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Karl Bissinger

American photographer and peace activist Karl Bissinger (1914—2008) is best known for contributions to fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Flair, and his portraits of the leading personalities of the post-World War II art world, which included actors, authors, dancers, and artists. A committed pacifist during World War II, Bissinger’s activism grew through his involvement with the Greenwich Village Peace Center and antiwar, draft counseling, and amnesty work for the War Resisters League in the 1960s.

Photographs of Truman Capote, 1947
Gift of David Fechheimer

Contact sheets of Bissinger’s iconic portraits of a young Truman Capote.

Photographs of Carson McCullers, circa 1950
Gift of David Fechheimer

Contact sheets of Bissinger’s portraits of Carson McCullers taken in New York City. Both the McCullers and the Capote portraits appeared in Bissinger’s The Luminous Years: Portraits at Mid–Century (2003), which reproduced–or printed for the first time–many of his portraits of artists, actors, musicians, dancers, and other artists in the cultural milieu of post–World War II United States and Europe.

War Resisters League

Workshop in Nonviolence (WIN) Magazine. Special Anniversary Issue. New York, July 26, 1973
Gift of David Fechheimer

Shown here is a special anniversary issue celebrating fifty years of the War Resisters League (WRL), for which Bissinger worked and volunteered after his official retirement.

Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, editors

New York Dada. New York, April 1921
Gift of William Homer

This short–lived journal appeared at the end of the New York Dada movement. French avant–garde artist Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) had attempted to launch several other Dadaist periodicals, including The Blind Man and Rongwrong. Duchamp petitioned French–Romanian poet and one of the founders of the Dada movement Tristan Tzara (1896–1963) for permission to use the word “Dada” in the work’s title; Tzara’s response is included in the text. Poems by American painter and poet Marsden Hartley (1877–1943) and German avant-garde poet and performance artist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874–1927) also appear in this issue. Illustrations include photographs by American photographers Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) and Man Ray (1890–1976) and a cartoon by American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883–1970). The cover image is a reproduction of a readymade by Duchamp: a bottle of Belle Haleine perfume with its label replaced by a Man Ray photograph of Duchamp in drag as his female alter ego Rose Sélavy.

Marcel Duchamp, Beatrice Wood, and Henri–Pierre Roché, editors

The Blind Man No. 2. New York, May 1917
Gift of William Homer

Another of Duchamp’s short–lived Dadaist journals, this issue of The Blind Man features a piece discussing his controversial readymade piece submitted to and subsequently rejected by The Society of Independent Artists. Duchamp used the pseudonym “R. Mutt” in order that his name not be recognized and his work immediately accepted by the Society, of which he was a member of the Board. “The Fountain” is considered one of the most significant artworks of the twentieth century. Taking the concept of readymade art to the extreme, “The Fountain” indicts notions of high and low art and challenges the valuation attributed to the creation process. Also included in this issue of The Blind Man are poems by Mina Loy, Robert Carlton Brown, and Francis Picabia.


Issue no. 42. Munich, 1903
Gift of William Homer

Founded by German writer Georg Hirth (1841–1916), Jugend was instrumental in spreading the influence of art nouveau. It is the source of the term Jugendstil, the German version of art nouveau. “Jugend” means “youth” in German.

Roger Yarborough

“Ramjet,” 1970. Oil on board
Gift of Peter Howard

African American artist Roger Yarborough joined the Black Panther Party in 1968. Along with fellow Black Panthers D.J. Graphenreid, Woody Johnson, and Chapelle Lettman, he attended the California School of Arts and Crafts in 1969 where he was enrolled in a semester–long Black Studies Fine Arts program. This early self-portrait of Yarborough is, according to the verso of the work, “best viewed in a black light.” Yarborough’s inscription reads:
This painting is better as is most of my work when viewed in a ‘black light’ lighting situation. My work stands out best in the dark or the blackness of night! Like the panther I am ivisible [sic] in darkness but my spirit is luminess [sic]. Notice my use of 3 colores [sic] : red, green, black. Blood, land, people.

Self portrait of Roger Yarborough
Black Panther Party

All power to the people!
Dare to struggle!
Dare to win!

Roger Yarborough

Black panther wood statuette, 1973
Gift of Peter Howard

Black panther wood statue carved by Black Panther artist Roger Yarborough. Inscription on bottom of base written in pen reads: “Roger Yarborough / Made 1973.”

African head on collaged plinth. Wood statuette, undated
Gift of Peter Howard

African head on collaged plinth carved by Black Panther artist Roger Yarborough. The artist’s name is carved into the bottom of the plinth.

Christopher Durang

Durang/Durang playscript, 1994
Gift of Matthew Weseley

Award–winning American playwright Christopher Durang (b. 1949) is known for his absurdist dark comedies that often explore themes of child abuse, gender and sexuality, and religion. Shown here is an annotated script of Durang/Durang, a series of one-act comedies presented as a “mash–up” of theatrical and artistic styles, including those of Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard, and Edward Gorey. “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls” is a parody of Williams’s The Glass Menagerie.

Séamas Cain

Medieval Ireland: A Performance–Work. Duluth, Minnesota: Blackthorn Theater, 1986.
Gift of Mary Cain

Performance piece by Irish–American poet Séamas Cain which was prepared during August and September 1975 and performed at the Duluth Art Institute in January 1976. Signed by the author.

Barrie Stavis

American playwright Barrie Stavis (1906–2007) is best known for his plays portraying historic figures whose controversial or radical ideas and actions present a challenge to contemporary authority. His subjects include the Renaissance scientist Galileo, abolitionist John Brown, and labor leader Joe Hill. During the 1930s, Stavis traveled throughout Europe working as a journalist. He spent considerable time in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.

Letter to Stanley Weintraub. November 23, 1976
Gift of Stanley Weintraub

In this letter to his friend American literary scholar Stanley Weintraub, Stavis discusses bending historical truth in order to make for a more exciting work of fiction.

Arthur Miller

Notebook, 1941-1942
Gift of the estate of Barrie Stavis

This notebook comprises handwritten notes taken by playwright Arthur Miller dating from December 1941 through the early part of 1942. Although the notebook is only partially filled, it contains Miller’s thoughts on capitalism and the current theater scene on Broadway. Most of the content contains dialogue notes for several unidentified pieces.

Spanish Civil War propaganda pamphlets, circa 1937–1940
Gift of the estate of Barrie Stavis

Stavis collected propaganda from a variety of Loyalist factions. Shown here are “Little Red Riding Hood,” in which laborers band together to defeat the Big Bad Wolf representing fascism; “Ningun Hogar sin Evacuados,” a pamphlet on evacuees from Madrid, illustrated with photographs of the wounded and displaced; “Spain and Peace” by Howard Fast, which features cover art by Pablo Picasso created especially for the pamphlet; and “Heroic Spain” by French communist leader André Marty.

Barrie Stavis

Lamp at Midnight playscript and letter to Bernard F. Dukore, November 2, 1989
Gift of Bernard F. Dukore

This handwritten letter from Stavis to University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Bernard Dukore concerns recent Eastern European productions of his play Lamp at Midnight. Also included is the script of the play which Stavis requested Dukore read.

My People Are My Home promotional brochures, 1976
Gift of Neala Schleuning

Material promoting a 1976 documentary film by the Twin Cities Women’s Film Collective about the life and work of American author Meridel Le Sueur (1900–1996). The film is narrated by Le Sueur from a script of her own poetry and prose and also includes some brief interviews. Le Sueur was a writer of the political left who published in magazines and journals such as American Mercury, Anvil, Dial, New Masses, New Republic, Scribner’s, Story, and Yale Review. Her lengthy career also included short stories, poetry and a novel. Le Sueur published consistently until 1947 when she was blacklisted by the House Committee on Un–American Activities.

Camera–ready copy, Cultural Democracy 36 (Summer 1988)
Gift of Neala Schleuning

Camera–ready copy of the cover art for the summer 1988 issue of the journal Cultural Democracy featuring Le Sueur. The rise of radicalism in the 1960s and the Women’s movement in the 1970s brought revitalized attention to Le Sueur’s work, and she continued producing new writing and publishing into her nineties.

Howard Pyle

Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates: Fiction, Fact & Fancy Concerning the Buccaneers & Marooners of the Spanish Main. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921.
Gift of Kenneth C. Haas

Wilmington native Howard Pyle was a prolific illustrator, painter and author, as well as a formal art teacher. He has been called “the father of American illustration” and his illustrations were noted for the manner in which they recreated varied historic periods in vivid detail. Pyle’s illustrations had a particular emphasis on King Arthur and the Middle Ages, American colonial stories, and adventure stories. His Book of Pirates was a posthumous compilation of his pirate stories and illustrations, which were among his most popular. Many of the originals of these paintings reside in the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington.

291, edited by Alfred Stieglitz.

Issue no. 7–8. New York, September–October 1915
Gift of William Homer

Founded and managed by American photographer Alfred Steiglitz (1864–1946), Gallery 291 was instrumental in not only establishing photography as an acknowledged and respected art form, but it was also responsible for introducing many of Europe’s most avant–garde artists to the United States in the early twentieth century, including Paul Cezanne, Auguste Rodin, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. After the 1913 Armory Show, the watershed event in American art history that introduced modern art to the United States, Stieglitz, artist Marius de Zayas (1880–1961), art collector and poet Agnes Ernest Meyer, and photographer Paul Haviland (1880–1950) initially produced 291 to attract attention to Stieglitz’s gallery. The magazine also became a work of art in its own right and became a mouthpiece for the modernist philosophy of art and photography. 291 published artwork, poetry, and essays by artists such as French artist Francis Picabia (1879–1953), American photographer and painter Edward Steichen (1879–1973), and French writer Guillaume Apollinaire (1880–1918). 291 ceased after twelve issues.

Kim Swados

Set designs, The Bird, the Bear and the Actress, 1966
Gift of Richard Hoffman

The Bird, the Bear and the Actress by John Glennon dramatizes the later life of designer Edward Gordon Craig. It was one of the two plays performed during the inaugural season of The O’Neill Theater in Waterford, Connecticut.

Yousuf Karsh

Portrait of Tennessee Williams, undated
Gift of Virginia Spencer Carr

Print of Karsh’s 1956 portrait of American playwright Tennessee Williams (1911–1983) signed by Williams.

Sara Driver

You Are Not I film poster, 1980
Gift of Sara Driver

American independent filmmaker Sara Driver made her directorial debut in 1980 with the short film co–written with Jim Jarmusch You Are Not I, based on Paul Bowles’s 1948 short story of the same name. The copy of the finished film Driver had sent to Bowles in 1983 was recently rediscovered in 2008 by University of Delaware librarian Francis Poole and Paul Bowles’s longtime assistant and heir Abdelouahad Boulaich from among the remaining effects of Bowles’s still in Boulaich’s possession.

Brian Coffey

“The Wayfarer,” June 23, 1988. Monoprint.
Gift of John Coffey.

Brian Coffey

“The Haunted,” 1988. Monoprint.
Gift of John Coffey.

Emma Amos

“Horizons,” undated.
Gift of Richard Hoffman

Artist’s proof. Signed by Amos.

Berenice Abbott

Portrait of James Joyce
Gift of Richard Hoffman

Print of Abbott’s iconic 1928 studio portrait of Irish author James Joyce (1882–1941). Signed by Abbott.

William S. Burroughs

Untitled watercolor, 1995
Gift of Virginia Spencer Carr

Original watercolor by American writer William S. Burroughs. Inscribed to American literary scholar and biographer Virginia Spencer Carr: “To Virginia Carr: Oct. 14, 1995 / William S. Burroughs.” The work is also initialed by Burroughs.

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