Category Archives: Pittsburgh

Bill Nunn Jr., 1924–2014: Newsman, Steelers Scout, Local Icon


Charles "Teenie" Harris, Group portrait of eight men, including Bill Nunn Sr., Brooklyn Dodgers baseball  players Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, Courier sports reporter Chester Washington, and Teddy Horne, c. 1948-1956, gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 1997.34.3.3 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of eight men, including Bill Nunn Sr., Brooklyn Dodgers baseball players Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, Courier sports reporter Chester Washington, and Teddy Horne, c. 1948–1956, gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 1997.34.3.3 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

On a sunny July afternoon in 2011, I had the privilege of going to the home of William G. Nunn Jr. and Frances Bell Nunn, to interview them for the Teenie Harris Archive’s oral histories. I had known them casually in my childhood, but as their front door opened two impressions hit me: 1) Here were some of Pittsburgh’s finest African American citizens, and (2) how much they seemed to still be in love. They greeted me, together, with big smiles and we shared a warm, informative afternoon full of both serious discussion and rich laughter.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Portrait of Bill Nunn Jr., seated on table, c. 1960-1975, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3596 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Portrait of Bill Nunn Jr., seated on table, c. 1960–1975, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3596 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

William Goldwyn Nunn Jr. was born on Sept. 30, 1924, and lived an incredible life. At the time of our interview, he was still going strong, despite having “officially” retired over two decades prior. While analyzing college prospects for the Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 draft, he suffered a stroke, from which he would not recover. The Nunns had been married an impressive 63 years when “Bill” passed at age 89, on May 7, 2014.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Frank Bolden and Bill Nunn Jr. standing in Pittsburgh Courier newspaper office with portrait of Jessie Vann on wall, c. 1950-1970, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.19317 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Frank Bolden and Bill Nunn Jr. standing in Pittsburgh Courier newspaper office with portrait of Jessie Vann on wall, c. 1950–1970, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.19317 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

William Jr. was born to Maybelle and William G. Nunn—the managing editor of the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper. Bill Jr. had become an outstanding basketball player at West Virginia State University, and in his senior year led the team to an undefeated record. He played with two of the first three Black players to play in the NBA. Upon graduation in 1948, the Harlem Globetrotters tried to recruit him, and he found himself facing the tough choice of what to do with his life. He ultimately chose to take a job with the sports staff of the Courier, (the largest Black newspaper in the country at the time). Later, he became the sports editor, replacing the legendary Wendell Smith, and eventually became the managing editor for the paper.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Unknown man, Ralph Koger, Charles "Teenie" Harris, and Bill Nunn Jr. posed with trophies and 1968 National Newspaper Publishers Association Merit Award poster, posed in New Pittsburgh Courier newspaper office, c. 1960-1975, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.44744 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Unknown man, Ralph Koger, Charles “Teenie” Harris, and Bill Nunn Jr. posed with trophies and 1968 National Newspaper Publishers Association Merit Award poster, posed in New Pittsburgh Courier newspaper office, c. 1968–1969, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.44744 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

In the late 60s, Mr. Nunn was dissatisfied by the NFL not drafting more African American players. He got the ear of Art Rooney Sr., and was thus lured to the Steelers organization because he felt he could make a real difference for Black athletes. Not everyone appreciated the idea of hiring a newspaperman to scout college players, but Bill proved himself fully worthy to be the first African American appointed to a front office position. As the years of discovering overlooked players who (for the most part) attended historically Black colleges, (such as L.C. Greenwood, Mel Blount, Joe Greene, Dwight White, Glen Edwards, Ernie Holmes, John Stallworth, and Donnie Shell), the Steelers continued to have winning seasons, and Bill’s participation was never questioned again. In fact, although he officially retired from the Steelers organization in 1987, he continued to be a part of the recruitment team for over 46 years, until his death.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Man filming Regis Bobonis, Mal Goode, Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Joe Brown, and Bill Nunn Jr., during presentation of Pittsburgh Courier's Humanitarian award to Brown on Forbes Field, with Cincinnati Reds baseball player in background, April 1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14071 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Man filming Regis Bobonis, Mal Goode, Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Joe Brown, and Bill Nunn Jr., during presentation of Pittsburgh Courier’s Humanitarian award to Brown on Forbes Field, with Cincinnati Reds baseball player in background, April 1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14071 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Nunn never played nor coached football, but still he was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007, and was a 2010 inaugural member of the Black College Hall of Fame. He also was the recipient of six Super Bowl rings, because of his distinction as being one of the longest tenured employees of the Steelers. His name also lies in the West Virginia State University Sports Hall of Fame.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Group portrait of Bill Nunn Jr., and bride, wearing gown with lace overlay on bodice and sleeves, in church with large pipe organ, and carved altar in background, c. 1940-1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.23973 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of Bill Nunn Jr., and bride, wearing gown with lace overlay on bodice and sleeves, in church with large pipe organ, and carved altar in background, c. 1940–1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.23973 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Mr. Nunn is survived by his lovely wife, Frances (whom he’d known since childhood), his daughter Lynell Nunn (an attorney), his son Bill Nunn III (a film/television/theatre actor), three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

I listened to our 2011 interview as I wrote this obituary. It made me wish I had spent even more time chatting with them about their accomplishments in helping other African Americans achieve new heights. Nunn also discussed working with Teenie Harris as both a colleague and his boss. He said Teenie, being older than Bill, taught him a lot about how to approach people favorably. However, when he became Teenie’s boss at the Courier, he asked Teenie to take more than “one shot,” just in case the first one didn’t turn out. Teenie refuted that would never happen, so that was a bit of a disagreement between them, and Teenie never missed the shot (to his knowledge, of course). The Nunns giggled almost like teenagers as they scanned the many photos Teenie had taken of them through the decades— including their wedding portraits. It was a real treat for me to share Teenie’s images of them, which they had never seen before, and to witness the joy it brought them. I’ll always remember fondly how they were linked with their arms around each other and waived to me as I drove away from their house. One of the last things Mr. Nunn said to me was that he “just wanted to make a difference in the lives of African Americans.” He did. They both did, and I left with a serene sense of pride and appreciation for the road they helped pave.

Architecture + Teenie Harris


Charles "Teenie" Harris," Dramatic sky seen from Penn Avenue near Homewood, c. 1943,  gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 1996.69.224 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Dramatic sky seen from Penn Avenue near Homewood, c. 1943, gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 1996.69.224 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Teenie Harris is perhaps best known for his ability to photograph people and capture their spectrum of expressions as well as truthfully document their life events. He was surrounded by family, friends, and a large community who seemed to be drawn to him and offered their trust to his lens, as well as frequently “photobombed” the margins of his frame while he was on assignment.

But Harris also had a keen eye for architecture and the urban landscape—he was known to have a deep love for the city of Pittsburgh, and at times it seems as if the city itself was another member of his community. His landscape and architectural images show the same intimacy and the deliberate and careful composition that he used when photographing children playing in the street or a family being evicted from their home.

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Come see Architecture + Photography at the Heinz Architectural Center, closing May 26!
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He quit school after the eighth grade, had no formal photographic training, and likely did not visit major exhibitions of photography outside of Pittsburgh. He saw thousands of images created by photojournalists in the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper and magazines such as Life. Yet many of his architectural images echo elements from the Modernist movement in photography that took place in the few decades before his own work. As the Heinz Architectural Center’s Architecture + Photography exhibition closes next week, I wanted to take a quick look at Teenie’s contributions to the field.

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Garage, possibly Achermans Auto Service, with two wooden doors, signs advertising Champions spark plugs, and oil can on ground, c. 1938-1945, gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14084 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Garage, possibly Achermans Auto Service, with two wooden doors, signs advertising Champions spark plugs, and oil can on ground, c. 1938–1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14084 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Garage, possibly Store entryway with mannequins modeling furs and broken door window, c. 1940-1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.38338 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Garage, possibly Store entryway with mannequins modeling furs and broken door window, c. 1940–1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.38338 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Brick building with Pepsi and "Meats" signs in window and corrugated metal awning, street no. 622, c. 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.50618 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Brick building with Pepsi and “Meats” signs in window and corrugated metal awning, street no. 622, c. 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.50618 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Window set in brick wall at construction site, with brick building in background, c. 1950-1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.42032 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Window set in brick wall at construction site, with brick building in background, c. 1950–1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.42032 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

The largest portion of his architectural images was taken for documentation purposes.  He photographed the buildings that housed businesses—and often over and over, as one business replaced another—for advertisements or Pittsburgh Courier work. It is possible that some of the pictures he made of residencies were freelance work for his studio.  And he documented poor housing conditions, fires and accidents, new construction, and demolitions for the Courier.

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Car parked in front of La Salle Beauty School, 2107 Centre Avenue, Hill District, c. 1938-1940, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3231 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Car parked in front of La Salle Beauty School, 2107 Centre Avenue, Hill District, c. 1938–1940, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3231 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Small house with block and brick foundation, and small wooden porch and stairs, on lot surrounded by trees, c. 1950-1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.40378 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Small house with block and brick foundation, and small wooden porch and stairs, on lot surrounded by trees, c. 1950–1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.40378 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Construction of IBM Building (later United Steelworkers Building) with McManus Heating & Refrigeration truck in foreground, Stanwix Street, downtown, c. 1961-1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.13760 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Construction of IBM Building (later United Steelworkers Building) with McManus Heating & Refrigeration truck in foreground, Stanwix Street, downtown, c. 1961–1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.13760 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Demolition of Bethel AME Church with crane on left, Wylie Avenue and Elm Street, Hill District, July 24, 1957, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4054 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Demolition of Bethel AME Church with crane on left, Wylie Avenue and Elm Street, Hill District, July 24, 1957, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4054 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Wabash Terminal under demolition, with AMOCO Gas sign on right, corner of Fourth Avenue and Ferry Street, Downtown, c. 1946, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.10988 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Wabash Terminal under demolition, with AMOCO Gas sign on right, corner of Fourth Avenue and Ferry Street, Downtown, c. 1946, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.10988 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Some of his architectural images have the same grandeur and monumentality of early photographs of ancient sites and buildings.  And in fact, he was capturing the monuments of his city and its buildings and places especially important to the African American community—including places that were the landmarks of his own life or the neighborhood’s—as well as their destruction.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Exterior of Kay Boys' Club, Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1940-1945, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3408 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Exterior of Kay Boys’ Club, Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1940–1945, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3408 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Exterior of the Loendi Club, 83 Fullerton Avenue, Hill District, July 1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3415 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Exterior of the Loendi Club, 83 Fullerton Avenue, Hill District, July 1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3415 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Clark Memorial Baptist Church, 1301 Glenn Street, Homestead, c. 1945-1950, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4026 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Clark Memorial Baptist Church, 1301 Glenn Street, Homestead, c. 1945–1950, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4026 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Crystal Barber Shop and Crystal Billiard Parlor, with clock reading 2:25, Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1941-1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.2235 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Crystal Barber Shop and Crystal Billiard Parlor, with clock reading 2:25, Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1941–1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.2235 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Crystal Barber Shop and Billiard Parlor being razed, 1400 Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1958-1961, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.9080 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Crystal Barber Shop and Billiard Parlor being razed, 1400 Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1958–1961, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.9080 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

But much of his architectural photography still contains people.  He used building elements and their shadows as framing devices, included figures to increase the emotional impact or perhaps show scale, or showed how others interacted in the built spaces of his city.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Group portrait of men and women, including two women holding canes, gathered in front of Rodman Street Baptist Church, East Liberty, 1964, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.20919 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of men and women, including two women holding canes, gathered in front of Rodman Street Baptist Church, East Liberty, 1964, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.20919 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Groom Roland M. Sawyer, and bride Aileen Eckstein Sawyer wearing long sheer train, posed on steps of The Thimble Shop, 5913 Bryant Street, Highland Park, another version, August 1938, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.38923 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Groom Roland M. Sawyer, and bride Aileen Eckstein Sawyer wearing long sheer train, posed on steps of The Thimble Shop, 5913 Bryant Street, Highland Park, another version, August 1938, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.38923 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, University of Pittsburgh students Edith Johnson, Mary Louise Wray Stewart, Esther Dalton, and Mary Jane Mitchell Page, on steps of Cathedral of Learning, with Pearl Johnson Hairston, Geraldine, and Jacqueline Ford in background, c. 1945-1948, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4754 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, University of Pittsburgh students Edith Johnson, Mary Louise Wray Stewart, Esther Dalton, and Mary Jane Mitchell Page, on steps of Cathedral of Learning, with Pearl Johnson Hairston, Geraldine, and Jacqueline Ford in background, c. 1945–1948, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4754 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Two girls in front of brick row houses with wooden porches and stairs, c. 1949-1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.6511 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Two girls in front of brick row houses with wooden porches and stairs, c. 1949–1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.6511 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Three boys, including one pointing, in field with Bedford Dwellings housing project in background, Hill District, c. 1940-1950, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.36007 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Three boys, including one pointing, in field with Bedford Dwellings housing project in background, Hill District, c. 1940–1950, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.36007 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

 

 

 

Teenie Harris’s Pastime


Charles "Teenie" Harris, Charles "Teenie" Harris, wearing riding attire, seated on horse and patting the horse's neck, possibly in Schenley Park, with Adirondack chair in background, c. 1935-1940, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.8715 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Charles “Teenie” Harris, wearing riding attire, seated on horse and patting the horse’s neck, possibly in Schenley Park, with Adirondack chair in background, c. 1935-1940, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.8715 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

When we talk to people who knew Teenie Harris personally we hear the same thing over and over again: Teenie was everywhere, always taking pictures. We asked his family if he ever slept since the other part of taking pictures required long hours in the darkroom. They said he managed to keep on going with his trademark positive energy despite little sleep at times. Then we wondered, what about his down time, did he ever put down the camera?  His son Lionel Harris spoke of his favorite pastime without a camera:

“He loved that track – golly! He took me…‘Come on, let’s go, we’re going down to Wheeling.’ This one day I said, okay dad. On the way down I said, everything you bet, I want to bet. It was raining cats and dogs out – golly! So I pulled up so he’d go up the steps and I said, I’ll be right in as soon as it stops raining. It rained and it rained and it rained, alright, it finally stopped and I get out and I’m on my way up the steps and he’s coming down. ‘Come on, let’s go!’ I said, what? I said come on, I said it’s only the third race. He said, ‘yeah I know, I’m ready to go.’ I said wait a minute. ‘Well I hit the daily double, I hit the first race, and the second race – time to go.’ He showed me this wad – I said, oh no, you didn’t bet for me? He says, ‘aw here,’ gives me a hundred [laughs]. He was too much, he was too much… He loved the thoroughbreds… thoroughbred racing was it – he loved that. Waterford Park, Wheeling Downs – that was his thing – that was his pastime I guess you could say.”

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Woman, possibly Ida May Mauney, on horseback patting horse's neck, seen from the ground, c. 1930-1970, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.5479 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Woman, possibly Ida May Mauney, on horseback patting horse’s neck, seen from the ground, c. 1930-1970, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.5479 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

We have not found any images of actual horse races in the Teenie Harris archive yet; instead he captured personal images with horses and documented military and equestrian events for the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper:

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Two men seated on horses, with audience in background, at track, c. 1938-1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14762 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Two men seated on horses, with audience in background, at track, c. 1938-1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14762 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of Ninth Cavalry on horseback lined up in park, July 1942, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.6810 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of Ninth Cavalry on horseback lined up in park, July 1942, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.6810 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

And in one of his longer photo series of over two dozen images, he thoroughly documented a horse show that was a benefit for Hill City (a social services and youth leadership agency) that took place in Hunt Armory in Shadyside in November 1945:

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group of men standing in Hunt Armory preparing for horse show benefit for Hill City, January 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39069 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group of men standing in Hunt Armory preparing for horse show benefit for Hill City, January 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39069 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, William Bell wearing suit and hat, leading horse "Little Beau" with polka dot bridle, posed in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.12064 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, William Bell wearing suit and hat, leading horse “Little Beau” with polka dot bridle, posed in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.12064 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Billie Spellman holding reigns of spotted horse with saddle and bridle, seated on straw in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.8716 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Billie Spellman holding reigns of spotted horse with saddle and bridle, seated on straw in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.8716 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Portrait of man wearing hat and patterned necktie, posed holding reins of horse pulling cart, in Hunt Armory during horse show, with police officers and American flag in background, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39074 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Portrait of man wearing hat and patterned necktie, posed holding reins of horse pulling cart, in Hunt Armory during horse show, with police officers and American flag in background, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39074 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Four men, and woman wearing dark suit, necktie, and hat, holding reins of horse and "Champion" ribbon, posed in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39055 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Four men, and woman wearing dark suit, necktie, and hat, holding reins of horse and “Champion” ribbon, posed in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39055 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Thelma Lovette YMCA


ymca2On Saturday February 15, 2014, the Thelma Lovette YMCA in Pittsburgh’s Hill District celebrated its second year with an outstanding Black History month event, centering on the theme “From Which We Came.” The Teenie Harris Archive was invited to display the myriads of photos which Teenie shot in and around the old Centre Avenue YMCA, bearing witness that this original community center was, in fact, the “hub of the Hill” in its heyday.

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Established in 1923, it was noted that the first YMCA (at the Corner of Centre Avenue and Francis Street) opened before both the NAACP and the Urban League held branches in Pittsburgh. The many distinguished speakers discussed the fact that the YMCA had been THE place to meet for not just sports events, but organization meetings, society soirees, cotillions, youth groups, plays, and much more. Dr. Leon Haley, who has written a book on the history of the Centre Avenue YMCA, gave an insightful presentation on what went on in the Y, for many decades. There was a Black Civil War Drum Corps reenactment led by John Ford, a performance by the Miller School of African Dance and Drum Troop, as well as elected officials such as city councilman Daniel Lavelle and Bill Robinson giving commendations. Thelma Lovette YMCA executive director, Aaron Gibson, gave a wonderful speech voicing both his, and other board members hopes—that the new facility will come to reflect the positive community bonding of the older facility.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Capt. Charles B. Hall standing in convertible car between Joseph M. Guffey and David L. Lawrence in Independence Day parade, with broadside on telephone pole in background advertising Louis Jordan at the Savoy, on Centre Avenue at Francis Street in front of YMCA, Hill District, July 4, 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.9794 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Capt. Charles B. Hall standing in convertible car between Joseph M. Guffey and David L. Lawrence in Independence Day parade, with broadside on telephone pole in background advertising Louis Jordan at the Savoy, on Centre Avenue at Francis Street in front of YMCA, Hill District, July 4, 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.9794 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

In the coming months, the Teenie Harris Archive will have a permanent display of several historic images on the internal walls of the new Y. However, for this event, the Harris Archive displayed 4 poster boards with over 70 images (and two notebooks with even more images) of people enjoying the facilities of the old Y. One book centered solely on Teenie Harris capturing the philanthropic work of Mrs. Thelma Lovette in his lens. As a result of our display and chatting with guests, the Harris Archive received more than 30 new identifications of people and events. Many were very sentimental about the images of swimmers, basketball games, ping pong and boxing matches, dance classes, voter registration drives, and teen parties. I even found one of my own mother, doing “calisthenics” in the 1940s. Patrons were eager to share their treasured memories of what they loved about going to the Y. (I was particularly amused to hear about the many courtships begun at this central location.) So once again I’m happy to say the Teenie Harris Archive offered insight and reflection on a most historic Pittsburgh venue.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Group portrait, from left, seated: James F. Clarke, Thelma Lovette, Theodore "Ted" Brown, K. Leroy Irvis, and William Finch; standing: Leroy Wilcox and William E. "Bill" Miller, gathered in interior with leaf patterned curtains and mirror during primary election campaign, April 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.47750 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait, from left, seated: James F. Clarke, Thelma Lovette, Theodore “Ted” Brown, K. Leroy Irvis, and William Finch; standing: Leroy Wilcox and William E. “Bill” Miller, gathered in interior with leaf patterned curtains and mirror during primary election campaign, April 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.47750 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Father Donald McIlvane, Dec. 19, 1925–Feb. 16, 2014


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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of four men, including reporter to left, Reverend Jimmy Joe Robinson, William “Bouie” Haden, second from right, and Reverend Donald McIlvane on right, outside large church or city building, July–August 1967, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4693 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

The Rev. Donald McIlvane, a retired Roman Catholic priest and staunch ally to the underserved, passed away February 16, 2014. Father McIlvane was not only a worldwide religious leader, but unquestionably, a compassionate Civil Rights soldier, as well. Although Rev. McIlvane was an unlikely candidate to become a radical priest, having come from a well-to-do family, he served and lived alongside the needy, suffering many similar life experiences, even to the point of being mugged.

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Protesters, possibly including Nate Smith on megaphone in front of, others, including James McCoy, Matthew Moore Sr., Vince Matthews, Herbert Bean, Dr. Charles Greenlee, Rev. Donald McIlvane, Charles Kendall, Charles Michaels, Mike Desmond, Byrd Brown, Gabby Russell, and Pauline Hall demonstrating against discrimination at US Steel in front of Union Trust Building, Downtown, June 1966, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.5867 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

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Protesters, including Rev. Donald McIlvane, and other ministers, picketing slum housing in front of Rittle Rosfeld Real Estate Company, East Street near intersection of Shawano, with Weimer Tire, Four Roses billboard, and Veebee’s Cafe in background, North Side, 1967, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.7113 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

He was once quoted as saying “Martin Luther King had more influence on me than any leader in my life.” In fact he was so influenced by Dr. King, that he joined him in Civil Rights protests nationwide. His human rights efforts spanned six decades, including monitoring South Africa’s post-apartheid election, to which Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected leader.

Here in Pittsburgh, Rev. McIlvane was often seen in his clerical collar, taking part in meetings, hearings, rallies, or protest marches—all in the quest for human rights. On a personal note, I knew Father McIlvane as a youngster. I remember how diligently he worked beside my father and other local Civil Rights leaders. He impressed me as a person who would do anything to see that justice was given to everyone, be they young, old, white, black, rich or poor—he loved all people, and they felt that from him. Teenie Harris captures the essence of this dedicated servant in these dynamic photographs.

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Nannie L. Carrington and Houston Dargan carrying signs reading “We protest discriminatory seniority units at U.S. Steel”, with Father Donald McIlvane in background, leading picketers against segregation at U.S. Steel in front of Union Trust building, on Grant Street, downtown, June 1966, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.5826 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

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The 2900 Webster Avenue Block Club including in front row: Mrs. McClanahan, Lena Davis, Thelma Lovette, Lucille Anderson, Jessie Lyons, Georgia Murray, and Norvie Dolphin; back row: James Reynolds, Beatrice Bankstown, Father McIlvane, and Emily Davis at the Davis house at 2931 Webster Avenue, Hill District, 1966, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.13088 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

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Bride Victoria Janice Brown wearing pillbox style headpiece with mid length veil, and groom Leon Bryan Jr. wearing eyeglasses, facing Elder Nelson A. Bliss and Father Donald W. McIlvane, gathered at altar in St. Richard Roman Catholic Church, July 1966, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.19625 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive