A portrait of one of the earliest African American and Native American colleges, from an album found in a bookstore by Lincoln Kirstein
Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864–1952), credited as the first female photojournalist in the United States, was commissioned in 1899 to photograph the Hampton Institute, then a 30-year-old institution dedicated to the education of young African American and Native American men and women. What became known as the Hampton Album―comprised of 159 luxurious platinum plates that offer insight into the daily life of students, originally exhibited in 1900 at the Exposition Universelle in Paris―is Johnston’s signature work, and a touchstone for contemporary artists and historians.
The leatherbound album was discovered serendipitously by Lincoln Kirstein in a Washington, DC, bookstore during World War II, and donated to MoMA in 1965. This volume makes the album available to the public in its entirety for the first time, and features a contextualizing essay by curator Sarah Hermanson Meister and a response to the album from artist LaToya Ruby Frazier.