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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 • LAKE GARDA, ITALY

Jazz Cats: 1925

Jazz Cats: 1925

Washington, D.C., circa 1925. "Petworth Orchestra." National Photo Company Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.

 

Petworth Pianist

The piano player is probably the man holding the music roll. The leader always used to play piano or violin, because they were usually schooled musicians and could direct while playing.

Wouldn't be surprised if one of the fiddlers doubled, probably banjo. You HAD to have a banjo.

Now what or where was "Petworth"?

[It's a neighborhood in northwest Washington. - Dave]

Real Skin Skins

I haven't seen a calfhide drum head for a long time. Thankfully mylar was invented and I never had to deal with hide heads, which were a tuning nightmare as the weather changed. Also of note are the 16 tension rods on a snare drum. Old technology crappy wood hoops required so many to keep the tension even all the way around, whereas these days even cheap standard pressed metal rims only need 8 or 10. Oh, and the ends of real gut snares can be seen sticking out from the left side - another problem when the weather changed.

Old Band Photos

More photos of old bands, please! I always enjoy trying to imagine what the sounded like.

No Accordion!

I grew up in a Polish community on the East Coast and our local jazz band had three accordions, all members of the same family. Yes, "Lady of Spain" always brought the house down. And the Schmenge Bros. with John Candy and Eugene Levy did not seem that strange to me. But there appears to be two violins in this jazz band and that seems to be a little bit different. I love the enthusiasm and happiness shown by all of these musicians, like they can't wait to start the party. And they are so well-dressed too. Thank you for one more picture to ponder.

 
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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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