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Monkmeyer Photo Service

  • Name:
    Monkmeyer Photo Service
  • Alternative names:

    Monkemeyer, Monkmayer

  • Kind of Organisation:
    Photo Agency
  • Introduction:

    The Monkmeyer Photo Service photo agency was founded around 1935/36 by the German émigrés Hilde and Paul August Monkmeyer in New York City.

    Word Count: 23

  • Content:

    Paul August (1882, Hanover–1975, New York) and Hilde Monkemeyer (born Neumann) (1907, Berlin–2001, New York) were both born in Germany. In 1932, after finishing her doctorate in Berlin, probably in economics with the title Probleme der freien oder gebundenen getreidewirtschaft, insbesondere in Deutschland, Hilde Monkemeyer worked as a journalist in Berlin. No more information on her life, or that of her husband Paul August Monkmeyer, is available.

    As Jews, it is presumed that they emigrated to New York in the mid-1930s and, in 1935/36, founded the Monkmeyer Photo Service photo agency. The agency was located on 225 Fifth Avenue, not exactly in Midtown Manhattan like other émigré photo agencies like Black Star, PIX, Rapho Guillumette, European Picture Service, Camera Features and Three Lions, but in central Manhattan nonetheless.

    Almost no information on the agency's specialisation or how it was run exists today. However, in Minicam magazine, issue October 1941, Monkemeyer was listed among agencies and photo service suppliers providing colour photo services in New York. Attached was the following description: the agency “buys 4x5’’ and larger Kodachromes of girls and children, paying $35.00 and up per shot. Does not want landscape and still-lifes” (Bailey 1941, 22). Black Star agency was described as specialising in “action shots of pretty girls, children and sports” (Bailey 1941, 22), PIX photo agency as being interested in “picture stories and shots of famous places in the United States”, while European Picture Service was described as offering a “good market for color pictures of babies and girls, preferably beach and outdoor shots for cover use” (Bailey 1941, 22).

    Little research has been done on which photographers were commissioned by Monkmeyer. Reportages by the German émigré photographers Carola Gregor and Fritz Henle were credited with Monkmeyer. Other photo agencies founded by émigrés such as Black Star, PIX, Rapho Guillumette, European Picture Service, Camera Features and Three Lions acted as a network between émigré photographers and the American and worldwide magazine and photo publishing market, so it can be assumed that other émigrés as well as American photographers worked for Monkmeyer. During the 1950s the American photographers Nancy Campbell Hays, Roy Pinney and Georgia Engelhardt, as well as the German photographer Carl Strüwe, were represented by the agency. Monkmeyer existed until 2000 and acted within a worldwide network.

    Word Count: 370

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    225 Fifth Avenue, New York City (1935–1960s); 15 East 48th Street, New York City (1960s/1970s).

  • Signature Image:
    Logo of Monkmeyer Photo Services (Photo: Helene Roth)
  • Bibliography (selected):

    [url=https://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/21/classified/paid-notice-deaths-monkmeyer-hilde-ruth.html ]Anonymous. "Paid Notice: Deaths Monkmeyer, Hilde Ruth.“ The New York Times, 21. Februar 2001[/url]. Accessed 03 March.2022.

    Ahlers, Arvel W. Where & how to sell your pictures. Photography Publishing Corp., 1953.

    Bailey, Philip H. “How to sell … Color.” Minicam, October 1941, pp. 20–22.

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

    Word Count: 62

  • Archives and Sources:

    Word Count: 10

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Date of Founding:
    1935
  • Date of Disbandment:
    2000
  • Participants (selection):

    Carola Gregor, Fritz Henle, Nancy Campbell Hays, Roy Pinney, Georgia Engelhardt, Carl Strüwe.

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Helene Roth. "Monkmeyer Photo Service." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2948/object/5145-11021891, last modified: 04-03-2022.
  • Carola Gregor
    PhotographerSculptor

    The German émigré photographer Carola Gregor was an animal and child photographer and published some of her work in magazines and books. Today her work and life are almost forgotten.

    Word Count: 30

    Portrait of Carola Gregor (cutout of her papers of naturalisation).
    Petitions for naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York of Carola Gregor (Naturalizations, box 1018-1020, cert. no. 513486-513958, 9-12 Apr 1945, Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009, RG 21. National Archives at New York, familysearch.org).Homer- The Hydrophobic Duck by Carola Gregor published in U.S. Camera 1943, p. 63 (Photo: Helene Roth).Portrait of Fritz Goro by Carola Gregor, published in Life, 13 September 1937, p. 104 (Photo: Helene Roth).Photograph of Amazonian birds by Carola Gregor for the brochure Pavilhão do Brasil. Feira Mundial de Nova York de 1939, pp. 11–12 (Photo: Helene Roth).Mending Nets by Carola Gregor, published in Popular Photography, October 1942, p. 40 (Photo: Helene Roth).A gleaming spider by Carola Gregor, published in Popular Photography, August 1948, pp. 81–82 (Photo: Helene Roth).Reportage “Liger. A lion and a tigress produce a new kind of zoo baby” with images by Carola Gregor, published in Life, 20 September 1948, p. 109 (Photo: Helene Roth).Reportage “Liger. A lion and a tigress produce a new kind of zoo baby” with images by Carola Gregor, published in Life, 20 September 1948, pp. 111–112 (Photo: Helene Roth).War Manpower Commission. Farm labor poster distributed to Department of Agriculture. Photograph by Carola Gregor (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives).
    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
    PIX Publishing Inc.
    Photo Agency

    PIX Publishing Inc. was a photo agency founded in New York in 1935 by photo agent Leon Daniel and Celia Kutschuk, together with German émigré photographers Alfred Eisenstaedt and George Karger.

    Word Count: 30

    Letterhead of PIX Inc. – Correspondence Daniel Leon with Fred Stein, 1943, cropped detail (© Fred Stein Archive).
    Letterhead of PIX Inc. – Correspondence Daniel Leon with Fred Stein, 1943 (© Fred Stein Archive).Mention of PIX Publishing in a photographic guide (Ahlers 1953, p. 46).
    New York
    Rapho Guillumette
    Photo Agency

    Founded in 1940 by the emigrant Charles Rado (1899–1970), Rapho Guillumette was a picture agency.

    Word Count: 13

    Rapho Guillumette agency letter to Fred Stein, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    Three Lions Inc.
    Photo Agency

    Little is known about this photo agency, which was founded by two German émigré brothers, Max Georg and Walter Löwenherz in 1937 in New York

    Word Count: 25

    Logo of Three Lions Inc. (© Center for Creative Photography, Marion Palfi Archive, AG 46:1A).
    Mention of Three Lions in a photographic guide (Ahlers, Arvel W.. Where & how to sell your pictures. Photography Publishing Corp., 1953, p. 46).Job advertisement of Three Lions published in Aufbau magazine, 1. September 1939, no. 16, p. 26 (Photo: Helene Roth).Advertisement of Three Lions (Billboard, 11 February 1967, p. 37).
    New York
    Camera Features
    Photo Agency

    Camera Features was a photo agency founded by the photographer Werner Wolff and other colleagues of the photo agency PIX.

    Word Count: 20

    Camera Features stamp (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).
    New York
    European Picture Service
    Photo Agency

    The European Picture Service was a photo agency located in Midtown Manhattan founded, probably in 1930, by the émigré photographer Max Peter Haas (1901–1985).

    Word Count: 22

    Letterhead of European Picture Service, November 1938 (© Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG 90:4).
    Norman C. Lipton. “20 exciting years with a miniature.” Popular Photography, September 1949, pp. 46–47 (Photo: Helene Roth).Images by Max Peter Haas for European Picture Service on gunfight near 5th Avenue (Daily News, 15 January 1914, p. 123).Second article of Max Peter Haas for European Picture Service on gunfight near 5th Avenue (Daily News, 15 January 1914, p. 562).
    New York
    Fritz Henle
    Photographer

    Fritz Henle was a German Jewish photographer who emigrated in 1936 to New York, where he worked as a photojournalist for various magazines. He also published several photobooks of his travels throughout North America and Asia.

    Word Count: 35

    Portrait of Fritz Henle by Herbert Matter, New York, 1937 (© Estate Fritz Henle).
    Fritz Henle, New York at Night, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).Fritz Henle, New York Reflections, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).Fritz Henle, The L Train on Wall Street, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).Fritz Henle, Brooklyn Bridge and Baby Carriage, New York, 1936's-1950 (© 2021.Fritz Henle Estate)Fritz Henle, New York Skaters from the RCA Building, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).Fritz Henle, New York Art Critic at Washington Square, New York, 1936–1950s' (© 2021. Fritz Henle Estate).“The American Legion takes New York City.” Life, 4 October 1937, pp. 24f.Photographs by Fritz Henle for the reportage “Memo to: Walter Wander, Subject: 52nd Street.” Life, 29 November 1937, pp. 64–67 (Photo: Helene Roth).Cover of Paris photobook by Fritz Henle (Ziff Davis, 1947).“Men who love Paris. Fritz Henle and Elliot Paul combine pictures and text in a handsome book about their favorite city.” Popular Photography, January 1947, pp. 60–61.Norris Harkness. "Simplicity. Fritz Henle’s fashion shots prove that the easy way is often the most effective." Popular Photography, August 1944, pp. 36–37.Victor Kepler. “There’s adventure in night photography.” Popular Photography, August 1942, pp. 28–29.Cover of Fritz Henle’s rollei (Hastings House, 1950).Cover photo by Fritz Henle, Life, 30 July 1939.
    New York