Friday, May 6, 2011

Early 19th-Century Ypsi Photo Censorship

This is a 1917 photo of D. L. Quirk, son of the well-known bank founder. Father and son both had large mansions, still standing, on North Huron St. Daniel Jr. was well-known for his love of the theater and the performing world. He often had theater performers or circus performers as guests in his home. Here he is participating in "Alley Festa," a onetime downtown street festival.

Daniel Jr. is seen here in blackface, in line with the longtime (and, thankfully, onetime) popularity of minstrel-type performers. Minstrel shows were quite popular in Ypsi a century ago, as elsewhere. I've read accounts of minstrel shows at the Normal school, or performed by local Masons/other fraternal groups, or performed by traveling troupes and shown in venues on Michigan Avenue.

This picture is interesting in that it shows some serious tampering done by the photographer. It took me a while to see it. Can you spot it? Why do you think it was done?


Joe said...

Is it something to do with his pants below his belt line? It look odd. I can't figure out what that is.

Dusty D said...

Joe: Hmm, I don't see what you're referring to. The thing I was thinking about is the apparent excision of the figures of the statues. They appear to have been cut out, leaving a blank white space.