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Sam Cherry photographs of the Black Cat Café, San Francisco, Calif. [graphic].
BANC PIC 2012.101--B
Collection Overview


Sam Cherry photographs of the Black Cat Café, San Francisco, Calif


Cherry, Sam., creator


Photographs of scenes inside the Black Cat Café, a bar on the outskirts of San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. One image, titled "Portrait of my wife, Clare", depicts an artist sketching the portrait of a woman seated at his table. The other, "Saturday afternoon", depicts three musicians performing for a small group of customers, including two sailors in uniform.


1941 (issued)


Cherry, Clare -- Pictorial works
Black Cat Café (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Pictorial works
Bars (Drinking establishments) -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Nightlife -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs


Titled, dated and/or signed by photographer: Sam Cherry.
Title devised by cataloger.
Sam Cherry photographs of the Black Cat Café, San Francisco, Calif., BANC PIC 2012.101, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Gift ; of Neeli Cherkovski; 2012.
Sam Cherry was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1913. After his family moved to California, he began to practice photography, documenting the Great Depression and, in the 1940s, the bohemian cultural scene of San Francisco. Cherry later became close friends with writer Charles Bukowski. In the 1960s Cherry opened Cherry's Bookstore and Art Gallery in San Bernardino. Later photography projects included the documentation of the destruction of California's citrus industry, and the inhabitants of Los Angeles' Skid Row. Sam Cherry died in 2009. His wife Clare Cherry (1919-1990) was an educator and author who specialized in early childhood development and the practice of art in early childhood education. Some of her books are illustrated by her husband's photography. Sam and Clare's son Neeli Cherkovski is a San Francisco-based poet and biographer.
The Black Cat Café originally opened in 1906 and closed in 1921. With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 the bar reopened. In the 1940s the bar became a popular gathering place for the city's growing bohemian culture. (The Black Cat served as the inspiration for "The Bohemian Bar" in Jack Kerouac's novel On the road.) At the same time, the bar also began to attract a large openly gay clientele. From 1948 until its final closure in 1964, the Black Cat Café and its owner Sol Steumen would be at the nexus of a series of legal battles which would prove to be decisive struggles in the early gay rights movement in San Francisco and beyond.



Physical Description:

1 folder (2 photographic prints) : 41 x 51 cm




BANC PIC 2012.101--B