Posts tagged "carl van vechten"
British contralto Evelyn Dove (1902-1987) wearing a mantilla and holding a fan in a photography by Carl Van Vechten taken on December 27, 1935. Born in London to a barrister from Sierra Leone and his British wife, Ms. Dove’s career took her all over the world, from American jazz clubs to cabarets from Paris to India. She was best known to most for her work in BBC radio broadcasts in the 1940s. In 1956, she portrayed Eartha Kitt’s mother in a BBC television drama called “Mrs. Patterson,” that starred the American-born British-based singer, Elisabeth Welch. She also appeared on stage in London’s West End in a production of Langston Hughes’s “Simply Heavenly.” Photo: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Muriel Smith, photographed in 1944 by Carl Van Vechten as “Carmen,” the role she originated on Broadway. In 1956, she turned down an offer from Samuel Goldwyn to star in the film version of ”Porgy and Bess,” stating, ”It doesn’t do the right thing for my people.” After a successful career overseas, particularly Great Britain, the New York-born Ms. Smith taught voice at Virginia Union University before her death in 1985.
Nora Holt, photographed with a marionette by Carl Van Vechten on August 29, 1937, was first African American to earn a master’s degree in music (Chicago Musical College, 1918) She was a music critic for two preeminent black newspapers, the Chicago Defender and the New York Amsterdam News. Married five (or more) times, she was also a regular in the gossip columns thanks to her scandalous love life. Ms. Holt was also said to be the inspiration for the “Lasca Sartoris” character in Van Vechten’s infamous, controversial novel, “N****r Heaven.” She died in Los Angeles in 1974. Photo: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Happy 93rd birthday to my opera singer aunt Margaret Tynes! She had a phenomenal international career as a singer in opera, jazz and theater for over fifty years. A graduate of North Carolina A&T State University (BA 1939) and Columbia University (MA 1944), she starred as Harry Belafonte’s leading lady off-Broadway in a show he produced called Sing Man, Sing! She also recorded a jazz suite called A Drum is a Woman with Duke Ellington and made several appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1961, she gained international acclaim as Salomé at the Spoleto Festival of the Two Worlds in Italy, where she lived for more than forty years. This photo was taken on September 29, 1959 by Carl Van Vechten, who shot her many times. Photo: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library