen Elizabeth II and Josip Broz Tito of Yoguslavia. Art works include figures, masks, musical instruments, sculptures and staffs.
Photographs documenting pottery and pottery designs from historic Pueblo groups and archeological sites, including Nampeyo pottery and an image of Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso and examples of her pottery. There are also some photographs that depict a pueblo, Southwest landscapes, cliff dwellings, rock art, craftspeople, and dwellings, mostly re...
William Ian Brinkworth's collection, dated from 1901 to 1991, includes an extensive number of black and white photographs, negatives, color transparencies, books, audio tapes, manuscripts, and research materials. The manuscripts include Brinkworth's book drafts, film treatments, correspondence, historical documents, legal documents, journals and magazines in which his work was published.
The Historic Engravings collection is comprised of 154 pages of engravings, dating from 1747 to circa 1905. The engravings depict subject matter related to Africa and Africans.
Photographs taken by Melville J. Herskovits during his trips with his wife, Frances Shapiro Herskovits, to Surinam (1928-29); Dahomey, now Republic of Benin (1931); Haiti (1934); and Brazil (1941-42). From 1928 to 1943 Melville Herskovits and his wife, Frances Herskovits (nee Shapiro) traveled together throughout West Africa and the Americas to collect evidence of the legacy of African culture. The contributions of Frances Herskovits to her husband's research were fully recognized in an exhibition held by the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, from April 2-August 9, 1998. Entitled, "Living Tradition in Africa & the America: The Legacy of Melville J. and Frances S. Herskovits," the brochure noted, "On each trip, Frances was a full partner in the research...Until Melville's death in 1963, they worked together on the analysis of their data and the writing of books and articles; and after he died, she edited a collection of his papers."
The collection includes 1,469 color slides (35mm) which were taken in Nigeria from circa 1964-1994, and focus on ancestral altars; artists; art objects in museums, including bronze plaques and carved ivory tusks; ceremonies and festivals, including the Igue and Ewere Festivals, and the Emobo, Otue, Olokun, title-taking, and Blackmun's initation ceremonies; and people, including Oba Erediauwa and chiefs Eribo, Ero, Esogban, Ezomo, Ohanmu and Osaigeide; and street and landscape scenes in Benin City, Ife, Lagos, Ishiago, and Mbarri, Owerri, Owo, among other locations in Nigeria.
The Flora S. Kaplan papers document her field work, research, and professional activities from 1951-2012 (bulk 1969-2012) and primarily deal with her work as the director and founder of New York University's Museum Studies program and her field work in Benin and Mexico. The collection consists of correspondence, research files, book files, photographs, sound recordings, ephemera, and writings.
Photographs of West Africa, mostly from Lagos and coastal Nigeria, 1877-1895. There are high quality pictures of trading houses and residences in Lagos, often with the name of the owners given in the caption. One of the buildings depicted is the cathedral. Several exceptional images portray chiefs, such as the King of Opobo, and the wives of the King of Opobo, the Balogun of Epe, the Alake of Abeokuta, and the chief of New Calabar. Of greatest interest is a photograph entitled "Benin Gods" which shows figures from the Kingdom of Brass, taken in circa 1877/1878. There are also views of Cape Coast, Elmina, Accra, Wydah, Fernando Poo, Porto Novo, Grand Popo, and one from Liberia. The themes range from architecture to dances and weddings. Of particular interest are two depictions of fancy dress.
This collection consists of negatives and photographic prints taken in 1936 and 1937 by Eva L.R. Meyerowitz in Nigeria, Benin and Ghana. Peoples depicted include the Akan, Fon, Konkomba, and Tallensi and subjects include artisans, blacksmiths, dancing, markets, artwork and objects that were originally displyed in King Bezu's palace in Abomey, potters, shrines, and vernacular architeture.