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Guide to the Wendel White Photographs, 2009-2015

Summary

Wendel White's portfolio "Manifest" contains images of photo-based representations of objects, documents, photographs, and books made in various public and private collections throughout the U.S. These repositories encompass elements of material culture such as diaries, slave collars, human hair, a drum, souvenirs, and other objects, some with great significance and others simply quotidian representations of daily life, from the history of the African American community. The portfolio consists of thirty 24"x30" color inkjet prints created from a 4"x5" film-based camera. White's "Manifest" is the 2015 winner of the Archive of Documentary Arts Collection Award for Documentarians of Color.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11065
Title
Wendel White photographs
Date
2009-2015
Extent
3.0 Linear Feet, 1 flat box
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Wendel White's series Manifest was the winner of the 2015 Archive of Documentary Arts Award for Documentarians of Color. The ADA Collection Awards were established to diversify the ADA’s collection in order to better reflect the multitude of viewpoints and communities from which work is being made in the documentary arts today.

White included the following abstract about his work:

The Manifest portfolio images are photo-based representations of objects, documents, photographs, and books made in various public and private collections throughout the U.S. These repositories encompass elements of material culture such as diaries, slave collars, human hair, a drum, souvenirs, and other objects, some with great significance and others simply quotidian representations of daily life, from the history of the African American community.

This project (Manifest) is an effort to seek out the cultural artifacts of the American concept and representation of race. The histories of slavery, abolition, segregation, the U.S. Civil War, and the Civil Rights Era are a few of the narratives that emerge in these photographs.

I am increasingly interested in the residual power of the past to inhabit these material remains. The ability of objects to transcend lives, centuries, and millennia, suggests a remarkable mechanism for folding time, bringing the past and the present into a shared space that is uniquely suited to artistic exploration. While the artifacts are remarkable as visual evidence of lives and events, I also intend the viewer to consider this informal reliquary as a survey of the impulse and motivation to preserve history and memory.

Several projects that have occupied my attention during the past two decades are, in retrospect, part of a broader effort to seek out the ghosts that continue to haunt the remnants of the past. I am drawn to the stories that dwell within these objects.

The photographs are made with a 4”x5”, film-based camera. The prints are pigment-based inkjet on paper. A recent book based on this work was published by Chroma (California Institute of Integral Studies) as Manifest and is available through the Chroma website.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Prints are sleeved in protective mylar and are housed unfoldered in an archival acid-free flat box. Captions are included on the back of each print. Please exercise caution when using this collection as the digital color printing process may be easily scratched.

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Wendel White Photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Manifest, 2009-2015

3.0 Linear Feet, 1 flat box; 30 prints.

White's images often include two dates. The first documents the date the photograph was taken. The second documents the date the print was created.

Hair, Frederick Douglass, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester, New York, 2009/2015
Box 1
First Book Purchased After Slavery, Frederick Douglass, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester, New York, 2009/2015
Box 1
Zora Neale Hurston Sketch Book, Smathers Library Special Collections, University of Florida, Gainesville, 2012/2015
Box 1
Spoon, Harriet Tubman Home, Auburn, New York, 2009/2015
Box 1
Coin, Harriet Tubman Home, Auburn, New York, 2009/2015
Box 1
Rev. and Mrs. Loguen, Onondaga Historical Association, Syracuse, New York, 2009/2015
Box 1
Dr. Cliford Hancock Sr., Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
Day is Dawn, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
FBI Files, Malcolm X, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
Afro-American Sentinel, 1899. Great Plans Black History Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
Watch, Larkin Franklin Sr., Eatonville Historic Preservation, Eatonville, Florida, 2012/2015
Box 1
Tintype, Fenton History Center, Jamestown, New York, 2009/2015
Box 1
Sybil Flippin, Glassplate Negative, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
Eva Noles Scrapbook, University Archives, State University of New York at Buffalo, 2009/2015
Box 1
Dr. Johnson Journal, 1857, University Archives, State University of New York at Buffalo, 2009/2015
Box 1
Leather Jump Rope, Great Plains Black History Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
Will Brown Lynching, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
Frederick Douglas Hair, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
Buxton Association Picnic (Olin), State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa, 2011/2015
Box 1
Graduation Ring, Stuhr Museum of Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
Diary, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collection, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, New York, 2009/2015
Box 1
Lunch Box, Larkin Franklin Sr., Eatonville Historic Preservation, Eatonville, Florida, 2012/2015
Box 1
Drum, Dan Desdunes Band, Great Plains Black History Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, 2011/2015
Box 1
Women’s Hood, New Jersey WKKK, Unidentified Southern New Jersey Cultural Organization, 2015
Box 1
Hand Drawn Map of Eatonville, Olin Library Archives, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, 2012/2015
Box 1
Confederate Shell, Fort Sumter 1861, Alexander Library Special Collections, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2014/2015
Box 1
Slave Collar, Alexander Library Special Collections, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2014/2015
Box 1
Little Black Sambo, Paul W. Schopp, Riverton, New Jersey, 2014/2015
Box 1
Loan Receipt, Smathers Library Special Collections, University of Florida, Gainesville, 2012/2015
Box 1
Decorative Coin Bank, Cape My County Museum, Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey, 2015
Box 1
 

Historical Note

Wendel A. White was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He was awarded a BFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York and an MFA in photography from the University of Texas at Austin. White is currently Distinguished Professor of Art at Stockton University in New Jersey.

He has received various awards and fellowships including a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in photography, three artist fellowships from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, a photography grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and a photography fellowship from En Foco Inc.

His work is represented in museum, library, corporate, and private collections. White's work is included in numerous publications including two books about his work, Manifest (published in 2014 by Chroma) and Small Towns, Black Lives (published in 2003 by the Noyes Museum of Art).

White has served on the board of directors for the Society for Photographic Education, the Atlantic City Historical Museum, New Jersey Black Culture and Heritage Foundation, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The Wendel White Photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Beth Weiss and Meghan Lyon, Sept. 2015.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2015-0118.