Monday, May 13, 2013

The photo on the top right of this blog

A friend, Jim Migdoll, asked me to comment on the photo displayed at the top right of my blog and say where it can be found. The image is duplicated above, and can be clicked to enlarge.

It was taken at the home of Ivy Duce in Washington, D.C. by Harold Chase Davis (Chase Studio) on July 30, 1956. It is a detail from one of four portraits taken at the time. Of the four below it is the bottom right.

This is the one
"A renowned Washington photographer named Harold Chase Davis had been called by Ivy, and he took four portraits of Baba, two more of him in front of the fireplace, and one of Baba with the four men mandali." (Lord Meher, 1986 print edition, p. 5045)

A little more on the Chase photographs.

The first in this series can be seen enlarged in the background of this photograph of Mehera Irani on her porch in Meherazad (India). The photo of Mehera was taken by Win Coates in the 1980s.

The second of this Chase series is found in the frontispiece of Baba's book God Speaks, 2nd Edition, 1973 to present.

Of interest is the cropping of the photos. Below a screen capture shows that the second photo in the series above is cropped from a more complete torso.

Uncropped original framing
Cropped in God Speaks
The full photo at the top of this blog can be purchased here at Sheriar Books Online. It is printed by Meher Nazar Publications. Their website is here.

Once again, the photo at the top right of this site is from the one on the right.

Lord Meher says Chase Studio took three additional photos besides the four shown above: a photo of him with the men mandali and two of him in front of the fireplace. The one with the men is shown just below, and beneath it is one of the two of him in front of the fireplace. The one shown was found by Dru Swinson at the Meher Center Library, in Charmian Knowles' book Spread My Love, facing page 119.

Meherjee, Eruch, Baba, Adi, Dr. Nilu
Washington, D.C. 1956, Duce's home
Baba in the Duce's living room, 1956
The last of the photos (right), which is the second one taken of Baba in front of the fireplace mentioned in Lord Meher, was found by Anthony Zois of MeherBabaTravels in the magazine GLOW INTERNATIONAL, November 2004, p. 3.

On the subject of Chase Studio, there is the following footnote in Lord Meher, 1986 print edition, p. 5045.
Working in Washington, D.C., throughout his career of forty years, Harold Chase Davis photographed several of the Presidents of the United States, as well as several economic, social and political world leaders.
I attempted to locate a mention of Harold Chase Davis or Chase Studio (in Washington or anyplace else), and could find nothing. If anyone has any information on Chase Studio, please comment.

Chase Studios portrait of House
Speaker Sam Rayburn
Update 5-14-13

A commenter sent a link to a photo of U. S. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn (1882–1961) taken by Chase Studios.

"In God We Trust"

A friend called me and informed me of an interesting piece of worthwhile trivia connected with these photos.

The Chase photos were taken at the home of Ivy Oneita Duce, at 3201 Woodland Drive, Washington, D.C., on July 30, 1956. On this particular trip Baba was only in Washington, D.C. that one day.

Concerning that particular date, the following is lifted from Wikipedia (retrieved 5-14-13).
In 1956, the nation was at a particularly tense time in the Cold War. As a result, the 84th Congress passed a joint resolution to replace the existing motto with "In God we trust". The law was signed by President Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, and the motto was progressively added to paper money over a period from 1957 to 1966. The United States Code at 36 U.S.C. § 302, now states: "'In God we trust' is the national motto."
The added irony of this is that one of these photos taken that day in Washington eventually became the frontispiece photograph in Baba's book God Speaks.

Update 8-27-14

This update is possible due to the hard work of Jess Maron. It is a clip from the Business-Finance section, p. C-14, of The Sunday Star of Washington, D.C., dated October 17, 1971. Much gratitude for the dedication of Mr. Maron.

Update 8-31-14

Just after the above clip was added, poet and Persian translator Bill Gannet added the following comment beneath, that I don't want to lose.
In 1976 or so I went to Chase Studios and purchased a print of Baba from the series mentioned above. I don't remember his name, but it must have been Harold Chase Davis, the man who photographed Baba, because he told me that Baba had given him a pair of his sandals.  — Bill Gannett

Update 9-15-14

Finally I am adding a collage of all seven Chase Studio photos taken in Ivy Duce's home in Washington, DC by Harold Chase Davis. All seven are available for purchase from Meher Nazar Publications in India. A few, in very large format, printed from original negatives by Laurence Reiter (1946-2007), who originally bought the photos from Chase, are still for sale at Sheriar Books in Myrtle Beach. Shipping is available.

All seven Chase Studio photos
Click image to enlarge

Update 5-22-15

Below is a Google Street View of the house at 3201 Woodland Avenue, Washington D.C. where the Chase photos were taken – at that time the home of Terry and Ivy Duce.

3201 Woodland Ave. Washington, D.C.



    Only quick thing i found- this Chase photo of Sam Rayburn..

  2. In 1976 or so I went to Chase Studios and purchased a print of Baba from the series mentioned above. I don't remember his name, but it must have been Harold Chase Davis, the man who photographed Baba, because he told me that Baba had given him a pair of his sandals.

  3. Hi Chris...Thank you for this excellent post! I have learned so much from your scholarship and always look forward to your perspective on all matters Baba! I got my very much loved painting of Baba from a garage sale in Myrtle Beach and I believe that it is an artists rendition one of the photographs you have covered in this post. What do you think?

    1. Yes it is the same image as the one the God Speaks photo is taken from. I do not recognize who the artist is.