May 21, 2002 Swann Fellow's Public Lecture Will Focus on Transformations in Representations of African Americans

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-9115

Swann Foundation Fellow Martha J. Nadell will give a public lecture, "Stock Figures and Historical Fictions: Transformations in Race and Representation in 19th Century America," on Wednesday, May 29, 2002, at noon, in Dining Room A, on the 6th floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E. Her illustrated presentation is based on her research project on popular 19th century American imagery of the "Old Negro," which has been supported by her fellowship from the Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon. The Library administers the Swann Foundation.

In her lecture, Ms. Nadell will explore images of the "Old Negro" in popular visual and literary culture of the early post bellum era and the later transformation of such imagery. She will focus on 19th century representations of blackness, especially cartoons and caricatures published as illustrations in books and magazines. Her recent research project, "The Old Negro": Race and Representation in Post Bellum America, is intended to form the beginning of the book that will be based on her dissertation, which examines connections between the visual arts and literature by and about African Americans from the 1920s-1950s. Her book is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.

Martha Nadell's talk will encompass drawings and prints by illustrators and cartoonists such as Edward W. Kemble (1861-1933), Frederic Dorr Steele (1873-1944), William Ludwell Sheppard (1833-1912), Arthur Burdett Frost (1851-1928), Laurence Foy (fl. 1920-30), Garrett Whyte (1915-), Al Frueh (1880-1968), and William D. Chase (1911-). In addition, she will include popular prints such as hand colored lithographs published by Currier & Ives, Endicott & Swett, King & Baird, and other lithography firms.

Ms. Nadell completed her Ph.D. in American Civilization at Harvard University. Her dissertation is titled "'Nor Can I Reduce This Experience to a Medium': Art, Literature and Race in America, 1920s-1950s." She received her bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, in Afro-American Studies at Harvard College. She is currently a lecturer in History and Literature of America and Afro-American Studies at Harvard University.

The Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon and the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress are co-sponsoring this public program on cartoon drawings and prints relating to race and representation. This presentation is part of the Swann Foundation's continuing activities to support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world. The Swann Foundation is guided by an advisory board composed of scholars, collectors, cartoonists, and Library of Congress staff members. It awards one fellowship annually (with a stipend of $15,000) to assist scholarly research and writing projects in the field of caricature and cartoon. Applications for the academic year 2003-2004 are due on February 14, 2003.

More information about the upcoming lecture and fellowship is available through the Swann Foundation's Web site:, by e-mailing, or by calling Martha Kennedy in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress at (202) 707-9115.


PR 02-074
ISSN 0731-3527