Talladega, Al. French, [ca. 1905]. Silver gelatin photograph, 7 3/4 x 9 1/2 inches, on 10 x 12-inch mount. Moderate chipping to mount, small chip at upper right corner re-attached with tape on verso, tiny tear to photograph at upper right corner. Overall very good condition. Item #WRCAM56382
A scarce image of a group of African-American women college students at Talladega College in Alabama around 1905, produced by a Talladega photographer. The small group of young women lounge on a lawn while wearing elegant skirts and blouses, and with their hair in fashionable Edwardian coifs. School buildings and trees can be seen in the background. Talladega College was founded in 1867, and is still Alabama's oldest private historically black college or university. Each student in the present photograph is identified on the verso in pencil by name and hometown. The photograph is inscribed to "To Cousin Jack From Pearl" alongside a list of the women depicted, reading as follows: "Sadie Brown - Montgomery, Ala. Helen Headin - Birmingham, Ala. [Class of 1906] Darlene Walker - Chicago, Ill. Augusta Bibb - Uniontown, Ala. [Class of 1905] Missouri Duncan - Montgomery, Ala. [Class of 1910] Mabel Gill - Selma, Ala. [Class of 1908] Etta Smyly - Montgomery, Ala. [Class of 1905] Ida Hamilton - Montgomery, Ala. Pearl Crawford - Tuscaloosa, Ala." Given the nature of the gift inscription, the photograph was most likely given to Cousin Jack by Pearl Crawford, one of the students in the photograph. All of the subjects in the photograph are mentioned in the CATALOGUE OF THE OFFICERS AND STUDENTS OF TALLADEGA COLLEGE...FOR THE SCHOLASTIC YEAR 1904-05 (Atlanta, 1905), and their graduation years are included above in brackets. A striking original photograph of African- American female students at Talladega College from a Talladega photography studio, evidenced by the small stamp at bottom of the mount, which reads, "French Talladega Ala."