A novelist, critic, and promoter of the arts, Carl Van Vechten was also an avid portrait photographer, beginning when he first acquired a Leica camera in 1932. By 1939, he had made it his mission to photograph every notable African American working in the arts. Van Vechten’s prints, donated to the Library of Congress and Beinecke Library, as well as other individuals and institutions, number in the tens of thousands. His subjects included dancers, actresses, writers, artists, activists, singers, social critics, educators, journalists, socialites, and aesthetes.