Sunday, July 20, 2008


During his lifetime, Edwin A. Harleston received a great deal of attention for his work as an artist. His paintings have been exhibited at major museums, galleries and libraries, and cited in numerous books, articles, catalogs and other publications.

More recently, scholars documenting the role of women in American history have shown interest in Elise F. Harleston as a pioneering black female photographer. Besides the period in the 1920s, when her photos were displayed at street level to attract customers to the Harleston Studio in downtown Charleston, her work was only publicly exhibited 20 years after her death -- in the 1993 show "Conflict and Transcendence: African American Art in South Carolina," organized by the Columbia Museum of Art.

I have written articles about Elise for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ("Portrait of an Artist," Dec. 8, 1996), BET Weekend Magazine ("Picture Perfect," March 1997) and the Charleston Post & Courier ("Into the Light," May 7, 2006).

My mother, Edwina "Gussie" Harleston Whitlock, wrote a biographical sketch about her Uncle Teddy for an exhibition organized by Your Heritage House Museum in Detroit, and she collaborated on a book about the Harleston family that was published by HarperCollins in 2001, "The Sweet Hell Inside." That book was written by Edward Ball, who won the National Book Award for his "Slaves in the Family."

The couple is also mentioned in Edmund L. Drago's "Initiative, Paternalism and Race Relations: Charleston’s Avery Normal Institute," published in 1990 by the University of Georgia Press, and other books.

Below is a list of publications that cite Elise and Edwin Harleston.


Horwitz, Margot F. (1996). A Female Focus: Great Women Photographers, p. 41-43.

Moutoussamy-Ashe, Jeanne (1986). Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers pp. 34-39.

Rosenblum, Naomi. (1994). A History of Women Photographers pp. 150-151.

Severens, Martha R. (1998). The Charleston Renaissance. pp. 155-156, 180.

Teal, Harvey S. (2001). Partners With the Sun: South Carolina Photographers -- 1840-1940 pp. 291-292, 299, 321.

Willis, Deborah (2000). Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers – 1840 to the Present. pp. 37, 46, 69.


Adams, Myron W. (1930). A History of Atlanta University: 1865-1929, p. 106.

Allen, Simona A. (1972). Introduction. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 140 (Nov. 1928): 243.

Art Digest 6 (Feb. 15, 1931): 7.

Artists Proof 11 (1971): 27.

Arts in Society 5 (Summer/Fall 1968): 259.

Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (1933). Exhibition.

Atlanta University Bulletin (Dec. 1941): 6.

Bardolph, Richard (1959). The Negro Vanguard. pp. 181-184.

Barnwell, Andrea D. (1999). The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art. pp. 103, 157.

Baskin, Wade, and Runes, Richard N. (1973). Dictionary of Black Culture, pp. 29, 201.

Brawley, Benjamin G. (1918). The Negro in Literature and Art in the United States, p. 104.

Brown, Eugene Jesse (1934). "A Short History of Negro Art," p. 513.

Brown, Marion E. (1966a). "The Negro in the Fine Arts," p. 768.

Bulletin of the Association of American Colleges 17 (Nov. 1931): 363.

Cederholm, Theresa Dickason (1973). Afro-American Artists: A Bio-bibliographical Directory, p. 117-118.

Charleston Evening Post (May 13, 1966): B-12. "E.A. Harleston Paintings Are Being Exhibited." On solo at Old Slave Mart Museum.

Charleston magazine (May 2004): 86-93. "The Invisible Artist: The Life and Art of E.A. Harleston," by James Hutchisson; illus.; photo.

Chase, Judith Wragg (1971). Afro-American Art and Craft, pp. 113, 115.

Chicago Art Institute Scrapbook 54 (Aug. 1927-Mar. 1928): 62. "The Bible Student."

Christian Education 15 (Nov. 1931): 102.

City University of New York (1967). Evolution, p. 63.

The Crisis 22 (Jun 1921): 59. Photo of Harleston.

_ 29 (Mar. 1925): 223. "The Horizon." Notes Harleston portrait, commission from blacks in Delaware; illus.; photo.

_ 49 (April 1942): 117.

Dallas, Texas Centennial Exposition (c.1936). Thumb Nail Sketches, p. 4.

Dawson, Charles C. (1929). "Celebrated Negro Artists," p. 27.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (1972). Reflections.

Denmark (1971). "Black Artists," p. 298.

Dover (1960). American Negro Art, pp. 31, 48p pl. 34.

Driskell, David C. (1975). "Essay." In Amistad II: Afro-American Art. p. 46.

_ (1976). Two Centuries of Black American Art. pp. 57, 136.

DuBois, William Edward Burghardt (1924). The Gift of Black Folk. p. 313.

DuSable Museum of African American History (c. 1969). 1970 Calendar.

"Edwin A. Harleston, Painter of an Era, 1882-1931," exhibition catalog, Your Heritage House Museum, 1983.

Embree, Edwin R. (1931). Brown America: The Story of a New Race. p. 247.

Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1963), Vol. 16, p. 200.

Fax, Elton Clay (1969). "The American Negro Artist." In In Black American: 1968 -- The Year of Awakening, p. 224.

_ (1971). Seventeen Black Artists, p. 11.

_ (1977). Black Artists of the New Generation, p. 160.

Ferguson, Franklin Fields. (1969) Negro American: A History, p. 118.

Finkelstein, Sidney (1955). Charles White, ein Kunstler Amerikas, p. 11.

Fisk University (1975). Amistad II: Afro-American Art, p. 70.

Franklin, John Hope (1956). From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans. p. 501.

_ (1974). From Slavery. p. 382.

Gaither, Edmund Barry (1976). "Afro-American Art." In The Black American Reference Book, p. 839.

Gordon, Allan Moran (1974). Introduction, West Coast '74: Black Image.

Gordon, Asa H. (1929, 1971). Sketches of Negro Life and History in South Carolina, p. 140.

Grigsby, Jefferson Eugene Jr. (1977). Art and Ethnics: Background for Teaching Youth in a Pluralistic Society, pp. 4, 101.

Harmon Foundation (1931). Exhibition of the Work of Negro Artists, pp. 21, 26, 42, bc.

Hatch-Billops Collection (1979). Hatch-Billops Collection Inc., Archives of Black Cultural History, p. 5.

Herring, James Vernon (1967). "The American Negro as Craftsman and Artist." In The Negro in Music and Art, p. 215.

High Museum of Art (1973). Highlights from the Atlanta University Collection of Afro-American Art.

Irvine, Betty Jo (1969). Fine Arts and the Black American, p. 9.

Journal of Negro Education 8 (July 1939): 526.

Journal of Negro History 19 (Jan. 1934): 6.

Locke, Alain LeRoy (1925). "The Legacy of the Ancestral Arts." In The New Negro: An Interpretation, p. 266.

_ (1932). "Negro Art." In Encyclopaedia Britannica, p. 198.

_ (1940). The Negro in Art: A Pictorial Record of the Negro Artist and of the Negro Theme in Art, pp. 25, 132.

_ (1975). "Legacy," p. 240.

Magazine of Art 23 (Sept. 1931): 215.

McDaniel, Maurine Akua (1994). Edwin Augustus Harleston, Portrait Painter 1882-1931

Monro, Isabel Stevenson and Monro, Kate M. (1948). Index to Reproductions of American Paintings, p. 279.

National Center of Afro-American Artists, Museum of (1970). Afro-American Artists.

Negro History Bulletin 2 (Apr. 1939): 58.

_ 30 (Oct. 1967): 7.

New York Times (Aug. 15, 1925): 19, "Prizes Are Awarded to Negro Artists."

Opportunity 2 (Jan. 1924): 21-22. Madeline G. Allison, "Harleston! Who is E.A. Harleston?" Biography; illus.

Pittsburgh Courier (July 29, 1950): 6, "Progress of the Negro in Art During the Past Fifty Years: Negro Artists Gain Recognition After Long Battle."

Ploski, Harry A. and Brown, Roscoe C. (1967). The Negro Almanac, p. 632.

Porter, James Amos (1943). Modern Negro Art, pp. 95, 106, 108, 109, 226.

Powell, Richard J. (1997). Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century. p. 39.

Robb, Frederic H. (1929). The Book of Achievement -- The World Over: The Negro in Chicago, 1779-1929, pp. 19, 27, 198.

Severens, Martha R. (1998). The Charleston Renaissance. pp. 136, 150, 153, 154-156, 180

St. Louis Public Library (1972). An Index to Black American Artists, p. 20.

Schatz, Walter (1971). Directory of Afro-American Resources, SC 1.2.

Serif 7 (Dec. 1970): 35, "A Checklist of Afro-American Art and Artists."

Simms' Blue Book and National Business and Professional Directory (1923). Harleston biograpy and photo, p. 266.

Southern Workman 53 (Apr. 1924): 149, "Negro Art Exhibit," on show Feb. 4-11 sponsored by Literary Round Table, Albany, N.Y.

Stoelting, Winifred L. (1978). "Hale Woodruff, Artist and Teacher: Through the Atlanta Years," pp. 119, 185.

Tanner Art Galleries (1940). Exhibition of the Art of the American Negro (1851-1940).

The Times (London) (Dec. 30, 1927): 8 "Negro in Art Week."

United Asia 5 (June 1953): 182, "The Negro in the Arts."

University of South Alabama (1970). Afro-American Art: Slide Catalog, p. 85.

Who's Who in Colored America: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Persons of Negro Descent in America 1 (1927): 84.

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