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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Tahlequah Revival: 1939

Tahlequah Revival: 1939

July 1939. "Group of people assembled under tree to listen to revival rally on Saturday afternoon. Tahlequah, Oklahoma." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration.

 

Mandolin

UncleJimmyPie: Yes, that's a National RM1 - 98% certain of model from hole pattern and tailpiece. In well-restored condition, worth something over $2K today. I don't know the 1939 price, but it was probably under $50, possibly under $40.

Amazing Grace

In the South, that would have been called "Singing all day, and Dinner on the ground."

In the early '70s I traveled with friends down to southern Illinois to a family reunion for the wife's grandmother. The next day we went down into southeastern Missouri for her family reunion, held in a pine forest.

The weather was "hotter than Dutch love," as my mother used to say. I was wearing cutoff Levi's and a tattoo on my shoulder that reads "CFMartin & Co.," and I must have looked like an orangutan to those country people. All of one side of the family were Christian folks, and members of a sect that didn't allow instrumental music in church. They were wearing proper dresses, with the men in black pants and long-sleeved white shirts, buttoned all the way to the collar.

I was playing guitar with the family black sheep, a whiskey-drinking fiddler named Tommy, and the church folks all gathered round on folding chairs to listen. After I'd sung a hymn, one of the older ladies leaned forward and asked, "Can you sing 'Amazing Grace'? I believe we could all sing that with you."

Which they did, a cappella, in perfect shape-note harmony, sounding like the very wind in the trees.

I still shiver.

Revival

It's just like a Renoir!

Priming the Pump

Amen! Plunged beneath that cleansing flood over 100 times! Mercy!

Priming the Pump

I nominate Goober Pea's anecdote as the most charming personal recollection yet posted to Shorpy.

Often Dunked

My paternal grandfather was a gospel preacher in the southern states from the 1930's through the 1980's. I would often travel with him on his summer "tent meeting" tours in the 1960's and 70's. After he preached hellfire and brimstone for an hour or two in the humid southern summer evening air, he would call for folks to come down to be saved with a river or stocktank baptism. If we got to the third verse of "Just As I Am" and nobody had come forward, I took the cue and walked down the center aisle between the folding chairs to prime the pump. I've been baptized (full-dunk immersion, fully clothed) more than 100 times.

Amen.
Goober Pea

Wow, a National (probably) resonator mandolin

The intense young lady at the right is holding a National resonator mandolin, guaranteed to cut through that crowd's most fervent rendition of "Amazing Grace." A rare instrument, fairly pricey even back then. I once owned a modern replica and it was a rowdy raucous little beast. I hope she's havin' more fun than she's lettin' on.

 
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Shorpy.com | 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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