Aida Overton Walker theatrical photos by White Studio, NY, c. 1902-1912

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c. 1902-1904

1907

1908-1912

Identifying and dating the White Studio, NY, images, including arguments for the most likely year of creation:

  • W1
  • W2a,b — Image 2b was added to my main Aida Overton Walker page in 2016. Image W2a is a new edit of that image created on 3 March 2019.
    • 1902 – The hairstyle or wig resembles that worn in image W1, which was used on the cover of the sheet music for “I’d like to be a Real Lady,” published in 1902.
    • 1904 — The image was used on the cover of the sheet music for “Why Adam Sinned,” published in 1904.
  • W3a, b — White Studio #84 — I recently found the image that I’ve labeled W3a at the Beinecke Digital Collections of Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
  • Image W3b (source unknown) is a smaller copy of the same photograph, which I’ve had on my main Aida Overton Walker page since June 2012.
    • 1902 – The hairstyle or wig resembles that worn in image W1, which was created no later than 1902.
    • 1904 — The hairstyle or wig resembles that on the 1904 “Why Adam Sinned” sheet music cover.
  • W4
    • 1902 – The hairstyle or wig resembles that worn in image W1, which was created no later than 1902.
    • 1904 — The dress, pearl necklace, hairstyle/wig, and earrings worn by Aida each appear to be the same worn in image #3. The hairstyle seems to be the same as that in the photo used on the 1904 “Why Adam Sinned” sheet music cover. The hat/headdress appears to be the same as that worn in images W5 and W6.
  • W5 — White Studio #63 — source unknown; added to my main Aida Overton Walker page in March 2013
    • 1901 — The luxurious, ruffle adorned, white dress worn in images W5 and W6 somewhat resembles the dress worn in the illustration on the cover of the sheet music for “Miss Hannah from Savannah,” published in 1901.
    • 1902 – The hairstyle or wig resembles that worn in image W1, which was created no later than 1902.
    • 1904 — The hairstyle seems to be the same as that in the photo used on the 1904 “Why Adam Sinned” sheet music cover. Also, the elaborately decorated hat or headdress seems to be the same one worn in image 4, which is one of the three “pearl necklace” photos (images W3a, W3b, W4, and W7), all of which I’ve tentatively dated 1904 because the hairstyle in each seems to the same as that in the photo used on the 1904 “Why Adam Sinned” sheet music cover.
  • W6 — White Studio #64 — I recently found this image, which I’ve labeled W6, at the Beinecke Digital Collections of Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
    • 1901-1904 — (See image W5)
  • W7 — This image is an edit by me of an image found in the Flickr photo stream of Bluesy Daye on about 1 March 2019.
    • 1902 — The hat looks like it might be the same one worn in image W1, which was created no later than 1902, and the hairstyle/wig also resembles that worn in image W1.
    • 1904 — The hairstyle or wig appears to be the same as that in images W2-W6, which may have been created in 1904.
  • W8a,b,c,d — Images W8a,b, and d are my own edits of images recently found in Yale University’s Beinecke Digital Collections.
    • 1907 – One of the two inscribed photos in the cardboard photo holders is dated 1907, the other 1908. I’m guessing that the photo was taken around 1907. It certainly was no later than that year.
      • W8a – inscribed “To Mr. & Mrs. [Nora] Holt with love, Aida Overton Walker 1907.”
      • W8b – inscribed “Yours from Bandana Land Aida Overton Walker 1908.”
      • W8c – uninscribed edit from unknown source, posted on my main AOW page years ago
      • W8d – evidently cropped from the image used for W8a
  • W9a,b — Image 9a was recently found in the NYPL Digital Collections, where it is dated 1911. Image 9b is an edit by me of that image, made by simply removing the brown tint.
    • 1908 — In the article “Black Salome: Exoticism, Dance and Racial Myths,” by David Krasner, which appears as chapter 10 (in part III) of the book African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader, edited by Harry J. Elam, Jr., David Krasner (2001), pp. 192ff., on pp. 203-205, the author claims that what I’ve labeled image W9 shows Overton Walker in the costume that she wore in the Salome dance that she performed with Bert Williams in the 1908 musical revue Bandanna Land, and that for her more modern interpretation of the dance in 1912, she wore a loose-fitting gown, similar to those commonly worn by Isadora Duncan. If Krasner is correct in dating image W9 1908, then image W10 is also from 1908.
    • The biography of Ada [sic] Overton Walker in the online Performing Arts Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress says:
      • In 1908 Overton Walker was featured in Williams and Walker’s Bandanna Land, and her dancing continued to draw attention for its gracefulness. Soon after Bandanna Land opened, a new solo, “[T]he Dancing of Salome,” was added for her.
    • This explains why IBDb does not list that number among the opening night songs of Bandanna Land, which had a run of 89 performances on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre from 2/03/1908 to 4/18/1908.
    • The book Incidental and Dance Music in the American Theatre from 1786 to 1923 Volume 1 by John Franceschina (2017?), on p. 1907, says that the music for the Bandanna Land number “The Dancing of Salome” was composed and arranged by Joe Jordan.
    • 1911 — The date 1911 attached to image 9a at the New York Public Library Digital Collections may be incorrect.
    • 1912 — Overton Walker performed her latest interpretation of the dance of Salome at the Paradise Roof Garden of Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre in a production that opened in August 1912.
  • W10a,b,c — I’ve had these images, source unknown, in my main AOW page since 2012, though a couple of them were updated in 2017.
    • 1908 — See the explanation regarding this date for image W9.
    • 1910 — The date 1910 attached to the image at NYPL Digital Collections may be incorrect.
    • 1912 — Overton Walker performed her latest interpretation of the dance of Salome at the Paradise Roof Garden of Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre in a production that opened in August 1912.

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Selected reference

book and article

photograph and image sources

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