Justine Cordwell Collection
Justine Cordwell (née Johnson) was born in Berkeley, California in 1920 and studied at University of California—Berkeley, the Art Institute of Chicago, and completed her doctorate at Northwestern University under Melville Herskovits. Cordwell was one of the first PhD students to enter the Program of African Studies, which she did in that same year. The following year, in 1949, she set out for Western Africa to photograph wood carvers and other sculptors, essentially to conduct research for her dissertation. The majority of these images were taken by her on this trip, with the rest being taken on subsequent research trips. Cordwell traveled to Nigeria, Benin, and Ivory Coast to conduct research, funded by a Rockefeller grant. Recorded Nigerian locations include Lagos, as well as several smaller, remote, and even (formerly) tribal areas including Yoruba, Shagamu-Remo, Abeokuta City, Ijebo-Igbo, and Iperu. While there she visited various locations and photographed textiles, sculpture, pottery, metalwork, and other tribal art objects, as well as people going about their daily business, buildings, and infrastructure. Her account of this journey, which includes her journals and correspondence between herself and Herskovits, can be found in the Melville Herskovits Papers, Northwestern University Archives. Cordwell received her doctoral degree from Northwestern in 1952.
The images on this web site are from material in the collections of the University Archives of Northwestern University Libraries, are provided for use by its students, faculty and staff, and by other researchers visiting this site, for research consultation and scholarly purposes only. Further distribution and/or any commercial use of the images from this site is not permitted. IN COPYRIGHT.