May 07, 2020 - Sale 2534

Sale 2534 - Lot 394

Price Realized: $ 11,875
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(SPORTS--BOXING.) Archive of photographs of the Brown Bomber, Joe Louis, collected by his manager Julian Black. 341 items (0.8 linear feet) in one box plus one large frame; moderate wear, with some curling to many of the photographs. Vp, largely undated but most probably circa 1935-45, a few through 1970s

Additional Details

A large archive of images from the heavyweight prime of the great boxer Joe Louis, most of them snapshots which have apparently never been published. Two large portraits are included: a framed 19 x 11-inch colored portrait in jacket and tie (not examined out of frame); and a 14 x 11-inch print by Carl Van Vechten with his inscription and backmark on verso, dated 15 September 1941. The collection also includes 39 other larger photographs, about 8 x 10 inches or a bit smaller, many of them press photos. One shows Louis shaking hands with George Washington Carver circa 1940 (illustrated), as unlikely a juxtaposition of two celebrities as you'll ever see. Louis appears to be concentrating on not crushing the hand of the frail and elderly scientist. Two show Louis in the front row at a baseball game, the annual Negro Leagues East-West All-Star Game. Other incongruous activities include Louis addressing the Minnesota state legislature, playing harmonica and violin, and with an oversized bust sculpture of himself by Ruth Yates. Also included are 244 smaller photographs, most about 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, many of them snapshots of Louis in the ring, with his first wife Marva, or in training. Most were taken by F.W. Tupper of Lakewood, NJ in or near Louis's training camp.
These photographs apparently come from the papers of Louis's longtime manager Julian A. Black (1897-1976) of Wisconsin and Chicago, the first great African-American boxing manager. Included are a typed note from Black's wife Russell; a certificate he received in 1945; 29 photographs spanning from his childhood to retirement; and a reproduction of a painting of his childhood home on Oshkosh, WI. Not surprisingly, he also appears in many of the photographs of Louis as well. Also included are a halftone printing block, 4 x 6 inches and mounted on wood, showing Louis and his manager An original cartoon of Louis by J. Nolen titled "The Brown Bomber," 10 x 8 inches; 8 pieces of printed ephemera; and 14 newspaper clippings.