“An Old Faded Photograph”; Rex Griffin; Decca (5269 B); Publication date: March 2, 1936

In a “special feature presentation of the American Art Festival, the symposium on photography,” in the “first annual American Art Festival,” about a dozen photographers answered and discussed the perennial question, “What Is Modern Photography?” It was held at MoMA and broadcast on WNYC, on either October 20th or 30th, 1950.

An audio recording is here:

NYC Municipal Archives



It was moderated by Edward Steichen, “Director of the Department of Photography MOMA.” The “top ranking” photographers who were present (Margaret Bourke-White, Walker Evans, Gjon Mili, Lisette Model, too frightened to read her own words, so they were read by Steichen, Wright Morris, Homer Page, Irving Penn, Ben Shahn, Charles Sheeler, and Aaron Siskind) spoke in alphabetical order, for about five minutes. Steichen talked about or quoted several photographers who were not present: Harry Callahan, Louis Faurer, Frederick Sommer, Weegee, and Edward Weston.

“Your Photograph Is All I Have (While Somebody Else Has You)”; Ralph Haines; Hoffman; Romeo (1138-B); October 1929

At 1:16:39 into the panel discussion, after (the deadly serious) Siskind and before (the deathly ill) Weston, Capt. Steichen speaks about then reads some of Weegee’s words:

…Our remaining guests are among those not present. I can’t resist bringing in the fabulous Weegee. Who is the first press photographer to move from the field of spot news reporting and become a photographic commentator. Where his original and major claims to fame were police and fire pictures their stands recorded in Weegee’s two books, Naked City and Weegee’s People a fantastic procession of human foibles and emotion. If photography did not have Weegee in the United States of America we would surely have to invent him.

And I’ve picked out some quotes from some of Weegee’s sayings:

To me a photograph is a page from life, and that being the case, it must be real. Don’t forget about anything and everything else to be human. Think. Feel. When you find yourself beginning to feel a bond between yourself and the people you photograph, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and tears, you will know you’re on the right track.

One doesn’t just go up to strange men, women, children, elephants, or giraffes and say “look this way please, laugh, cry, show some emotion or go to sleep underneath a funeral canopy,” they would have called me crazy and called the cops, who would have called the wagon with the guys in white and I would have wound up in the psychopathic ward in Bellevue Hospital in a straight jacket.

[My or Press?] Pictures are different. The photographer must be on the scene at the split second of occurrence. Here’s my formula: Dealing as I do with human beings and I find them wonderful. I leave them alone, I let them be themselves, holding hands with the love light in their eyes, sleeping, or merely walking down the street. The trick is to be where people are. All one needs to do is to be on the spot, alert, and human. I think the secret is knowing what you want. I worked for years then there were no more gangsters, no really good murders, so I got a job with Vogue doing fashion photography. [Laughter]. They always sent a girl along to make sure I didn’t steal the silverware. [Laughter.] So I got tired of fashion and so I went to Hollywood. I’ve appeared in five pictures as a street photographer. The greatest bit of casting since Lassie.” [Much laughter and applause]…

Lassie, Unidentified Photographer.

“A Faded Photograph”; Whispering Jack Smith; Charles Kenny; Nick Kenny; Richard Howard; Decca (3437 B); September 13, 1940

“I Paid My Income Tax Today”; Dick Robertson And His Orchestra; Dick Robertson and The American Four; Irving Berlin; Decca (4151 A); 1942

“Luxury Tax Blues”; Eddie Vinson And His Orchestra; Eddie Vinson; Vinson; Robinson; Mercury (8051-B); 1947

“Taxpayers’ Blues”; Bulee Gaillard and his Southern Fried Orchestra; Carroll; Gaillard; Norman Granz; Mercury (8970); 1952

The New York Times, October 18, 1935

“Max from the Income Tax”; Sophie Tucker; Ted Shapiro; Bass; Kroll; Mercury (5839); 1952

“The Brooklyn Bridge”; Frank Sinatra; Axel Stordahl; Cahn; Styne; Columbia (37288); October 1946

“LAVENDER COFFIN”; Joe Thomas His Sax And His Orchestra; Joe Thomas and Ensemble; Shirley Albert; King (4296-AA); 1949

LAVENDER COFFIN”; Lionel Hampton And His Orchestra; Lionel Hampton and Joe James; Shirley Albert; Decca (24652 B); 1949

The New York Times, October 12, 1935


Body of Frank Teitlebaum Is
Tossed From Auto in South
St. Under Brooklyn Bridge

The New York Times, October 12, 1935

“LAVENDER COFFIN”; Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra; Lionel Hampton and Joe James; Shirley Albert; Decca (BM.04272); 1949

“BROADWAY CINDERELLA”; LITTLE JACK LITTLE and his ORCHESTRA; Little Jack Little; Dubin; Warren; Columbia (3096-D); Publication date: October 16, 1935


“WHERE AM I? (Am I In Heaven?)”; LITTLE JACK LITTLE and his ORCHESTRA; Little Jack Little; Dubin; Warren; Columbia (3096-D); Publication date: October 16, 1935

The New York Times, October 16, 1935 (No known Weegee connection.)

“Hottentot Potentate”; Ethel Waters; Russell Wooding and his Orchestra; Schwartz; Dietz; Liberty Music Shop (L-188); Publication date: October 16, 1935

The New York Times, October 16, 1935 (No known Weegee connection.)

“Thief in the Night”; Ethel Waters; Russell Wooding and his Orchestra; Schwartz; Dietz; Liberty Music Shop (L-188); Publication date: October 16, 1935

“Take It Off The ‘E’ String”; Peter Piper and his Orchestra; Cahn; Akst; November 1943

PM, September 10, 1941, p.21

All Out for Weegee

Dear Editor:

Due to popular demand, Weegee’s Exhibit Murder Is My Business will continue to Sept. 13, at the Photo League, 31 E/ 21st St., from 2 to 10 p.m. daily and everybody is welcome.

Here are some comments on Weegee’s show in the comments book:

“Worth the price of admission.” P.S. admission is free.

“I’d rather see Gypsy Rose strip.”

“For people with strong constitutions and weak minds.”

New York

PM, September 10, 1941, p.21

“He’s The Best In The Business”; Terry Timmons; Charles Singleton; Howard Biggs’s Orchestra; RCA Victor (20-5227); 1953

“Life Is but a Dream”; THE HARPTONES; WILLIE WINIFIELD; Cita; Paradise (P-101-A); 1955

Life, September 30, 1940 (Weegee, [Weegee and Puggy], September 1939, “N.Y. Daily News – Acme, Int.”)

Irving (“Puggy”) Feinstein is the charred corpse under the carpet in the picture above…
Life, September 30, 1940

“Life Is a Beautiful Thing”; Evelyn Knight; Perry Botkin And The Rhythmaires; Jay Livingston; Ray Evans; Decca (27874); 1951

“Life Can Be Beautiful”; Harry James and his Orchestra; Marion Morgan; Adamson; McHugh; Columbia (37156); 1946

“Life Is a Wonderful Thing”; Sophie Tucker; Maurada; Montgomery; Shapiro; Mercury (5901); 1952

“Life Is Fine”; JIMMIE LUNCEFORD And His Orchestra; James Young; Decca (4289 A); December 22, 1941

The New York Times, September 17, 1940

“Life Is So Peculiar”; LOUIS ARMSTRONG and LOUIS JORDAN And His Tympany Five; James Van Heusen; Johnny Burke; Decca (27212); 1950

Life, September 30, 1940

Make Your Good Pictures Better…
Get a new GRAFLEX Anniversary ENGLARGER…
[$87.50 had “the same buying power” as $1,709.79 in August 2021…]
You’ll never know how good your negatives really are…

“Laughing At Life”; BILLIE HOLIDAY; N. & C. Kenny; C. & B. Todd; Okeh (5719); 1940

“BODY AND SOUL”; Duke Ellington and Jimmy Blanton; Heyman; Sour; Eyton; Green; Victor (27406-A); Publication date: October 1, 1940

Poughkeepsie Eagle, September 20, 1940


New York. Sept. 19 – (AP) – Harry (Pittsburgh Phil) Strauss and Martin (Buggsy) Goldstein were convicted tonight by a Kings County jury for the contract killing of Irving (Puggy) Feinstein last September – the second dual conviction since the breakup of Brooklyn’s notorious “Murder, Inc.”

The jury deliberated one hour and 20 minutes and returned a verdict of murder in the first degree against both defendants. The death sentence is mandatory.

Poughkeepsie Eagle, September 20, 1940, Unidentified photographers

“MR. J. B. BLUES”; Duke Ellington and Jimmy Blanton; Duke Ellington; Jimmy Blanton; Victor (27406-B); Publication date: Publication date: October 1, 1940

Daily Worker, September 20, 1940

Strauss, Goldstein
Murder, Inc.
Killers to Die

Harry (Pittsburgh Phil) Strauss and Martin (Buggsy) Goldstein , Murder, Inc. killers, were sentenced in Kings County Court yesterday to die in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison some time in the week of Nov. 4.

Strauss, 33, and Goldstein, 34, were convicted last Thursday on first degree murder charges in connection with the strangling of Irving (Puggy) Feinstein, a minor Brooklyn gangster, in September 1939.

Daily Worker, September 20, 1940

“Sophisticated Lady”; Duke Ellington and Jimmy Blanton; Parish; Mills; Ellington; Victor (27221-A); Publication date: October 1, 1940

Weegee (1899-1968), [Martin (Buggsy) Goldstein], 1937, Screenshot

“Pitter Panther Patter”; Duke Ellington and Jimmy Blanton; Duke Ellington; Victor (27221-B); Publication date: October 1, 1940

“DRUM BOOGIE”; GENE KRUPA and his ORCHESTRA; Irene Daye and Ensemble; Krupa; Elton Hill; Okeh (6046); Publication date: September 30, 1940

Peekskill Evening Star, September 30, 1940, (Unidentified photographer)

The Last Laugh on a One-Way Road

One laughing heartily, the other maintaing silence, Martin (Buggsy) Goldstein (left) and Harry (Pittsburgh Phil) Strauss enter the one-way gates at Sing Sing prison, Ossining, N.Y. The two graduate members of Murder, Inc., were sentenced to death for the murder of Irving (Puggy) Feinstein.

Peekskill Evening Star, September 30, 1940

“HOW ‘BOUT THAT MESS”; GENE KRUPA and his ORCHESTRA; Irene Daye; Krupa; Eldridge; Carpenter; Okeh (6046); Publication date: September 30, 1940

“Elevated Trains”; Major (5031 B); 1960

“Subway Trains”; Major (5031 A); 1960


Artists Mourn a Fascinating Model: Manhattan Els

By Elizabeth Sacartoff

Early in October they expect to start junking the 72-year-old Ninth Ave. El. Later in the month, the Board of Transportation hopes to get rid of the 60-year-old Second Ave. El between 59thand 129th Sts. With the Sixth Ave. El already gone and the fate of the Third Ave. line practically sealed, Manhattan’s homeliest landmarks soon will have vanished.

Whatever ugliness the elevated lines have pressed on the growing city, whatever stigma of noise, grime and poverty clings to them, they have been as natural on the face of New York as a birthmark. As the El pillars go down, recollections of past eras will depend more and more on recorded history. And the El’s most vivid historians have been the artists…

PM, September 29, 1940, p.50

“Thirty-One Miles for a Nickel The Subway Serenade”; Deek Watson And His Brown Dots; Deek Watson; Bill Tennyson; Manor (1005 B); 1945


Eisenstein Film, Lost 8 Years, Comes to N.Y.

PM, September 29, 1940, p. 52.

“The Subway”; New York University Glee Club Varsity Quartet; Harry Price; Frank Pike; John Folly; William Wolf; Roger P. Bird; New York University Book Store (1 B)

Oystermen Get Strange Hauls

Margaret Bourke-White set out to photograph an oyster fisherman’s work and found that what makes it interesting is not the oysters but the things that come up from the sea bottom with them. Here you see strange creatures the oysterman meets daily…

PM, September 29, 1940, p. 56, Photos by Margaret Bourke-White, PM Staff.

“You’re Not the Only Oyster in the Stew”; “Fats” Waller and his Rhythm; “Fats” Waller; Johnny Burke; Harold Spina; RCA Victor (20-2218-B); May 1947

PM, September 29, 1940, p. 2 (Photo by Mary Morris)

Family Album

Elizabeth Hawes…

“The Subway Glide;” Walter J. Van Brunt; Gillespie; Norman; Victor (17112-A); 1912

PM, September 29, 1940, p. 60

It’s Neither Abnormal Nor New for Women to Wear Trousers

By Elizabeth Hawes

“The land where the women wear the trousers”; Billy Williams; “Cinch” (5042); 1913

“HOORAY FOR LOVE (┬íViva el Amor!)”; Benny Goodman and his Orchestra; Helen Ward; Jimmy McHugh; Dorothy Fields; Victor (25011-B); 1935

“HOORAY FOR SPINACH”; Van Alexander and his Orchestra; “Butch” Stone; Johnny Mercer; Harry Warren; Bluebird (B-10158-B); February 16, 1939

Buffalo Currier Express, September 27, 1940


Goldstein screams as he hears
judge pronounce sentence;
Strauss remains glum

New York, Sept. 26 (AP) – Martin (Buggsy) Goldstein – who once struck terror in his victims’ hearts as executioner for Brooklyn’s bloody murder-for-profit syndicate – screamed today as a judge decreed his death in the electric chair.

“The same to you and members of your family,” he yelled hysterically.

As the 33-year-old Goldstein yammered, beside him sat his fellow-gangster, silent and glum-eyed – Harry (Pittsburgh Phil) Strauss, described by the state as a “cruel killer.”

To Die in November

Both were sentenced to die the week of November 4th by Brooklyn County Judge John J. Fitzgerald, for the “contract” slaying of Irving (Puggy) Feinstein on Labor Day in 1939. They were convicted six days ago.

As the clerk asked if he wished to speak before his sentence was pronounced, Goldstein leaped to his feet and cried:

“I want to thank the court for the charge that is sending us to our death and I only wish that the same happens to you and members of your family.

“If you can’t go to your death in a nice way, you might as well go in a bad way. I was found guilty on perjured evidence and if I die, I want to die like a man. Now go ahead.”

Third and Fourth Convicted

Solemnly, the judge decreed the sentence, and as he reached the words, “where during the week of November 4th you shall be – ” Goldstein screamed, “put to death in the electric chair.”

Then, with his voice rising to a screech, he shouted, “Hurray for me. I’ll be better off than a lot of you.”

The convictions were the third and fourth obtained by District Attorney William O’Dwyer, since he began smashing the ring which holds responsible for 83 underworld slayings…

Buffalo Currier Express, September 27, 1940

“Hip Hip Hooray”; Andy Kirk And His Clouds Of Joy; June Richmond; Henry Nemo; Milt Ebbins; Decca (4366 A); 1942

“Hooray, Hooray, I’m Goin’ Away”; Beatrice Kay; Skylar; Mitchell Avres; Columbia (37922); 1947