James Van Der Zee

“James (August Joseph) Van Der Zee: (1886-1983) U.S. photographer. Born in Lenox, Massachusetts, he moved in 1906 with his family to Harlem in New York City. In 1915 he moved to Newark, New Jersey, to take a job in a portrait studio. He soon returned to Harlem to set up his own studio, and the portraits he took from 1918 to 1945 chronicled the Harlem Renaissance; among his many renowned subjects were Countee Cullen, Bill Robinson, and Marcus Garvey. After World War II his fortunes declined along with Harlem’s, until the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited his photographs in 1969.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

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