Tuesday, August 17, 2010

E. Simms Campbell: A Nightclub Map of Harlem (1932)

E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971), an African American cartoonist, drew the above map of the places to go in Harlem circa 1932. Mike Thibault originally posted this, after a great deal of searching

"I was at my friend Jojo’s house about a year and a half ago, watching some old VHS tapes of dance stuff she had. Among the home movies she had was a taped documentary featuring Cab Calloway. He was checking out this amazing cartoon map of Harlem from back in the 30’s and remembering all the places. Since then I’ve been trying to find a readable copy of it. A while ago I found that the title is “A Nightclub Map of Harlem” and it was drawn in 1932 by E. Simms Campbell, a cartoonist who went on to great success with his drawings in Ebony Magazine.

"... Cab Calloway made a joking comment about what a deal those marijuana cigarettes seemed at the time of filming, '2 for $.25.'"

Campbell had a long list of major league clients for his gag cartoons (Esquire, The New Yorker) and this is a major find by Mike. Click to supersize.

Hat tip to Frank Jacobs at Big Think, who provides more historical background, including the fact that A Nightclub Map of Harlem was used as endpapers for Cab Calloway's 1976 autobiography.

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