Van Vechten, Carl (1880–1964) By Vogel, Shane
Carl Van Vechten (b. 17 June 1880, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; d. 21 December 1964, New York City) was an American writer who wrote about music, modern dance, and literature and authored seven novels. He was an early professional dance critic in the USA. An important patron of African-American artists in the 1920s and 1930s, he guided numerous young writers through New York’s publishing houses and promoted black vernacular music and artistic achievement in venues such as Vanity Fair. In addition to his literary work, Van Vechten was also an accomplished photographer who took portraits of hundreds of prominent artists, writers, and performers. While his own creative output was substantial, one of his signal contributions to early-twentieth-century culture was as an archivist; his meticulous collection of material, ephemera, and images was organized and donated to a number of libraries.