William Edward Elcha (1885–1939) was an African-American photographer known for his Jazz Age Broadway photographs of Harlem performers and celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s. The Harry Ransom Center has his photographs in its collection. He also partnered with Percy Tappin, and The National Museum of African American History and Culture has a photo postcard from their studio of the Jenkins Orphanage Band from Charleston, South Carolina.
Elcha apprenticed with Springfield photographer photographer George Van Norman. He established his own studio in 1913. In 1915 he joined Aime Dupont Studio, a performing arts portrait studio in Manhattan where he worked for two years before joining Bachrach Studio and then Strand Studio in 1918. He partnered with J. Montanya in 1920 before becoming New York staff photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier. Elcha had various other studios and partnerships during his career.
He also painted, including nudes, and was busted by New York Society for the Suppression of Vice in 1930, but a judge Simpson referred to his paintings Sleeping Venus, Springtime, and Annunciation as masterful and he was back in business. He photographed Bessie Smith and her funeral procession, Helene Denizon, Kay Hamilton, Don Dickerman, Eva Tanguay, and Johnny Hudgins. In the summer of 1928 he became the Majestic Theatrical Circuit's photographer. He operated Progress Studio.
Elcha died of a heart attack November 3, 1939 at his home at 225 West 112th Street.
- "Scholar explores rich collections of stage photographs April 8, 2014 By Gabrielle Inhofe". sites.utexas.edu.
- "NMAAHC Collections Search". National Museum of African American History and Culture.
- "Edward Elcha | Broadway Photographs". www.broadway.cas.sc.edu.
- Albertson, Chris (March 1, 2005). "Bessie". Yale University Press.
- "Johnny Hudgins". International Center of Photography. February 25, 2016.
- Eddie Elcha's Harlem Stage, Photo Essay, 1920s (2007) American Legacy