“Say It with Pictures” Then and Now: Chicago’s African American Photographers 1890-1930


  • Image credit: Woodard’s Studio, Chorus Line, c. 1920, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
  • Peter P. Jones, Two Entertainers, Chicago History Museum, Collection of Scotty Piper, IChi-173663.
  • R.D. Jones, Joyner’s Permanent Wave Machine , c. 1930. Marjorie Stewart Joyner Collection; Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature.
  • Guishinere Studio, Beatrice Hunter neé Carrington and unidentified sitter, c.1920, McGill Family Papers, Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature.
  • Patton’s Studio, Members of the Class in Parent Education, 1938, George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives, Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature
  • Electric Studio, Charlotte Paige Carroll, Chicago History Museum, Collection of Scotty Piper, ICHi-173664

The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago will host a multi-tiered academic project led by Amy Mooney, Associate Professor of art history at Columbia College Chicago, on the under-recognized impact of African American commercial photographers working in Chicago from 1890 through the 1930s. The research project will begin with a public conversation between Amy Mooney and celebrated artist and photography historian Deborah Willis, and also includes a scholarly workshop and two sessions at which the public is invited to share photographs and other pertinent source material. It will ultimately culminate in the creation of a ground-breaking interactive, digital exhibition and publication that will impact the history of photography.  Read the press release here

“Say It with Pictures” Then and Now: Chicago’s African American Photographers 1890-1930 is part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

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Museum of Contemporary Photography

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