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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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Guitar Hero: 1941

Guitar Hero: 1941

April 1941. "Entertainers at Negro tavern. South Side Chicago." On the left is Lonnie Johnson, noted bluesman and pioneering jazz guitarist. Who are the others? Medium format safety negative by Russell Lee. View full size.

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Nice photo

Great to see such a sharp photo of Lonnie from that period. Too bad he abandoned the acoustic guitar—not to mention the 12-string.


for the "Handsome Rakes" category. Yowza!

Another Night to Cry (1963)

Not Forgotten

I have one of his old 78's. "Tomorrow Night". Beautiful song. Smooth bluesman. I believe he could have been the forerunner of guys like Nat Cole, Charles Brown, and even T-bone Walker.

Lonnie Johnson Trio

This is most likely the trio formed by Lonnie Johnson in Chicago in the late 1930s, with Andrew Harris on the string bass and Dan Dixon on rhythm guitar at far right. Harris also played baritone sax and Dixon supplied vocals along with Johnson. The trio recorded four songs on acetate at the Boulevard Lounge in 1940.

Herringbone D-28

If you had that old Martin on the right today in that condition you could retire.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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