July 26, 2021

Woman shares father’s photos from 1950s Chicago nightclub

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman is sharing intimate photos that showcase an era in history that many may not have seen. They were taken by her father, a professional photographer for a Chicago nightclub in the ’50s. 

Carol Nave shared them exclusively with CBS4’s Eric Pointer. 

She says she wants them to honor her father’s legacy. The photos have been in boxes too long she says and she wants people to see them and for them to live on. 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, for Carol Nave the hundreds of photos from her father speak volumes about him. 

When asked, what goes through her mind when looking at them, she responded,  “Very proud. I’m very proud. I’m very proud of my father.” 

Her dad James Nave was the main photographer for Robert’s Show Club on the South Side of Chicago in the late ’40s, 50’s and early ’60s. 

“Dad was just a people person. He was funny. He was a jokester,” she said. 

His lens, capturing a lot of familiar faces and the history that goes with them. 

Giving a snapshot into that moment in time. A glimpse into the past that few have experienced. 

“Every time I look at the pictures, I see something that I’ve never seen,” Nave said. 

“I even pulled up Sammy Davis Jr. on the internet, there’s none with him in the dressing room relaxed. My father snapped him.” 

Aside from the famous faces, like boxers Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson, Nave says the pictures also show many moments that still resonate today. Like the inclusion of all races and LGBTQ representation, with transgender women and drag queens. 

“So they weren’t discriminating back then. And it was during the Civil Rights when all of this was going on.” 

She says she just wants the pictures to been seen, so they can be appreciated and the people in them identified. 

“It is important. It is important to me. It is important to them and it should be important to everybody. Because somebody knows who these people are.” 

The photos all have a stamp on the back of them, and she says she has the negatives to prove ownership. 

We’ve reached out to a few museums and other spaces, but if anyone knows of anywhere that would be able to give these photos an exhibit, you can email eric pointer at epointer@cbs4indy.com.