May Irwin, c.1900


Description
Creator:
Page from an unidentified book or magazine of American Theatrical Personalities, Photographer
Media Type:
Image
Item Type:
Photographs
Description:
A black and white portrait of May Irwin. This image was printed in a book or magazine of American Theatrical Personalities. Exact title and source are unknown.
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:
c.1900
Dimensions:
Width: 10 cm
Height: 12 cm
Image Dimensions:
Image Width: 10cm
Image Height: 12cm
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
34-000-001
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.88342 Longitude: -78.93287
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to Canadian copyright law. No restrictions on use.
Reproduction Notes:
Scanned from a copy negative.
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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May Irwin, c.1900


A black and white portrait of May Irwin. This image was printed in a book or magazine of American Theatrical Personalities. Exact title and source are unknown.