May Irwin, c.1907


Description
Creator:
Rotograph Company, Illustrator
Media Type:
Image
Item Type:
Postcards
Description:
A black and white full body portrait of May Irwin. She is wearing a long lacy dress. She is standing tall and her left hand is resting on a chair. Her right hand is behind her back.
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.
Inscriptions:
Bottom: illegible, 1577
Date of Original:
c.1907
Dimensions:
Width: 3.5 cm
Height: 12 cm
Image Dimensions:
Image Width: 3.5cm
Image Height: 12cm
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
34-000-007
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.88342 Longitude: -78.93287
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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.1907


A black and white full body portrait of May Irwin. She is wearing a long lacy dress. She is standing tall and her left hand is resting on a chair. Her right hand is behind her back.