8 x 10 inches. Small blemish at upper right colored-in, two old mounts on verso, otherwise fine WITH: Autograph letter, unsigned, 6 pp, to Natalie Hammond. Item #314777
Inscribed photograph of African-American television, theater, and film pioneer, Ethel Waters (1896-1977), depicting her in one of her most famous roles, and inscribed: "To Alice with the same devotion Hagar has for Lissa and you have for Natalie, I have for you Ethel Waters." The photograph shows Waters as Hagar in the Broadway production of Mamba's Daughters (1939), a role which was adapted specifically for her by Dorothy and Dubose Hayward, from their novel of the same name; it has been cited as the first dramatic starring role for an African-American actress (ANB). On June 14, 1939, Waters became the first African-American to host a television program when NBC broadcast "The Ethel Waters Show," a one-hour variety program which included a scene from Mamba's Daughters.
The Alice of the inscription is Alice D. Laughlin (1895-1952), muralist, engraver, and designer, who co-founded, with designer Natalie Hays Hammond (1904-1985), the Stage Alliance, which produced "Six Miracle Plays," directed by and starring Martha Graham, at the Guild Theater in 1933. Hammond and Laughlin, together with Phyillis Connard, constituted a small colony of women artists in Gloucester, Massachusetts, at the Hammond compound designed by architect Eleanor Raymond.
Ethel Waters first made a name for herself as a blues singer on the club circuit; her stage career began when Irving Berlin cast her in As Thousands Cheer (1933) after hearing her perform "Stormy Weather" at the Cotton Club. In 1949 she became the second African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actress) for her role in Pinky.
Price: $2,500.00 Free International Delivery