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My Historical Archives Part II: FDR to National Park Service Resource Center

July 8, 2016 1 comment

Over a five-year period, I made thousands of photographs of sculptor Neil Estern creating the full-round statues of President Roosevelt, Eleanor and their dog Fala for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Park in Washington, DC. Dozens of the images were reproduced in the book Shaping A President: Sculpting for the Roosevelt Memorial, written by Kelli Peduzzi; and a large group of black & white darkroom prints and color photographs appeared in solo and group exhibits across the United States. (Many of these images are on my website.)

I followed Estern working on this historic project as he sculpted the tiny maquettes and larger scale models in clay in his Brooklyn studio, enlarged them in clay at Tallix Art Foundry in Beacon, NY, and supervised the many phases of bronze casting.   At each stage of creation, I was struck by the forceful personae emerging out of inert substances. Neil’s concentration was total. The figures, even in armature form, seemed to interact with him and appreciate his perfectionism.

I felt like a fly on the wall. I endeavored to illustrate the unfolding emotional relationship between the sculptor’s artistic intensity and the complex personalities of the President and First Lady emerging from armature and clay.

The Memorial Park was inaugurated in May 1997.

Last summer, I contacted various government archives to find a home for my archives. I was thrilled when they were accepted by the National Park Service. Their offices and storage facilities are located in Washington, CD and Maryland, where objects related to the monuments on the National Mall and Memorial Parks in this area of the country are preserved.  Here are the materials in my studio before I packed them up:

I still retain the copyright, however, and sets of exhibition prints.  My husband and I drove to Maryland earlier this year to deliver them to Curator Laura Anderson.

Archive Bldg

Me with Laura

The next day we were given a tour of the facility by Tom Sonderman, Director of the NCR Museum Resource Center,. It was fascinating.  Along with historical documents, there were objects left at the Vietnam Memorial by visitors, furniture from historic homes and all sorts of interesting ephemera.

I am honored that these historic materials – negatives, slides, darkroom notes, work prints, shooting diary, etc. are now part of this wonderful archive, where they are available to the public for research and exhibitions.  2017 will be the 20th anniversary of the monument park and there is talk of an exhibit.  Meanwhile, I am on to new projects!

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My Historical Archives Part I: The Rafael Hernandez Colon Library and Museum

June 22, 2016 Leave a comment

In November 2015, my husband and I traveled to Ponce, Puerto Rico to visit the beautiful Rafael Hernandez Colon Library and Museum.  In Spanish, La Fundaciòn Biblioteca Rafael Hernández Colón (FBRHC).

RHC Library & Museum

RHC Library & Museum

 

From 1972-6 I worked for Governor Rafael Hernandez Colon of Puerto Rico. As his aide in the states, I accompanied him on his many trips to New York and Washington, and produced a variety of television programs for him in Puerto Rico, such as the first televised news conference and the first televised address to the nation. I carried my camera with me everyplace.

Hernandez Colon served as governor again from 1984-92. We remained in touch, but I was working elsewhere. This past year the Rafael Hernandez Colon Library and Museum was inaugurated in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It is a beautiful combination of two buildings; one a renovated colonial building and the other a new state of the art modern archive of the Governor’s papers and records. My negatives, slides, and campaign ephemera have been added to the collection.  I was so impressed by the design of the archives and thrilled to see my material included.

There is a beautiful, large exhibit area illustrating the governor’s life and accomplishments during his total of 12 years in office.   Several of my historic photographs have been printed and hung.  This column of my photographs depicts the arrival of world leaders for a summit conference in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico in 1976, greeted by Governor Hernandez Colon.

RHC_World Leaders

Photo credit

Here is Hernandez Colon talking about the museum to my husband and the Director of the Archive and Museum, Jorge Figueroa Irizzary:

RHC talking to Bob Peduzzi and Jorge Figueroa Irizarry

After touring the museum, we screened the two half-hour documentaries I produced in 1972 and 1976 for RHC’s gubernatorial campaigns.  It was the first time my husband had seen them!

During those exciting years I traveled all over the island, made many good friends and learned to love Puerto Rico and its people.