Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer Matthew Lewis to exhibit and speak October 19, N&R columnist Jeri Rowe to moderate discussion

Sometimes, a picture is worth more than a thousand words.

Combine a picture with the story of four generations of African American photographers, and you have even more: an eye on history.

Matthew Lewis was the first photographer at the Washington Post ever to win a Pulitzer Prize when he did so in 1975 for a portfolio of his color pictures. Now “retired” and living in Thomasville, NC, Lewis is coming to the University Libraries at UNCG on Wednesday, October 19 at 5 pm in the Jackson Library Reading Room to display and talk about some of his favorite photos for an event moderated by News & Record columnist and Friends of the UNCG Libraries Board member Jeri Rowe.

The list of famous people photographed by Lewis ranges from Muhammed Ali to Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Included are politicians , musicians, celebrities and movie stars. All his photos, says Lewis, have a story. He is an enthusiastic man, with many stories. As he speaks, one senses that Lewis has enjoyed photographing the Thomasville Bulldogs football team as much as he did photographing Martin Luther King, several presidents, and the Queen of England.

Matthew Lewis joined the faculty of Morgan State College in 1957 as an assistant in the audiovisual department and a public relations photographer. He began free-lancing for the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper in 1963, covering events such as the funeral of John F. Kennedy and the 1963 March on Washington. He became a staff photographer for the Washington Post in 1965 and was later the Assistant Managing Editor of the photographic department for eleven years before retiring from the Post in 1990 after 25 years. He became a freelance photographer for the Thomasville Times in 1994 and later became their staff photographer.

Lewis’s grandfather, Harvey James (HJ) Lewis, born in 1878 the son of indentured slaves, began making photographs for picture postcards in the Pittsburgh area in 1896, and built a studio in his backyard in 1905. There he became a noted chronicler of city life and social scenes, and established himself as a portraitist and color photographer, continuing to work until his death in 1968. Three more generations of his family, including Matthew Lewis, have been photographers, creating a legacy than spans more than a century. Matthew Lewis will display some of his grandfather’s photographs and talk about them as well.

Honoring Mom

Ms. Anne Courts Herman ’87 has established The Carol Walker Courts Children’s Literature Preservation and Acquisition Fund for the University Libraries in honor of her mother.

Anne’s mother graduated from Woman’s College with a degree in Physical Education in 1947. Because of her love of books and reading, she came back to UNCG to get her M.Ed. in Library Education in 1968. Mrs. Courts served as a librarian for almost 30 years in the High Point school system including Griffin Elementary School and Andrews High School. Anne received a Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981, then earned an M.L.S. at UNCG in 1987. She served as a librarian for 12 years at Summit School in Winston-Salem and currently works at Cash Elementary.

Anne honors her mother’s love of libraries with a gift that will continue to provide ongoing support for acquisitions and the preservation of children’s literature. The fund will be used to support the Girls Books and Series and the Early Juvenile Collection in the Special Collections of the University Libraries at UNCG. Says Bill Finley, Head of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Department: “This gift will not only enhance two important collections in Special Collections through future acquisitions but will enable us to take care of the significant books in these collections to ensure their perpetuity. Children's books are notoriously well used and fragile, and proper preservation--especially of older works--is as crucial as acquisition to the enrichment of these valuable collections. This thoughtful gift will enable these collections both to grow and to remain useable for future scholars and readers.”