Kurt Eisfeldt and May Irwin, 1927


Description
Creator:
Unknown, Photographer
Media Type:
Image
Item Type:
Photographs
Description:
Black and white photograph of May Irwin and her second husband and manager, Kurt Esfeldt. This photograph was taken while the couple was on their way to their summer home in the Thousand Islands near Clayton, New York.
Notes:
May Irwin was a Canadian singer, songwriter, and comic performer who enjoyed popularity and prestige on the American stage from the late 1890s until the end of the 1910s. Key to Irwin’s popularity was her role as a “coon-shouter” and a performer of “coon songs,” deeply racist forms that emerge from minstrel musical traditions and blackface performances. Irwin’s considerable success was achieved via her reproduction of hate speech—speech which contributed to the oppression and death of many black persons in North America. For more information on Irwin’s life and her hate speech, see the following link: https://www.archeion.ca/campbell-georgina-may-1862-1938

Archives at Whitby Public Library maintains a collection of Irwin’s sheet music and associated ephemera. The sheet music in this archive is hate speech. The sheet music represents some of the most popular music of Irwin’s time, and as such constitutes important evidence of the anti-black racist and white supremacist ideologies that impacted and continue to influence Canada and America today. These ideologies are not condoned by Archives at Whitby Public Library, but the Archives has preserved such records in the hopes that, by encountering them, people will begin to think critically about and challenge historical and current racism.
Date of Original:
14 May 1927
Dimensions:
Width: 8 in
Height: 10 in
Subject(s):
Personal Name(s):
Irwin, May
Local identifier:
34-000-021
Collection:
May Irwin Collection
Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 44.33338 Longitude: -75.99968
Creative Commons licence:
pd [more details]
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Recommended Citation:
Kurt Eisfeldt and May Irwin, 1927, unknown photographer. Whitby Archives 34-000-021.
Reproduction Notes:
Scanned from photographic print.
Contact
Whitby Public Library
Email
WWW address
Agency street/mail address

405 Dundas Street West, Whitby, Ontario L1N 6A1

For inquires about any newspaper content please contact askreference@whitbylibrary.ca

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Kurt Eisfeldt and May Irwin, 1927


Black and white photograph of May Irwin and her second husband and manager, Kurt Esfeldt. This photograph was taken while the couple was on their way to their summer home in the Thousand Islands near Clayton, New York.