Sharp-eyed reader, long-time friend, and diligent collector Rob Rothberg noticed that the photograph of Lucille Hall and Vic Dickenson showsn in an earlier post was credited to the Sheffield studios.  with typical generosity, he offers his Sheffield portrait study of a handsome Vic. 

Rob wants to know if the “Maceo B. Sheffield” credited here is also the pioneering African-American actor, 1897-1959.

I also would like to know more about Maceo Bruce Sheffield (or Scheffield), who appeared as “Chief of Wazini” in the 1921 silent THE ADVENTURES OF TARZAN.  He also acted in and produced films between 1939 and 1947. 

Patt Morrison, writing in the Los Angeles Times in 1999, confirms that he was multi-talented: “movie serial stuntman, the West’s first Negro aviator, LAPD cop and opera impresario.”  I read elsewhere that Sheffield was a police officer before he became an actor. 

A man who knew something of photography, backgrounds, and poses might have opened his own portrait studio.  In the University of Massachusetts at Amherst W.E.B. DuBois archive, there’s a photograph of DuBois and others credited to Sheffield in 1951.  I found that Vera Jackson (a pioneering Black woman photojournalist) first worked in Sheffield’s studios.  But does anyone know more?

For now, I’ll just gaze happily at Vic.  Thanks, Rob!



  1. LAPD Officer, huh?

    How about this, from the website, in reference to “Sheffield Blues” by Reb Spikes and his Legion Club 45s:

    The dialogue on “Sheffield Blues” which goes as follows:

    Les Hite: Who is it ?
    William Calhoun : Officer Sheffield, every tub. Throw it in the sink.

    At the end:
    Les Hite: Get in the wagon.

    The officer was Officer Maceo Sheffield (died c.1963) who was known as a character and active in enforcing Prohibition laws.

  2. Obviously this man deserves a biography . . . although I couldn’t even find an obituary notice online. Then again, I might have to do that most old-fashioned thing and go to a l****ry and look at a b**k! Cheers and thanks, Hal

  3. donte sheffield

    maceo sheffield is my great grandfather, if you want to know any thing about him you can ask me

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s