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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 Singing Cowboys: 1939

The Singing Cowboys: 1939

June 1939. Big Horn County, Montana. "Cowhands singing after day's work. Quarter Circle U Ranch roundup." Medium format acetate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

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Quarter Circle U

Nice article with more photos and history of this and other Montana ranches.


I want a Marlboro.

Preston on tenor

That's an interesting guitar that Preston Cronkite is playing. It's a 12-fretter (the body join is at that fret rather than the 14th fret that is more often seen nowadays) tenor guitar. Doesn't look like a Martin to me, as the soundhole rosette is fancier than the top binding would dictate. Maybe a Harmony. No pickguard.

I've owned a couple of old tenor guitars and never could decide how to tune the darned things. His is likely tuned as a regular guitar (EADG strings only), as he seems to be fingering a G chord. Most players tuned them like a tenor banjo (CGDA), I believe.

The fellow on the left may be playing harp, so let's call him Harpo.

And on guitar

Walter Cronkite.

[I see Preston Foster. -tterrace]

Clever flash placement

It even appears to be further concealed with propped-up firewood. And I bet everyone but the harmonica player was vision impaired for the rest of the evening!

Well then

That means that Harry Carey is sitting just to his left. Maybe it's a Ford Production.

[Harry Carey Jr., maybe. -tterrace]

Indeed, my error!

Somebody tell me

that's not Gary Cooper in the center.

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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