jamaican photography

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Jamaican actress and socialite Blanche Dunn photographed by Carl Van Vechten in Harlem, New York 1940-1941.

Blanche Dunn, born in 1911 she arrived in Harlem as a teenager and became a chorus girl in the Broadway musical Blackbirds Of 1930, she also had a small role in the film adaption of Eugene O’Niell’s play, The Emperor Jones in 1933 starring Paul Robeson. Blanche was the “It” girl of the Harlem Renaissance. She was a mainstay at Carl Van Vechten’s legendary parties, she was guaranteed a table at the exclusive Harlem speakeasy Hot Cha, she dined at the haute downtown spots, shopped in Paris, attended the horse races and as noted by the legendary Harlem Renaissance writer and painter Richard Bruce Nugent:

“at all the Broadway first nights. A party was not a party, a place not a place, without Blanche.”

In 1940 she moved to Whale Cay, purchased by Bahamian British oil Magnate and speed boat champion, Marion Barbara ‘Joe’ Carstairs , they partied with likes of Marlene Dietrich and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor before she moved back to Harlem. In 1953 she went on a nine month vacation that included Paris and the Riviera. She ultimately married and relocated to a villa in Capri.