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October 1938 at the Alamo. "Mildred Irwin, saloon singer at North Platte, Nebraska. She entertained for 20 years in Omaha before coming to North Platte." Medium-format safety negative by John Vachon. View full size.
Letter from John Vachon to his wife, Penny:
October 29, 1938
Last night I had an adventure. Of the 1st water. To have it I had to get kind of stiff. And I did, dear. Pretty plastered. But it was all in the line of duty, eminently legitimate and justifiable. About eight o'clock I went into a corner saloon. It was a saloon in the grand tradition. I drank only beer, but great gobs of it. At the piano was a big huge large fat blonde woman of 45 to 50 yrs. With beautiful smeary red makeup on her puss, and huge mammy type bosoms. And her voice, O that you could hear her voice. She has Sophie Tucker in the wastebasket . . .