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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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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Guitar Lesson: 1940

The Guitar Lesson: 1940

August 1940. "Farmer playing guitar on the porch in the evening. Near Natchitoches, Louisiana." Medium format nitrate negative by Marion Post Wolcott for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Ms. Walcott

Shorpy has posted so much of her work but I believe this one has become my favorite. What a terrific photograph. Thanks Dave for posting it.

[You're welcome. And her name is, ahem, Wolcott. - Dave]

Maybe a Regal

I've looked closely at that guitar and my guess is that it's a late-1930s Regal as in the attached photo. I'm basing that on several things: The headstock shape and the fact that the maker's name can't be seen, the fretboard dot-marker pattern, the tailpiece type, the segmented F-holes, and the two screws holding the pickguard. Can't see the bridge, which would have been a floating one.

There were so many of these great archtops made back then and they often didn't stay consistent in style from one guitar to another from the same maker.

My first thought was Epiphone, then a Gibson-made Cromwell or Kalamazoo, but the fretboard dots just didn't seem to match.

Would have loved to hear this gentleman play it, no matter what it is. By the way; the price of such a guitar in 1940 would have been around $15. You can find them now for $500 to $800.


Natchitoches- Pronounced nah-codish, or nah-coh-doches in Texas. This name is not to be confused with Nacogdoches, its sister-city in Texas, Natchitoches is a main street community in the central part of Louisiana. It has a history of being the oldest settlement of the Louisiana Purchase.


You guys can have everything else; I want the catalog archtop guitar and the little kitty.

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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