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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.


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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.

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