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Guide to the Claire Yaffa Children with Aids Photograph Collection
1987-2010 (bulk 1990-2000)
  PR 290

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Susan Kriete

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on March 21, 2016
English

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Yaffa, Claire
Title: Claire Yaffa Children With Aids Photograph Collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1987-2010
Dates [bulk]: Bulk, 1990-2000
Abstract: This collection consists of photographs by Claire Yaffa of children with AIDS, taken over a ten-year period at the Incarnation Children's Hospital in the Bronx. Also included are a series of 1991 photographs of the potter's field on Hart Island, where many of these children are buried.
Quantity: 2.67 Linear feet (5 boxes, 7 flat folders)
Location note: Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections.
Call Phrase: PR 290

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Biographical/Historical note

Claire Yaffa is a freelance photographer, noted for her social realism. Her photographs portray society's less fortunate -- the homeless, the aging, the handicapped -- and focus especially on the problems of child abuse and neglect. Her work has been exhibited at the Hudson River Museum, the International Center of Photography, Sarah Lawrence College, the White Plains Museum Gallery, the United Nations, and other galleries throughout America.

Yaffa's photographs have been published in The New York Times, The Daily News, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. She has photographed for a variety of medical organizations including the National Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities, Bronx Lebanon Hospital and Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. She has also published two monographs of her reportage work: Reaching Out (1987) and  A Dying Child is Born: The Story of Tracy (1992).

More recently, Yaffa has changed her focus from photojournalism to more poetic subjects. Her work has been published by Ruder Finn Press in three monographs, described as a series of visual poems: Moments (2004),  Life's Dream (2006), and  Divertissement . . . I Dreamed a Dream (2008).

In addition to taking pictures, Yaffa has served as photography editor of Westchester Magazine and photography coordinator of the United Nations Women's Arts Festival. She has also served on the Board of Directors of ICP's Archival and Acquisition Committee. In 1995, she received the Westchester Arts Council Award.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection is comprised of photographs and documents from a series Yaffa began in 1990 documenting children with AIDs at the Incarnation Children's Center ("ICC") in the Bronx.

In the mid-1980's, a growing number of children with HIV/AIDs were abandoned, orphaned, or removed from their parents because of drug use, neglect or abuse. The foster care system, already overburdened with crack cocaine babies, was unable to find foster parents willing to care for these children. As a result, these so-called "boarder babies," who had nowhere else to live, languished in New York City's hospital wards and in many cases died before foster homes became available.

In response to these conditions, ICC opened in 1989 as a hybrid medical/foster care facility for children born with AIDs. Housed in a four-story red brick former convent in upper Manhattan, ICC provided a homelike residence for HIV-positive children until they were placed in foster homes, or for some of the sickest children, until they died.

Claire Yaffa began photographing the children and staff at ICC in 1990 and continued to document them over the next decade. Exhibitions of this work were mounted at Sarah Lawrence College, the Cleveland Museum of Health and Science, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Neuberger Museum, and Fait et Cause in Paris, France. Yaffa also produced a monograph documenting the 13 month life span of a child born prematurely with the AIDS virus and abandoned by her mother, titled "A Dying Child is Born."

The bulk of the photographs in this collection are portraits of individual children treated at ICC, very few of whom survived. Often they are shown with the staff and volunteers who cared for them. Also included are a series of photographs taken at Camp Compass, a week long retreat in 1995 for children treated at ICC, and at the potter's field on Hart Island, where many of the children treated at ICC were buried. While the majority of the photographs are gelatin silver prints, there are also some color snapshots. Numerous contact sheets include many images that were not printed, providing a more comprehensive view of ICC activities.

The collection also includes one box of documents pertaining to ICC, exhibitions of Yaffa's photographs, and children with AIDS generally.

Arrangement note

This collection has been organized into the following three series:

Series I: Photographs
Series II: Contact sheets
Series III: Documents

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Access Points

Subject Topics

  • Abandoned children--New York (State)--New York
  • AIDS (disease)

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Gift of Claire Yaffa, 2012.

Access restrictions

Open to qualified researchers. Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to:

Department of Rights and Reproductions
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194
rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org
212-485-9228

Permission to reproduce or quote text from this collection in a publication must be requested from and granted in writing by the Library Director, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194.

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation note

This collection should be cited as: Claire Yaffa Children With Aids Photograph Collection, PR 290, Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series I: Photographic prints

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1A Folder : 1 Tracy/ A Dying Child is Born
1990 - 1991
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Tracy/ A Dying Child is Born
1990-1991
Box: 1A Folder : 2 Anthony V.
1990 - 1992
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Anthony V.
1990-1992
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Anthony V.
1990-1992
Box: 1A Folder : 3 Devonne
1990 - 1999
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Devonne
1990-1999
Box: 1B Folder : 4 Gilbert
1990 - 1991
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Gilbert
1990-1991
Box: 1B Folder : 5 Aisha
undated
Box: 1B Folder : 6 Angelica
1990, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Angelica
undated
Box: 1B Folder : 7 Annette G.
undated
Box: 1B Folder : 8 Annette S.
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Annette S. (color snapshots)
undated
Box: 1B Folder : 9 Anthony
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Anthony
undated
Box: 1B Folder : 10 Brenda
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Brenda
undated
Box: 1B Folder : 11 Donald
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Donald
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 11 James
undated
Box: 1B Folder : 12 Josephine
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Josephine
undated
Box: 1B Folder : 13 Karen
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Karen
undated
Box: 1C Folder : 14 Natalie
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Natalie
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 15 Trevaris
undated
Box: 1C Folder : 15 Vincent
undated
Box: Flat files Folder : 1 Identified children (exhibition prints)
undated
Box: 1C Folder : 16 Unidentified girls
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 16 Unidentified girls
undated
Box: 1C Folder : 17 Unidentified boys
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Unidentified boys
undated
Box: Flat files Folder : 2 Unidentified children (exhibition prints)
undated
Box: 1C Folder : 18 Group shots at ICC
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Group shots at ICC
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Group shots at ICC (color snapshots)
undated
Box: 1C Folder : 19 Caregivers (women)
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Caregivers (women)(includes color snapshots)
undated
Box: 1D Folder : 20 Caregivers (men)
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Caregivers (men)
undated
Box: Flat files Folder : 3 Caregivers (exhibition prints)
undated
Box: 1D Folder : 21 Hands
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Hands
undated
Box: Flat files Folder : 4 Hands (exhibition prints)
undated
Box: 1D Folder : 22 Medical treatment
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Medical treatment
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Medical treatment
undated
Box: Flat files Folder : 5 Medical treatment (exhibition prints)
undated
Box: 1D Folder : 24 Dr. Nicholas
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Dr. Nicholas (includes color snapshots)
undated
Box: 1D Folder : 25 Camp Compass
1995
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Camp Compass (color snapshots)
1995
Box: 1D Folder : 26 Memorial services
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Memorial services
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Exhibitions (color snapshots)
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Quilts (color slides)
undated
Box: Flat files Folder : 6 Potter's field, Hart Island
1991

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Series II: Contact sheets, 1989-2000

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 1-5 Contact sheets
1989-2000
Box: Flat files Folder : 7 Mock-up boards
1991 April - 1996 March, undated

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Series III: Documents

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Correspondence, bills and receipts
1990 October - 2002 July, 2011 April 20, undated
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Claire Yaffa biographical material and proposals
1998, undated
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Incarnation Children's Center
1990 - 2000, undated
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Profiles of children, interviews and memorial services
1988 September 28 - 2000 February, undated
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Dr. Stephen Nicholas
1990 March - 2010 June
Box: 5 Folder : 6 Camp Compass
1995
Box: 5 Folder : 7 Exhibit, A Dying Child Is Born
1992 October - 1994 January, undated
Box: 5 Folder : 8 Exhibit, Children with AIDS: An Endangered Species
1993 July - 1994 May, undated
Box: 5 Folder : 9 Exhibit, Un conte de vie et de mort
2002 April - August, undated
Box: 5 Folder : 10 Articles about AIDs/children
1987 April - 2009 June, undated
Box: 5 Folder : 11 Potter's Field, Hart Island
1987 September - 2010 October, undated

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