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Medicine Show: 1935

Medicine Show: 1935

October 1935. Medicine show at Huntingdon, Tennessee. View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Ben Shahn for the Farm Security Administration.


Medicine Show

This is more likely to be a medicine show. A minstrel show performer would be much more elaborately costumed, and would probably (though not always) be a white performer in blackface.

Medicine shows often featured music and comedy playlets, almost always including a black stock character, and black musicians, all costumed much more rustically (as here). Indians were most often employed to lend credibility to the medicine's origins in the "natural healing arts of the Red Man".

Or Minstrel Show?

Medicine Shows were in the 1800s, mostly, and sold medicine--snake oil--and tended to use Indians. This appears to be a minstrel show instead?

[The caption cards for this and a similar photo both say medicine show. - Dave]

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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