Square 16mo. (93 x 100 mm). With 15 original b/w photographs (3.25" x 3.25") in plastic sleeves. Contemporary blue leatherette photo album (by V.P.D. Album-ette No. A-33), spiral bound. Very good. Item #3860
A PRECIOUS, FLEETING MOMENT OF RELIEF FROM AMERICAN RACISM IN THE 1960s, DOCUMENTING THE UNBRIDLED JOY OF A COMPLETELY ORDINARY BIRTHDAY PARTY OF AN 11-YEAR OLD AFRICAN-AMERICAN GIRL AND HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
All the revelers in the present album are African-American. Striking is the mirth expressed inside grandma's well-appointed home, and yet our hearts are heavy knowing that in the outside world these children will face a lifetime of overt and covert hostility from white Americans.
Judging from the number of candles on her cake, our birthday-girl (who is wearing a solid white dress) has just turned eleven. In three photographs she is surrounding by laughing children, beaming while receiving "fake-spankings" administered by grown-ups wielding a dishwashing brush; one onlooker (presumably her sister) has her arms crossed and reviews the scene with smug satisfaction. Altogether there are nine children at the party, all of whom are wearing adorable cone-hats. There are three women, plus grandma. There are no men.
We see that the family has prepared a big spread of cake, punch and presents. In two photos the children are dancing in the living room while a grown-up plays the family piano; in the same room the children look at the camera while a boy occupies himself on the floor with a (new?) board game; five photos show the birthday-girl receiving presents (one of the boys does not seem happy about this -- presumably he is her brother).
There is the obligatory photo of the birthday-girl blowing out the candles on her cake; now there are eleven. How many will there be?
Now the children are playing a game in the backyard which is well maintained; strangely the photographer cropped out all but 2 1/2 children and instead focused the camera on a spindly tree with no leaves.
And finally, we see grandma in the kitchen washing dishes, the cupboards are made of wood paneling, the countertops Formica. Certainly this is her house: note the wall-hangings and the furniture and the curtains. This is what our grandma's house looked like also.
We will likely regret selling this little photo-album at any price. MUST BE SEEN TO BE FULLY APPRECIATED.