Summary: In the mid 1970s, John Hanson Mitchell discovered over two thousand antique glass plate negatives in the attic of an old estate in Massachusetts. At the time, he believed the photographs to be the work of William Brewster, the nineteenth century ornithologist and conservationist. But, as a result of a tip from a Harvard research assistant, Mitchell came to believe that the plates were the work of Brewster's assistant, a little-known African American named Robert Gilbert. In his quest ...show more to uncover the story of Gilbert, Mitchell's trail leads from the labyrinthine archives of Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology to the countryside of Virginia; from the haunts of American expatriates in Paris to the culturally rich world of African Americans in Boston at the turn of the last century. Gilbert remained as illusive as the pale image on the original glass negatives that he created more than a hundred years ago, but with careful deconstruction, Mitchell was able to make visible this invisible man. The investigation of the haunting photographs of landscapes and people slowly brings Gilbert into focus as a quiet, unassuming Renaissance man who forged on in the face of social pressures and the iron ceiling of American racism. ...show lessEdition/Copyright: 05
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