[Various locations, mostly in and around Erie, Pa. ca. early 1950s and after]. pp., with approximately 200 photographs of varying sizes pasted in or mounted on corners, plus twelve calling cards; three 8 x 10-inch promotional photographs (loosely laid in); and a photograph in a souvenir mount pasted to the inside rear cover. Also with a few pasted-in ephemera. Oblong quarto. Contemporary red leatherette photograph album, string bound. Some rubbing, edge worn, front cover reattached with clear tape. Some leaves detached, chipping to fore- edge of album leaves. Overall good. Item #WRCAM55449
A remarkable vernacular photograph album documenting African-American life in Pennsylvania in the mid-20th century. The album contains a number of photographs of Eugene William "The Terrible" Toran, a prominent mid-century lightweight boxer from Erie, Pennsylvania. Photos of Toran emanate from both inside and outside the ring, with several shots identifying him as "Sling Shot." The inside front cover shows an image of Toran hitting a heavy bag and is captioned beneath in large white letters, "Kid Gene in Action." After serving in the Korean War, Toran's boxing career ran from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, after which he retired and became a businessman and boxing trainer in Erie. Toran passed away in December, 2019 in Erie. The present album appears to have belonged to Toran, and was compiled by him or possibly by a spouse or family member. A great many of the photographs of people are identified around the margin in blue ballpoint pen, either by name or in some cases by nickname. The images show African-American men, women, and children in various social situations, sometimes indoors, sometimes on the streets of Erie, and appear to be Toran's friends from around the neighborhood. One image shows a man named "Frank" across the street from Manendo's Market at 21st and Wayne Street; two other photographs show African- American young men and women in front of the same market. Other items present here include a clipped autograph of jazz saxophonist Arnett Cobb dated December 3, 1955; a photo postcard of noted Cleveland Indians and Negro League baseball player, Luke Easter (along with a couple of images from a Cleveland game); a glossy 8 x 10 inscribed by Lula Reed to "Ann;" and a printed announcement for an event by the Youth Council of the NAACP called "King and Queen for a Day" at the YMCA on Friday, June 22, 1951. A wonderful record of one African-American man's boxing life and circle of friends and family in mid-century Erie, Pennsylvania.