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About the Photos

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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

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.

 

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.

Nomination

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.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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