Joggin' Erlong

Joggin' erlong /

Joggin’ Erlong by Paul Laurence Dunbar (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1906)
John Rae (1882 – 1963), binding designer
M. G. Sawyer Collection of Decorative Bindings, Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives, Delaware Art Museum

For their final collaboration with the Hampton Institute Camera Club, Dunbar’s publishers hired John Rae to design the book-cover and interior decorations. Born in Jersey City, Rae studied with Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute, and at the Art Students League in New York. Rae was well-known as an author and illustrator of children’s books, in addition to his work illustrating adult books for publishers including Harper’s, Macmillan, and Dodd, Mead & Co.

Released several months after Dunbar’s untimely death from tuberculosis at the age of thirty-three, Joggin’ Erlong was bound in a paisley-patterned cloth cover, with a gravure illustrated cover label featuring Leigh Richmond Miner’s portrait of “Uncle Step” Addison. Miner often reused older negatives; this image of “Uncle Step” also appears in When Malindy Sings.

Joggin' erlong /

Photograph, not dated, from “A Cabin Tale” in Joggin’ Erlong by Paul Laurence Dunbar (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1906)
Leigh Richmond Miner (1864 – 1935)
M. G. Sawyer Collection of Decorative Bindings, Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives, Delaware Art Museum

“Uncle Step” Addison – pictured here and on the cover of Joggin’ Erlong – was a member of the local Hampton community and a favorite model of the Camera Club. In addition to Uncle Step, several other individuals appear multiple times throughout the books, demonstrating the photographers’ continuity with their subjects and (presumably) the subjects’ willing participation in their image-making. Multiple images of specific individuals also undercut any notions of stereotyping. Instead of appearing as merely symbolic figures, the members of Hampton’s African American community appear as individuals who change over time.