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Charles Rivers Photographs

Creator:
Rivers, Charles, 1904-1993  Search this
Names:
Chrysler Building (New York, N.Y.) -- Pictorial works  Search this
Empire State Building -- Construction--1929-1930  Search this
Pathe News  Search this
Bates, Ruby  Search this
Extent:
0.5 Cubic feet (4 boxes )
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Albums
Place:
New York (N.Y.) -- 1920-1930
Washington (D.C.) -- 1960-1970
Date:
1929-1963
bulk 1929-1930
Scope and Contents:
The collection contains: twenty-nine silver gelatin photoprints mounted on Fome-Core, Masonite, and cardboard, ranging in size from 5-1/2" x 9-1/4" to 10-11/16" x 13-13/16"; three 5" x 7" unmounted silver gelatin photoprints; a scrapbook which originally contained 56 silver gelatin photoprints, ranging in size from 2" x 3" to 7-1/2" x 9-1/2"; and silver gelatin film negatives (presumably acetate) for the prints. The scrapbook includes a New York Daily News clipping about Rivers: "Builds a Bridge to Students" by Anthony Burton (dated May 12, 1970 by Rivers) with a photograph showing him speaking to a crowd, Most of the photographs depict the construction of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings--iron workers on the job and relaxing during breaks, and pictures of the buildings at various stages of completion. Other subjects are: a demonstration to prevent World War II (1935), a color photoprint of the Civil Rights March and Demonstration in Washington, D.C. (1963), and two magazine clippings from a Soviet publication, New Times, in which Rivers's prize-winning "Self Portrait" (1930) was reproduced.

Most of these prints were made by Charles Rivers many years after the creation of the original negatives, probably ca.1970s 1980s. The collection is in generally good condition, except that many of the print surfaces are scratched.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Rivers created a certain amount of confusion about his origins, whether accidentally or intentionally. Born Constantinos Kapornaros[1] (or Kostandinos Kapernaros)[2] in the small town of Vahos in Mani, an isolated area in the southern Peloponnesian region of Greece, on May 20, 1904, he emigrated to the United States as a child of five or six with his parents. His school record showed that he was enrolled in 1911 at the age of seven.[3] The family lived in Maine or New Hampshire, then Massachusetts, and later other locations in New York state. It is believed that his new name was derived from the Charles River in Boston.[4] The change may have been occasioned by a need to conceal his deep involvement in left-wing political and union activities.[5] Mr. Rivers settled in New York City in 1950 and resided there until 1993.[6] He sometimes identified his birthplace as Denver, Colorado,[7] but this may have been a fabrication or simplification, based on the fact that Greek church baptismal records were kept in Denver.[8] His sons James and Ronald believe that he never became an official American citizen. Late in life, in order to visit his birthplace, he was issued a passport, based on his school records, which stated that he was born in Denver. Rivers photographed the construction of the Chrysler Building (1929) and the Empire State Building (1930) in New York City. He was inspired to take up photography by seeing the work of the influential documentary photographer Lewis Hine, whose famous images of working children helped win passage of protective child labor laws. Rivers and Hine both photographed the Empire State Building and the men building it, yet Rivers apparently was unaware until years later that his idol had been present. Employed as an iron worker, Rivers traded his pail of tools for a Zeiss Ikon[9] camera during his lunch hour or when photographic opportunities arose. While the workers depicted in some of the photographs clearly are aware of the photographer's presence, Rivers's project presumably was conducted more or less surreptitiously. It is not known for certain if the paths of Rivers and Hine ever crossed, but his son Ron considers it unlikely: Hine photographed only the Empire State Building in connection with his "Men at Work" project,[10] not the earlier Chrysler Building, and Rivers did not work on the Empire State Building for a very long period. His self-portrait on the Empire State Building, "The Bolter-Up," may have been intended as a memento during one of his last days on that job.[11]

Rivers became unemployed in the Depression and consequently became involved in national efforts to create Social Security, unemployment insurance, and housing programs. These experiences apparently encouraged his active participation in politically leftist activities, as coverage about him in Soviet publications attests. A pacifist, in 1935 he was involved in demonstrations aimed at preventing World War II, and in the 1960s he took part in anti-Vietnam demonstrations and encouraged young people to continue such resistance.

In the 1950s Rivers worked in steel fabrication, in a chemistry lab as a technician, and briefly as a legislative aide for a New York state senator.

In 1986 Rivers submitted his 1930 self-portrait, posed on the Chrysler Building, to the International Year of Peace art contest sponsored by the New Times, published in Moscow: it was awarded a prize and diploma.

Mr. Rivers died in 1993, only two weeks after moving to Arlington, Texas to enter a nursing home near his sons' homes.

1. The page on Rivers in New York University=s Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives web site (http://laborarts.org/collections/item.cfm?itemid=82) --noted 5 June 2002), claims Rivers was born in 1905 and changed his name Ato resemble those of the Mohawk Indians working on the high steel of New York City=s skyscrapers and bridges".

2. This spelling is given in an e-mail from James Rivers to Helen Plummer, Aug. 19, 2002.

3. Ibid.

4. Telephone conversation between Ron Rivers and the author, 6 June 2002. Additional information was provided by Ron Rivers in electronic mail messages, 5 June and 12 June 2002.

5. James Rivers, op. cit.

6. Telephone conversation with Ron Rivers, 6 June 2002.

7. In a biographical statement for the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art (copy supplied by Helen Plummer), Charles Rivers called Denver his birthplace. The George Eastman House photographer database also included this apparently erroneous information, probably derived from the Amon Carter statement (telephone conversation with Helen Plummer, 3 June 2002).

8. Ron Rivers, telephone conversation, 6 June 2002.

9. Identified by Charles Rivers as the camera used in the skyscraper photographs: interview by Carol Sewell, "Photographer looked at U.S. from high view," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 27, 1986. Rivers also used a Rolleiflex, according to Ron Rivers (see note above), but the folding Zeiss Ikon camera would have been a more convenient addition to a lunchbox than the bulkier Rolleiflex. The collection negatives are not in the Rolleiflex square format, moreover.

10. See Judith Mara Gutman, Lewis W. Hine and the American social conscience. New York: Walker, 1967.

11. Ron Rivers, telephone conversation, 6 June 2002.
Related Materials:
Materials at the Smithsonian Institution

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Included Rivers's self-portrait, "The Bolter Up," in its summer 2002 exhibition, "Metropolis in the Machine Age," in the form of a new print made from a digital copy of the Archives Center's original negative. The author discussed the new print from the Rivers negative and other photographs in this exhibition in an invited gallery lecture, "The Skyscraper Photographs of Lewis Hine and Charles Rivers," Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, June 6, 2002.

Materials at Other Organizations

Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

See Barbara McCandless and John Rohrbach, Singular moments: photographs from the Amon Carter Museum, with select entries by Helen Plummer. Reproduction of a Rivers photograph, with description and analysis, p. 30. Additional information has been generously supplied by Ms. Plummer, curatorial associate, and Barbara McCandless, curator of photography, Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth Texas.

Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University

Museum of the City of New York

Some of his photographs were included in the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art exhibition, "Looking at America: Documentary Photographs of the 1930s and 1940s," December 1986.
Provenance:
The collection is a gift from Mr. Charles Rivers, 1989.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Archives Center claims copyright. Rights were conveyed to the Archives Center through a Deed of Gift signed by the donor.
Topic:
Self-portraits, American  Search this
Iron and steel workers -- 1920-1930 -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Construction workers -- 1900-1950 -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Structural steel workers -- 1920-1930 -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Labor unions  Search this
Civil rights demonstrations -- 1960-1970  Search this
Skyscrapers -- 1920-1930 -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Civil rights  Search this
Peace movements -- 1960-1970  Search this
Peace movements -- 1930-1940  Search this
Scottsoro boys case  Search this
Fires  Search this
Scottsboro Trial, Scottsboro, Ala., 1931  Search this
Self-portraits  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Albums
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1970-1990
Citation:
Charles Rivers Photographs, 1929-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0360
See more items in:
Charles Rivers Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0360
Online Media:

Science Action Coordinating Committee Papers

Creator:
Union of Concerned Scientists  Search this
Organization for Progressive Engineers  Search this
New University Conference  Search this
Scientists for Social and Political Action  Search this
Science Action Coordinating Committee  Search this
Chodos, Alan, Dr.  Search this
Haseltine, Florence P., Dr.  Search this
Massachusetts Institute of Technology  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (2 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Posters
Photographs
Programs
Date:
1968 - 1969
Scope and Contents:
The collection covers the period 1968-1969, the blossoming of the anti-Vietnam War protest movement. The papers primarily concern the March 4, 1969 voluntary research stoppage at MIT. This day was set aside to discuss and criticize the cooperation of MIT researchers with the US Department of Defense and included speakers George McGovern and Noam Chomsky as well as many others. The materials include photographs, posters, programs, and coordinating notes concerning this day of non-violent protest. The papers also cover other days of protests, Agenda Days, May 6-8, 1969 and a demonstration held on June 16, 1969, as well as a letter sent to Russian scientists in April 1969. The collection also includes items from other Vietnam War era protest groups: the Union of Concerned Scientists, New University Conference, Scientists for Social and Political Action and the Organization for Progressive Engineers.

The collection is particularly valuable in the picture it presents of the anti-Vietnam War protest movement of the late 1960s and how it grew to include other societal concerns. It is also valuable in the view it presents from inside the movement.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into one series.
Biographical / Historical:
The Science Action Coordinating Committee (SACC) was a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) based graduate student organization active in the Vietnam War protest movement of the late 1960s. Its activities grew to include protests against a variety of social and political targets. Members described themselves as, "a group of graduate students at MIT concerned with social responsibility of scientists."
Provenance:
Donated to the National Museum of American History, Archives Center by Dr. Alan Chodos and Dr. Florence P. Haseltine in 1992.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Peace movements -- 1960-1970  Search this
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 -- Protest Movements  Search this
Universities and colleges  Search this
Genre/Form:
Posters
Photographs -- 1960-1970
Programs
Citation:
The Science Action Coordinating Committee Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0473
See more items in:
Science Action Coordinating Committee Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0473
Online Media:

Joan and Robert K. Morrison Collection

Creator:
Morrison, Joan, -2010  Search this
Morrison, Robert K.  Search this
Beirne, Barbara T.  Search this
Names:
Gold Star Mothers, Inc.  Search this
Peace Corps (U.S.) -- 1960-1970  Search this
Moore, Harold (Gold Star parent)  Search this
Moore, Irma (Gold Star parent)  Search this
Extent:
6 Cubic feet (20 boxes )
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Audiocassettes
Transcripts
Photographs
Oral history
Audiotapes
Date:
1985 - 1987
Scope and Contents:
The collection is comprised of 139 audiocassettes (original copies only), 80 transcripts and tape summaries, and photographs (including some negatives). The transcripts and photographs also exist in single copies only, but they may be used with care by researchers.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in four series.

Series 1: Original Audio Cassette Tapes, 1983-1986

Series 2: Transcripts/Tape Summaries, 1984-1986

Series 3: Photographs, 1984-1986

Series 4: Reference Tapes and CDs, undated
Biographical / Historical:
In 1985, Joan and Robert Morrison conducted approximately 100 oral history interviews with a wide variety of Americans about their experiences during the 1960s. They also collected photographs of each of their interviewees—one taken during the 1960s and the other taken at the time of the interview. Portions of fifty-nine of those interviews were published in their 1987 book, From Camelot to Kent State: The Sixties Experience in the Words of Those Who Lived It (Times Books). Some of the new photographs, which were taken by Barbara Beirne, also were exhibited at The New School in 1989.

The interviewees include civil rights activists, anti-war activists, Vietnam War soldiers, Gold Star mothers, Peace Corps members, Weathermen, black leaders, and counter culture figures. Some of the narrators are members of the rank-and-file, others played leading roles. The in-depth interviews focus on three main questions: 1) What motivated you to act as you did in the Sixties? 2) What actions did you take and what were the results? 3) How did your experiences in the Sixties affect the way your life has developed since then?

Source Information taken from memo to National Museum of American History Collections Committee.
Provenance:
The Morrison's donated this collection of audiocassettes, transcripts, and photographs to the National Museum of American History Archives Center in 1989.
Restrictions:
Tape recordings not available for playback until researcher copies are made; researchers must use transcripts until then.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Some original interviews have restrictions; these have been withheld by the Morrisons' until they can get clearances from the interviewees.
Topic:
African Americans -- Civil rights  Search this
United States -- History -- 1960-1990  Search this
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 -- Protest Movements  Search this
Peace movements -- 1960-1970  Search this
Soldiers -- 1960-1970  Search this
Civil rights  Search this
Portraits -- 1960-1970  Search this
Civil rights workers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Audiocassettes
Transcripts
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1950-2000
Oral history
Audiotapes
Citation:
Joan and Robert K. Morrison Collection, 1983-1987, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0359
See more items in:
Joan and Robert K. Morrison Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0359
Online Media:

Barbara Beirne Portrait Photoprints

Creator:
Beirne, Barbara T.  Search this
Names:
Anderson, Kay  Search this
Baker, Dave  Search this
Berrigan, Philip  Search this
Bolden, Jackie  Search this
Cleaver, Eldridge, 1935-1998  Search this
Coffin, William Sloane  Search this
De Gennaro, Jane  Search this
Garrell, Nancy  Search this
Hawk, David  Search this
Hoffman, Bruce  Search this
Keegan, Leone  Search this
Knight, Dee  Search this
Lewis, John  Search this
Libby, John  Search this
McAllister, Elizabeth  Search this
McNamara, Craig  Search this
Montfort, Bill  Search this
Montfort, Susan  Search this
Moore, Irma  Search this
Rubin, Jerry  Search this
Simon, Doug  Search this
Extent:
0.1 Cubic feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
circa 1980s
Summary:
Twenty portraits, taken in the 1980s, of twenty-one men and women who were active in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of twenty silver gelatin prints, as described on the container list attached. These are exhibition-quality prints, matted, signed by the artist, with subject identification. The prints are arranged in no particular order, but are numbered according to the list. Note that each print therefore has an individual museum catalog number, e.g., 1991.0886.01- unlike the majority of Archive Center collections--and these numbers should be referenced in exhibition and loan transactions.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into one series.
Biographical / Historical:
Barbara T. Beirne hold a Master of Fine Arts in Photography form Pratt Institute, Brooklyn New York, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts form Marymount College, Tarrytown, New York. She has been a free-lance photographer, working extensively for non-profit organizations, corporations and newspapers, has shown her work in many solo and group exhibitions, and has been photographer and/or author of a number of children's books (see bibliography, She photographed the subjects of this portfolio for a book by J. and R. Morrison, From Camelot to Kent State.

Ms. Beirne has been a teacher and lecturer in numerous school and libraries in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and at this writing is an adjunct professor of photography at County College of Morris, Randolph, New Jersey.
Historical:
In 1985, Joan Morrison and her son Robert K. Morrison conducted approximately one hundred oral history interviews with a wide variety of Americans about their experiences during the 1960s. They also collected photographs of the interviewees--pictures taken during the 1960s and other taken at the time of the interview. Portions of some of these interviews and the photographs are published in their 1987 book, mentioned above. Some of the new photographs, taken by Barbara T. Bierne, were exhibited at the Bridge Gallery, The New School, New York City, from Oct. 2 to Oct 31, 1998. The Morrison collection of audiotapes, transcripts, and other materials form this project was donated to the Archives Center as Collection no. 359. Later in 1991, Barbara Beirne donated twenty exhibition quality, matted photographs from this project (the Morrison Collection was received first, and the earlier number for the Beirne Collection is due to the recycling of an unused number). These prints apparently were made in 1989 and were included in the New School exhibition.

Bibliography

Author and photographer, A Pianist's Debut. Carlrhoda Books, 1990. Author and photographer, Under the Lights. Carlrhoda Books, 1988.

Photographer, What Do You Mean I Have a Learning Disability? Walker Publishers, 1991.

Photographer, Water is Wet. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1985.

Photographs in: Joan and Robert K. Morrison. From Camelot to Kent State: The Sixties Experience in the Worlds of Those Who Lived It. New York: Times Books, 1987.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Barbara T. Beirne, September 6, 1991.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Barbara Beirne retains copyright. A nonexclusive license was conveyed to the Archives Center through a Deed of Gift signed by the donor. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 -- Protest Movements  Search this
Civil rights  Search this
Peace movements -- 1960-1970  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1980-2000
Citation:
Barbara Beirne Portrait Photoprints, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0356
See more items in:
Barbara Beirne Portrait Photoprints
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0356
Online Media:

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