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James A. Morris

Smithsonian American Art Museum

James A. Suydam, New York, N.Y. letter to James Stillman

Archives of American Art
Letter : 2 p. : handwritten ; 18 x 11 cm.

James Penney on a roof with a painting

Archives of American Art
1 photographic print : sepia Only Penney's arm is visible.
Handwritten note on verso, partially illegible: J[...]; p[...] of unemployed, 1932, New York City.

Gen'l James A. Garfield, Gen'l Chester A. Arthur

National Museum of American History

James A. Farley and Jack Dempsey

National Museum of American History

James A. Farley [sculpture] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Murtha, Edwin, "Paul Manship," New York: MacMillan Co., 1957, no. 427, fig. 32.

Black-and-white study print (8x10).

Orig. negative: 8x10, Safety, BW.

copy 1 negative: 8x10, Safety, BW.

James A. Farley [sculpture] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Murtha, Edwin, "Paul Manship," New York: MacMillan Co., 1957, no. 427, fig. 32.

Black-and-white study print (8x10).

Orig. negative: 8x10, Safety, BW.

James A. Farley [sculpture] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Murtha, Edwin, "Paul Manship," New York: MacMillan Co., 1957, no. 427, fig. 32.

Black-and-white study print (8x10).

Orig. negative: 8x10, Safety, BW.

James Kent

National Portrait Gallery
Until James Kent, retired chancellor of New York, began publication of his Commentaries on American Law in 1826, no one had written about the American legal system as a whole. Kent's landmark four volumes, finished in 1830 (close to the time he underwent the "wonderful irksome" task of sitting for his portrait), examined international law, American constitutional law, the sources of state law, and the law of personal rights and property.

A staunch conservative who deplored expanding suffrage beyond property owners, Kent was a champion of individual rights. In response to a temperance committee plea that he set an example by signing an abstinence pledge, he declared: "I never have been drunk, and, by the blessing of God, I never will get drunk, but I have a constitutional privilege to get drunk, and that privilege I will not sign away."

James Brown

National Portrait Gallery
James Brown invented funk and set the standard for dynamic live performance in American music. Inspired by preachers in the black church, Brown started out singing in gospel quartets. As the "Godfather of Soul," he transmuted gospel into secular music centered in the emotional conduit of the soul singer. As "the hardest working man in show business," Brown turned ballads into virtuosic theatrical turns—falling hard on his knees, busting into splits and half spins, popping the mike to the floor and back, each move ratcheting up the song’s emotional intensity. As "Soul Brother No. 1," Brown acted as a cultural leader, writing hit songs calling for racial pride. With funk, Brown created a stripped-down, rhythmically driven aesthetic that has influenced world music from reggae to Afrobeat. Much of popular music since the 1960s comes through James Brown’s moves and grooves. Hip-hop is unimaginable without him.

James Joyce

National Museum of American History
Unmounted silver print by Berenice Abbott, "James Joyce." Portrait of James Joyce, well-known twentieth century Irish novelist. Photograph depicts male figure seated in armchair, one hand resting on his lap while the arm in the lower right of the photograph is leaning on the arm of the chair. Man is wearing a jacket and tie, with two rings on the hand in the bottom right and a cane in the bottom left of the photograph. Portrait is ¾ view, with subject looking to the right and slightly up; head in top center of photograph. Verso: Stamp, "Photograph, Berenice Abbott, Maine 04406;" "26" in bottom left. During the 1920s, Berenice Abbott was one of the premier portrait photographers of Paris, her only competitor was the equally well-known Dada Surrealist Man Ray who had served as her mentor and employer before she launched her own career. An American expatriate, Abbott enjoyed the company of some of the great twentieth century writers and artists, photographing individuals such as Jean Cocteau, Peggy Guggenheim and James Joyce. One of the critical elements of Abbott’s portraiture was a desire to neither enhance nor interfere with the sitter. She instead wished to allow the personality of her subject to dictate the form of the photograph, and would often sit with her clients for several hours before she even began to photograph them. This straight-forward approach to photography characterized Abbott’s work for the duration of her career. Thematically and technically, Abbott’s work can be most closely linked to documentary photographer Eugène Atget (COLL.PHOTOS.000016), who photographed Paris during the early 1900s. Abbott bought a number of his prints the first time she saw them, and even asked him to set some aside that she planned to purchase when she had enough money. After his death in 1927, Abbott took it upon herself to publicize Atget’s work to garner the recognition it deserved. It was partly for this reason she returned to the United States in 1928, hoping to find an American publisher to produce an English-language survey of Atget’s work. Amazed upon her arrival to see the changes New York had undergone during her stay in Paris, and eager to photograph the emerging new metropolis, Abbott decided to pack up her lucrative Parisian portrait business and move back to New York. The status and prestige she enjoyed in Paris, however, did not carry over to New York. Abbott did not fit in easily with her contemporaries. She was both a woman in a male-dominated field and a documentary photographer in the midst of an American photographic world firmly rooted in Pictorialism. Abbott recalls disliking the work of both photographer Alfred Stieglitz and his then protégé Paul Strand when she first visited their exhibitions in New York. Stieglitz, along with contemporaries such as Ansel Adams and Edward Steichen, tended to romanticize the American landscape and effectively dismissed Abbott’s straight photography as she saw it. Not only was Atget’s work rejected by the Pictorialists, but a series of critical comments she made towards Stieglitz and Pictorialism cost Abbott her professional career as a photographer. Afterwards, she was unable to secure space at galleries, have her work shown at museums or continue the working relationships she had forged with a number of magazine publications. In 1935, the Federal Art Project outfitted Abbott with equipment and a staff to complete her project to photograph New York City. The benefit of a personal staff and the freedom to determine her own subject matter was unique among federally funded artists working at that time. The resulting series of photographs, which she titled Changing New York, represent some of Abbott’s best-known work. Her photographs of New York remain one of the most important twentieth century pictorial records of New York City. Abbott went on to produce a series of photographs for varied topics, including scientific textbooks and American suburbs. When the equipment was insufficient to meet her photographic needs, as in the case of her series of science photographs, she invented the tools she needed to achieve the desired effect. In the course of doing so, Abbott patented a number of useful photographic aids throughout her career including an 8x10 patent camera (patent #2869556) and a photographer’s jacket. Abbott also spent twenty years teaching photography classes at the New School for Social Research alongside such greats as composer Aaron Copland and writer W.E.B. DuBois. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Abbott’s career was the printing of Eugène Atget’s photographs, one of the few instances in which one well-known photographer printed a large number of negatives made by another well-known photographer. The struggle to get Atget’s photographs the recognition they deserved was similar to Abbott’s efforts to chart her own path by bringing documentary photography to the fore in a Pictorialist dominated America. Though she experienced varying levels of rejection and trials in both efforts, her perseverance placed her in the position she now holds as one of the great photographers of the twentieth century. The Bernice Abbott collection consists of sixteen silver prints. The photographs represent a range of work Abbott produced during her lifetime, including her early portraiture work in Paris, her Changing New York series, Physics and Route 1, U.S.A. series.

James Dean

National Portrait Gallery
James Dean was the first American teenager realistically captured by Hollywood, and he stamped adolescence with a half-squinting look of tormented yearning and tentative tenderness. Beautiful and bisexual, Dean remains "the poet of what it’s like to be young, lost, or alone," one biographer wrote. In his short, meteoric career, he combined small-town midwestern innocence (Indiana childhood, East of Eden [1955]) with mythic Americana (as Jett Rink in Giant [1956]), and urban bohemia (still photos in New York City) with the automotive escapism of suburban high school kids (Rebel Without a Cause [1955]). His appeal came from being "able to expose the emotion on-screen that he couldn’t in real life," one close friend said. Dean’s persona is still often invoked by young American actors, and his life is now myth, as if captured by the formulaic phrase, "live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse." As one writer claimed about Dean’s cool, "he made adolescent defiance heroic."

James Siena

National Portrait Gallery
Born Oceanside, California

The work of New York painter James Siena involves often intricate abstract patterns that are reminiscent of a quilt or latticework. A critic once noted that when he first saw some of Siena's work, he thought that it was not much more than doodling; yet on closer examination, he began to appreciate its meticulous intricacies. Ultimately, he concluded that the craft and intelligence found in Siena's art gave credence to the speculation that "the only thing as complex as the universe may be the human brain." Widely exhibited and collected, Siena's work suggests new ideas about the tradition of abstract painting.

James Monroe

National Portrait Gallery

James Chaney

National Portrait Gallery
Born in Meridian, Mississippi

James Chaney's mother was a domestic servant and his father was a plasterer. He became involved in the civil rights struggle while still in high school, and was suspended for a week from his Catholic school for wearing a paper badge with "N.A.A.C.P" on it. In October 1963 he volunteered at the Meridian office of CORE, and the following summer impressed Michael Schwerner, who had been made head of the office. Schwerner recommended Chaney for a full-time post with CORE. During that summer Chaney became involved with CORE's "Freedom Summer" campaign.

James Hosken

National Portrait Gallery

James Beard

National Portrait Gallery
Born Portland, Oregon

Long before it became fashionable, noted chef and cookbook author James Beard was an unapologetic champion of the virtues of American cuisine. Introduced to good eating by his mother, who was an excellent cook, Beard opened an upscale catering business in New York City in 1938 after his dreams of a stage career failed to materialize. In 1940 he published Hors d’Oeuvre and Canapés—the first of more than twenty cookbooks he would author—and in 1946 he gained a national following as the host of network television’s first cooking show, which aired on NBC. Widely recognized as "America’s chef" in the decades that followed, Beard achieved bestseller status with such titles as James Beard’s Cookbook (1959) and James Beard’s American Cookery (1972). In assessing Beard’s culinary legacy, Julia Child observed, "When one thinks of American cooking, well, he started it. He popularized cooking and made people comfortable at the stove."

James Morris

Smithsonian American Art Museum

James Baldwin

National Portrait Gallery
“I learned about light from Beauford Delaney,” writer James Baldwin wrote about his mentor, remembering that the painter taught him how to see the world around him. Delaney, having moved to New York from Tennessee, began exhibiting street scenes and portraits of jazz musicians. But even in bohemian enclaves, the challenges of being gay, black, and perpetually impoverished caused endless struggle and depression. Settling eventually in Paris, Delaney moved toward an increasingly expressionist, abstract style. Intense light, often portrayed by brilliant hues of Van Gogh–inspired yellow, became a motif for abstractions and portraits alike.

The 1963 pastel of Baldwin is chromatically complex, the yellow darkened by harsh greens, violets, and reds. The image captures the emotional intensity of Baldwin and Delaney’s lifelong relationship. The portrait of Baldwin conflates the slender youth with the mature man, expressing the artist’s memories, anxiety, pain, and devotion over time.

James Baldwin

National Portrait Gallery
Born New York City

African American writer James Baldwin spent most of his adult life in France, and so never numbered among the country's leading civil rights activists in the usual sense. But as one of the most passionate and eloquent writers about the problems of race in America, Baldwin gave substantial impetus to the civil rights ferment of the 1950s and 1960s. Shortly after the publication of his collection of essays The Fire Next Time in 1963, Time magazine featured this cover portrait. One observer said of Baldwin, "in the U.S. today there is not another writer-white or black-who expresses with such poignancy and abrasiveness the dark realities of American racism." Among Baldwin's best-known works are Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), a largely autobiographical novel about growing up in Harlem, and his volume of essays Nobody Knows My Name (1960).

James Monroe

National Portrait Gallery
James Monroe was the fifth president of the United States and last of the "Virginia Dynasty" that dominated national politics through the 1820s. Monroe served two terms (1816-24), and his administrations were largely holding patterns as the government began to deal with sectional interests, especially the issue of slavery, that would dominate the antebellum period. Despite his southern sympathies, Monroe sidestepped the issue of slavery and territorial expansion by signing the Missouri Compromise (1820), which balanced the number of slave states and free states admitted to the Union. He is best known for the Monroe Doctrine (1823), which defined the U.S. sphere of influence in the Americas and forbade European meddling in the area. The doctrine confirmed the country's coming of age and was the first step toward the United States becoming a world power.

James Pennington

National Portrait Gallery
Born Queen Anne’s County, Maryland

In 1855, a century before Rosa Parks challenged racial segregation on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, James W. C. Pennington was ejected from a New York City streetcar for attempting to ride in a “whites only” car. The internationally known clergyman, abolitionist, and civil rights activist was unsuccessful in his lawsuit against the streetcar company. But within several years, the New York Legal Rights Association, which Pennington helped to found, made significant progress in securing better treatment for African Americans within the city’s municipal transit system.

This portrait was created to accompany a brief biography of Pennington published in A Tribute for the Negro (1848).

Nacido en Queen Anne’s County, Maryland

En 1855, un siglo antes de que Rosa Parks desafiara la segregación racial en un autobús de Montgomery, Alabama, James W. C. Pennington fue expulsado de un tranvía en la ciudad de New York por intentar viajar en un vagón de “blancos solamente”. El ministro, abolicionista y activista pro derechos civiles, quien además era conocido internacionalmente, no logró prevalecer en su demanda contra la compañía de tranvías. No obstante, varios años después, la Asociación de Derechos Legales de New York, cofundada por Pennington, logró adelantar significativamente la lucha por un mejor trato a los afroamericanos en el sistema de transporte de la ciudad.

Este retrato se realizó para ilustrar una breve biografía de Pennington publicada en A Tribute for the Negro (1848).

James Cagney

National Portrait Gallery
James Cagney became famous during the Great Depression playing the prototypical movie gangster. His tightly coiled, sexually aggressive characters represented the dreams and energy of big-city America while often revealing something of the country’s dark side. Cagney’s characterizations were based on his own experiences growing up on the mean streets of New York City, having to use his fists in order to survive. He was urban but not urbane, a symbolic representative of the working class who sometimes made mistakes. According to Norman Mailer, "Cagney was as tough as they come, and yet you always had the feeling this was a very decent guy" because he showed us the humanity of his characters. On screen and off, Cagney was a rebel with integrity who projected speed, motion, and noise at the dawn of sound film. His ability to convey rough and charming hoodlums made thievery dangerously attractive.

James Garfield

National Portrait Gallery
Twentieth president, 1881

James Garfield became president during a period when the Republican Party was split between two rival wings: the Stalwarts, who supported a system of nepotistic patronage, and the Half-Breeds, who opposed such a system. He tried to unite the party by appointing members of both factions to important positions within his administration while staying true to his own reformist sympathies. Like Rutherford B. Hayes before him, Garfield started to implement some modest changes aimed at curbing corruption and nepotism in the civil service, focusing mainly on the postal system and the New York Customs House. While these policies had little immediate effect, they served to set the stage for future reforms. Ultimately, Garfield was unable to accomplish much; less than a year after he became president, he was shot and killed by Charles Guiteau, a deranged office-seeker and self-proclaimed Stalwart.

20o presidente, 1881

James Garfield asumió la presidencia durante una etapa en que el Partido Republicano estaba dividido entre dos facciones rivales: los Stalwarts (incondicionales), que favorecían un sistema de patrocinio nepotista, y los Half-Breeds (moderados), que se oponían a dicho sistema. Garfield trató de unificar el partido designando a miembros de ambas facciones para puestos importantes en su administración, sin dejar de ser fiel a sus propias simpatías reformistas. Al igual que su predecesor Rutherford B. Hayes, Garfield comenzó a imponer cambios modestos a fin de contener la corrupción y el nepotismo en el servicio civil, sobre todo en el sistema de correos y la Aduana de Nueva York. Aunque estas normas tuvieron poco efecto inmediato, abrieron el camino a reformas futuras. Al fin y a la postre, Garfield no alcanzó muchos logros; a menos de un año de ser electo presidente, fue asesinado por Charles Guiteau, un demente que aspiraba a un cargo en el gobierno y que se identificaba como Stalwart.
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