1936, 1938. Two unusually artistic photograph albums filled with collage photographic images of New South Wales, the South coast, and New Guinea. Adorned with poetry, philosophy, wit and wisdom, and the author's personal commentary written in gold ink to accompany the photographs of a man identifying himself as 'The Vagabond', in his travels through Australia and New Guinea in 1936 and 1938.
The author of these albums is unidentified except by his pseudonym. There are several snapshots of the man, who looks to be in his 50's or 60's, or lived hard in the years he's wearing. Several of the poems give us clues that he is an American, working and traveling in Australia in 1936 and 1938.
"I've swum the Colorado where it runs down near to hell,
I've been jerked around with many a locoed (?) cow
I've mixed it with some tough Guys down along the Rio Grande
But You ought to get an eyeful of me now.
The albums are inscribed to two different women - 'Bettie' in 1936 and 'Margie' in 1938.
The album inscribed to Marge ends with his portrait and this poem:
I have sweltered in the Tropics
And knew Alaskan snow
And rode with Pancho Villa
Years ago in Mexico
Swallowed in the ...
Was with Chiang in old ...
And here I am in Waterfall
Just look me over now.
Ever yours, The Vagabond. 23/3/38
So Long Marge, someday, someplace on another Star, I'll be seeing you, L'il Pal"
In total, 118 b&w commercial photographs that have been artfully torn, edged in gold and collaged with caption and verse in gold ink to make each page a work of art. These images are from Samuel Wood's postcard series, as ascertained by some of the captions & postcard numbers which remain visible. The images are mostly views of Sydney, including the harbor, Rushcutters Bay, Kirribilli Point, Neutral Bay, Apsmans, Mosman's Bay, botanical gardens, Hyde Park, Government House, squares and memorials, street scenes, St. Mary's Cathedral, and "the bridge that ruined a beautiful harbor"; Palm Beach, Balmoral Beach, Adelaide Dam, Burrinjuck Dam, scenic views of the Hawkesbury River, the bush, Kiama Blowhole, Fitzroy Waterfall, Careel Head; two Aboriginal boys with boomerang and wooden spear, native warriors with scarring, and a tribal chief; animals such as kangaroos with the caption: 'A kangaroo is an attempt of Nature to produce a safe pedestrian,' koalas, kookaburras, and non-native animals at the Sydney Zoo; New Guinea: Malay Bear, a "sheik" of New Guinea (prince), native boat race, 'A New Guinea Belle' with the caption: 'You may talk about your flappers in the good old USA, but just get an eyeful of 'em from down New Guinea way', Port Moresby.
Additionally, there is a 4pp greeting card loosely inserted into the larger album inscribed to 'Margie' and entitled, "Aborigianalities From Australia" with 5 photos edged in gold of an aboriginal man and the caption 'King Billy of "The Mookii"' and a short poem by "The Vagabond". The handmade card measures 3.75 x 6". The poem inside the card indicates a personal relationship with "King Billy."
"Staunch as his build in his Friendships-
Bitter in hates beside
And he helped the Luck - of the Vagabond -
When the luck of the Vagabond died.
There are 27 vernacular photographs taken by the author, including three of aborigines.
Commercially available photograph albums, black card covers, string bound, with embossed covers, the smaller from 1936 (10 x 7"), 24 leaves (images on both sides), horses and chariot on front; the larger from 1938 (12.5 x 9.25"), 15 leaves, embossed with a rugby scene. Photos range in size approximately from under 1 x 1" to 3.5 x 5.5". Covers slightly bumped/rubbed at corners, dusty but altogether very good condition. The smaller album has one chip at bottom edge of back cover. Interior very clean and neat, written in gold ink, faded on some pages but legible.
An extraordinary piece of folk art. Very good condition. Item #22510