Flora Irwin, 1893
- N. Sarony, Newsboy, Photographer
- Media Type:
- Item Type:
- A black and white photograph of Flo Irwin. She is sitting with her legs crossed. Her right arm is in the air and her left arm is leaning on a table beside her.
- Flora Irwin was the older sister of actress May Irwin.
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.
- Bottom: Newsboy, FLORA IRWIN, illegible, NEW YORK
- Date of Original:
Width: 3.5 cm
Height: 12 cm
- Image Dimensions:
Image Width: 3.5cm
Image Height: 12cm
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- 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.
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