Circa 1860 Molineaux Hewlett Photo - First African-American on the Harvard Staff

Sold For: $0

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 2323

Item Year: 1860

Category: Football/Basketball/Hockey/Boxing/Other Sports

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Original oval photograph (5.75 x 7.75 inches) picturing Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett, who was the first African-American to join the Harvard University staff, where he served as the director of the Harvard Gymnasium from 1859 to 1871. He also taught boxing, gymnastics, and weightlifting. The photograph, which is believed to have been taken in 1860, has been mounted onto a cardboard backing that bears a vintage pencil notation along the base reading "Molineaux Hewlett/Professor of Gymnastics-Boxing/Harvard-1866." The photographer's credit, "Warren Photo" appears in the lower left corner of the mount. This is a famous photo of Hewlett and one that has been reprinted countless times, including issues of the Harvard yearbook during the years of his employment. The photo pictures him in formal attire as he sits in the gym amid the tools of this trade, including boxing gloves, Indian clubs, dumbbells, and a large medicine ball. (Interestingly, it is believed that this is the earliest photo taken in the United States that pictures a medicine ball.) The photo remains in Near Mint condition, but the mount (10 x 13 inches) displays a chip in the lower right corner, a few small edge tears, minor creases (mainly in the border areas and corners), light surface wear, and areas of surface paper loss on the reverse from having once been mounted in an album. Reserve $200. Estimate (open).

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