Photograph of Princess Orelia and Pedro with the "Cuban Congo Dancers"

Photograph by
Kriegsmann, James J., 1909 - 1994
Subject of
Benskina, Princess Orelia, Panamanian American, 1911 - 2002
Unidentified Man or Men
Owned by
Cathrell, Laura, 1914 - 1999
ca. 1938
silver and photographic gelatin on photographic paper
H x W (Image): 7 1/2 × 9 5/16 in. (19 × 23.6 cm)
H x W (Sheet): 8 1/8 × 10 in. (20.6 × 25.4 cm)
A silver gelatin print depicting a black-and-white image Princess Orelia and four (4) men in costumes with conga drums. Orelia is depicted lying on her side, on the floor, with her head and shoulders raised off of the ground. She is wearing a white feathered costume and has a flower in her hair, tucked behind her proper right ear. The men are crouched behind her. Each man is wearing a loin cloth, beaded necklaces, and feathered headdresses. Each man's face is painted in a different style of light and dark geometric designs. Three (3) of the men are playing drums, while the fourth has his arms crossed over his chest. Near the top center of the image is an inscription in black ink that reads, [To "Laurie" / You'll always be remembered / & best wishes always / Sincerely / "Orelia & Pedro" / 44]. A signature printed in the negative in the bottom right corner reads, [James J. Kriegsmann, / NY.] A handwritten inscription in black ink in the top left corner of the back of the image reads, [770 St. Mik. Ave / N.Y.C. / #76. Ed. 410737.].
Objects depicting racist and/or stereotypical imagery or language may be offensive and disturbing, but the NMAAHC aims to include them in the Collection to present and preserve the historical context in which they were created and used. Objects of this type provide an important historical record from which to study and evaluate racism.
Place made
New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
Cultural Place
Cuba, Caribbean, Latin America, North and Central America
Collection title
The Laura Cathrell Show-Down Magazine Collection
Media Arts-Photography
Racist and Stereotypical Objects
gelatin silver prints
Latin jazz (Music)
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
Unknown - Restrictions Possible
2 image(s)