Hardcover. In 1912 at the age of nine, Kay Boyle was photographed by the noted impressionist painter and photographer Morton Schamberg. Over 60 years later, Kay Boyle wrote about her meetings with Schamberg and his friend Charles Sheeler and of Schamberg's final ghostly deathbed visit. Present are the following:
1). Original Photographic Portrait of Kay Boyle by Morton Schamberg. Original silver print on gelatin printing-out paper, measuring approximately 4¾" x 6½", double-mounted on deckle-edge paper measuring 5½" x 7¾". Signed and dated by Schamberg, in pencil, "Schamberg 1912," on the lower edge of first mount. The photograph shows a nine-year-old Boyle clad in a thin white dress, photographed from the shoulders up facing to the photographer's right, with her face and eyes looking slightly down, her dark long curled hair hanging to her shoulders, with a large white ribbon carefully placed in her hair to produce an artistic silhouette, complementing her dress. Photographed with unusual lighting, Boyle's face and hair are surrounded by light, but the texture of her dress and of the ribbon create many subtle shades of white. The larger outer mount on gray paper has a few tiny tears with two very small, faint tape marks at edge of the smaller mount (on white paper) just touching the edge of the image else the photograph is just about fine.
Morton Schamberg was born in 1881. After obtaining a degree in architecture, he took a summer course in art with William Merritt Chase, later doing graduate work at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. After spending a year in Paris, in 1907 he shared a studio with his friend, the noted painter and photographer, Charles Sheeler. In 1910 Schamberg had his first solo exhibition of painting, and in 1913 he had five paintings exhibited at the important Armory Show. In 1912 Schamberg began taking photographs to supplement his income. Joining with other avant-garde artists and writers, he became part of the Arensberg Circle and in 1916 he was introduced by Charles Sheeler to Alfred Steiglitz. In 1917 his photographs were exhibited, along with those of Sheeler and Paul Strand, at de Zaya's Modern Gallery in New York. in 1918, two days before his 37th birthday, he died of influenza. Knoedler's Gallery held a posthumous solo exhibition of his work in 1919. Given his brief professional life, Schamberg paintings and photographs are quite scarce. A single photograph of his has appeared at auction, bringing $390,000 in 2007 (with the buyer's premium). His photographs are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Alfred Steiglitz Collection.
2). A Typed Form Letter from an English student, Ben Noakes, addressed to Boyle, asking if she would be willing to contribute an anecdote or story for a book he was compiling about experiences that writers may have had with ghosts or supernatural apparitions.
3). [Caption title]: "One Early Morning in Cincinnati." Autograph Manuscript by Kay Boyle. Unsigned. First draft handwritten manuscript with corrections, undated, but circa 1970s. Two quarto pages on lined off-white paper, beginning "In my childhood, there were two young men [Morton Schamberg and Charles Sheeler] who came to visit my mother... ." In very good condition.
4). Carbon Typescript entitled, "One Early Morning in Cincinnati, Ohio," signed in type "Kay Boyle," undated but circa 1970s. Two quarto pages on thin white paper, beginning "During my childhood, there were two young men who came to visit my mother and aunt... ."
An autobiographical essay about visits by Schamberg and Sheeler, "... exceptionally gifted young men, Morton an Impressionist painter, and Charles a remarkable photographer of America's farms and factories. They were both protégés of Alfred Steiglitz... Charles used to push me in a velour-cushioned rolling-chair... Morton had painted my aunt's portrait in our house... And then in 1918 came the influenza epidemic, which history tells us killed at least ten million people... For two weeks my sister and I lay unconscious... On the fifteenth day... I awoke in the early morning marvelously refreshed... and I saw a figure in a long white robe standing in the doorway... When he leaned forward and took my hand in his, I saw that it was Morton Schamberg. 'Don't try to speak,' he whispered to me, '... you are going to get well.'... I fell asleep, holding peacefully to Morton's hand. It was weeks later that Mother showed me the telegram from Charles Sheeler. It had come the day that Morton had sat on the side of my bed, the day my father had heard a door softly closing in our room, and had hurried back to see if someone else was there. The telegram said that Morton had died of influenza in the early morning of that day."