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Black Star Publishing Company London

  • Name:
    Black Star Publishing Company London
  • Kind of Organisation:
    Photo Agency
  • Introduction:

    The 1936 New York-founded Black Star Publishing Company photo agency opened a European branch in London the same year in response to the high demand for foreign images in the U.S.

    Word Count: 31

  • Content:

    The Black Star photo agency was founded in New York in 1936 by the German émigrés Kurt Kornfeld, Kurt Safranski and Ernest Mayer and quickly developed into a network of émigré photographers and magazines in the city.

    Little is known about the European branch of Black Star in London. As the demand for foreign images was high in the US and networks to European photographers were needed, Black Star opened, in the same year as its founding in New York, a branch in London (Mayer 1951, 126). Ernest Mayer's mother, Mathilde Mayer, wrote on the London branch in her book and memoirs The Alte und die Neue Welt (Mayer 1951). The letterhead of a letter from Kurt Kornfeld to the photographer Erich Salomon bears the London address “Clifford's Inn. Fleet Street”. Ernest Mayer was named as one of the directors, together with the German K.J. Behrens and the British G.B. Minushull. Fleet Street was the area where the headquarters of most newspapers, magazines and photo agencies were located - also the émigré newspaper Die Zeitung was only a five minute walk away from Black Star. The Press Photo History Project is doing research on photo agencies located in Fleet Street, where the London branch of Black Star is also mentioned.

    The Strand Palace Hotel, where Kurt Kornfeld, Kurt Safranski and Ernest Mayer resided during their stays in London, was only a short walk away.
    How long the London branch ran or whether it was closed during World War II is not known.

    Word Count: 251

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Cliffords Inn, Fleet Street, Holborn, London EC4.

  • Signature Image:
    Letterhead with address of Black Star branch in London. Brief von Kurt Kornfeld, Black Star, New York an Erich Salomon, 13.01.1938 (Erich Salomon Archiv, Berlinische Galerie © Erworben durch das Land Berlin aus Mitteln des Bundesministeriums des Innern, Bonn, 1980).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Kornfeld, Phoebe. Passionate Publishers. The Founders of the Black Star Photo Agency. University of Missouri Press, 2021.

    Mayer, Mathilde. Die Alte und die Neue Welt (1951). Arbeitskreis Jüdisches Bingen, 2003. [Original text was completed in 1951 by Ernest Mayer’s mother while in exile in New Rochelle, New York.]

    Word Count: 46

  • Archives and Sources:

    Photographic Collection, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.

    Word Count: 5

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Date of Founding:
    1936
  • Metropolis:
    London
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Helene Roth. "Black Star Publishing Company London." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/1470/object/5145-11066717, last modified: 23-09-2021.
  • Die Zeitung
    Newspaper

    From 1941 to 1945, the émigré German-language newspaper Die Zeitung was published in London, reporting on the war on the continent and on the situation in Germany.

    Word Count: 25

    Front page of Die Zeitung, 7 April 1941 (Photo: Private Archive).
    Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], Quislings (I.): “Qui mange du Papen, en meurt", in Die Zeitung, 29 March 1941, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], Quislings (IV.) Tiso: Das Vorbild des Balkan-Quislings [Model of the Balkan Quisling], in Die Zeitung, 17 April 1941, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], “Seit vielen Monaten war ich zum Schweigen verurteilt” [For many months I had been condemned to silence], in Die Zeitung, 2 July 1941, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], B.D.M., in Die Zeitung, 8 July 1941, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], Mussolini, in Die Zeitung, 6 August 1941, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], Heinrich Himmler, in Die Zeitung, 27 October 1944, p. 4 (Photo: Private Archive).Walter Trier, Des Führers Ahnengalerie [The Führer’s Ancestral Gallery] in Die Zeitung, 3 September 1941, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).Walter Trier, Der Führer: “Komm nur weiter, wir sind sicher bald oben!” [Keep coming, I’m sure we’ll be up there soon!] in Die Zeitung, 22 September 1941, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).Walter Trier, Die Ingredientien einer Hitlerrede [The Ingredients of a Hitler Speech], in Die Zeitung, 3 January 1942, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).Walter Trier, Himmler, Dr. Petiot: “Was? Lumpige 54 Morde? Anfänger!” [What? A measly 54 murders? Rookie!] in Die Zeitung, 3 January 1942, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive). Walter Trier’s final illustration for Die Zeitung, dedicated to a fictional conversation between a serial killer (Petiot) and a mass murderer (Himmler).
    London
    Kurt Safranski
    Picture AgentFounding MemberTeacherCartoonistPublisherIllustrator

    Kurt Safranski was one of the founding members of the Black Star photo agency, a teacher at the New School for Social Research and the author of photojournalistic articles and books.

    Word Count: 31

    Portrait of Kurt Safranski with his wife Maria and daughter Tina Safranski, photographer unknown, n.d. (© Heirs of Kurt Safranski).
    Cover of Selling Your Pictures by Kurt Safranski (Ziff Davis Publishing Company, 1940).Kurt Safranski “Backgrounds.” Minicam Photography, July 1945, pp. 52–53 (Photo: Helene Roth).Kurt Safranski. “Dr. Salomon.” Popular Photography, August 1948, pp. 56–57.Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism" course by Kurt Safranski in New School Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 9, 1944, p. 84 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism. Photographs as a Language and their special Problems" course by Kurt Safranski at the New School for Social Research, Spring 1949 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York).
    New York
    Kurt Kornfeld
    PublisherPicture AgentFounding Member

    Kurt Kornfeld was a publisher and literary agent and a founding member of the Black Star photo agency in New York City after his emigration in 1936 to New York.

    Word Count: 29

    Portrait of Kurt Kornfeld, 2 May 1938, New York (© Heirs of Kurt Kornfeld).
    Visitenkarte von Kurt A. Kornfeld, Black Star, Strand Palace Hotel, London an Erich Salomon, n.d (Erich Salomon Archiv, © Sammlung Berlinische Galerie, Erworben durch das Land Berlin aus Mitteln des Bundesministeriums des Innern, Bonn, 1980, Repro: Anja Elisabeth Witte).
    New York
    Ernest Mayer
    Picture AgentFounding MemberPublisher

    Ernest Mayer was co-founder of the Black Star Publishing Company photo agency, which built a network for émigré photographers and the American magazine scene from the mid-1930s until the end of the 1950s.

    Word Count: 34

    Portrait of Ernest Mayer at the Black Star Office, December 1936, New York (© Heirs of Kurt Kornfeld).
    Signature by Ernest Mayer in a letter to Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Walt Sanders and Alfred Kornfeld, son of Black Star cofounder Kurt Kornfeld. Sheldrake Lake, New Rochelle, NY, November 1939 (© Heirs of Kurt Kornfeld).
    New York
    Black Star Agency
    Photo Agency

    The German émigrés Kurt S(z)afranski, Ern(e)st Mayer and Kurt Kornfeld founded Black Star in 1936. The photo agency established was a well-run networking institution in New York.

    Word Count: 31

    Letterhead of Black Star (Black Star Archive. Ryerson Image Center, Photo: Helene Roth).
    Logo and Stamp of Black Star Photo Agency (Photo: Helene Roth, 2019).Description of Black Star in a photographic guide (Ahlers, Arvel W.. Where & how to sell your pictures. Photography Publishing Corp., 1953, p. 45).Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).Facade and entrance of the Graybar Building on Lexington Avenue (Photo: Helene Roth, 2018).Cover of Selling Your Pictures by Kurt Safranski (Ziff Davis Publishing Company, 1940).Black Star contract by Fred Stein, April 1, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism. Photographs as a Language and their special Problems" course by Kurt Safranski at the New School for Social Research, Spring 1949 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York).Letterhead with the logo and address of Black Star (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York