The Randolph Linsly Simpson Collection presents a vivid picture of black life and American racial attitudes from the 1850s to the 1940s. It includes about 2,500 items, chiefly historical photographs, along with slave ship manifests, military medals, and civic trophies, postcards, stereo views of daily life in the old South, and more.
Highlights of the collection include vintage albumen photographs of Marcus Garvey, W. E. B. DuBois, and Paul Lawrence Dunbar, along with nineteenth century daguerreotypes of politicians and bankers, photos of cowboys and entertainers, emancipated slave children and carnival freaks. Formal studio portraits and family snapshots, post-mortem images, scenes on the factory floor and images of African-American men in military service.
Selected images from the collection are available in the Beinecke Library’s Digital Library Online: Simpson Collection Images. I was delighted to see that they have included multiple images for each photograph. That means we get to see the lovely cases, too.
Photo Credit: Two young men with straw hats, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library