Category: 1940s fashion

Educator, model, and patron of the arts Harold Jackman (1901–1961)

photographed by Carl Van Vechten on June 11, 1942.

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Marilyn Monroe (then known as Norma Jeane Mortenson) photographed by Richard C. Miller, 1946.

Harold Jackman photographed by Carl Van Vechten in Morningside Park in Harlem, New York in 1940.

Harold Jackman (August 18, 1901 – July 8, 1961)

was a teacher, model, and patron of the arts with emphasis on Black art and literature. He born in London but his family emigrated to Harlem during his childhood. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx where he befriended Countee Cullen. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from New York University and his Master’s degree from Columbia University. 

Harold taught social studies for 30 years in the New York Public School System. He embraced being prematurely gray and modeled for over 30 years. He was member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the Urban League, and the Negro Actors Guild on which he served as the executive board. He was also an associate editor of New Challenge magazine and a contributing editor to Phylon academic journal.

Harold was featured in Winold Reiss’ drawing A College Lad (1925). He was the inspiration for Carl Van Vechten’s protagonist in Nigger Heaven (1926). He was also a character in Wallace Thurman’s Infants of Spring (1932).

Harold was a well-known bachelor. He was a member of Harlem’s gay community and frequented the Hamilton Lodge Ball. He may have been a lover of his close friend Countee Cullen. The two often traveled together and Countee dedicated his famous poem “Heritage” to Harold.  

Harold founded the Countee Cullen Memorial Collection at Atlanta University, and contributed to the James Weldon Johnson Collection of Yale University, the Literary Collection of Fisk University and to the Schomburg Collection at the Harlem branch of the New York Public Library. He was also a co-founder of the Harlem Experimental Theater.

Vintage Our World Magazine Covers

  1. Lena Horne (April 1946)
  2. Joe Louis (June 1948)
  3. Model “Bunny” Evans (November 1949)
  4. Nat King Cole (April 1952)
  5. Eartha Kitt (May 1952)
  6. Dorothy Dandridge (June 1952)
  7. Dancer Lavinia Hamilton (October 1954)

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Lena Horne photographed by Carl Van Vechten

at Greenwood Lake on September 15, 1941.

The

Nat King Cole Quartet photographed by Herman Leonard in New York, 1949.   

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Dolores Del Rio photographed by Laszlo Willinger, 1940.

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Joe Louis and Lena Horne photographed by Carl Van Vechten at Greenwood Lake on September 15, 1941.

Lena Horne was visiting boxer Joe Louis while he trained. The book Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne, details their romance. Both were married to other people, and Louis had even become a father in February 1943. But the world champion of heavyweight boxing kept visiting the Stormy Weather set to see Horne, whom he’d reportedly met at the

New York City nightclub

Café Society. 

Joe spoke openly of their on-again, off-again affair to his friend Alice Key; Horne flaunted a mink coat he’d given to her. On November 12, 1942, Billy Rowe had reported the widespread rumor that Louis, then an army sergeant would divorce his wife to marry Horne. Both he and Horne issued vague denials. “I think that Lena is a grand person, on and off the screen, but that doesn’t mean I want to marry her or vice versa,” said the boxer. Added Horne, Sergeant Louis and I have been friends for several years and to me, like fifty million others, he’s a symbol of greatness. I can certainly admire him and be in his company without hopping off to the alter.”

Ethel Waters photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1940.

She was the first black performer to have her own TV show, The Ethel Waters Show, which aired on NBC in 1939.

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Marilyn Monroe photographed by Arthur Weegee, 1949.