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Nathan, Sleepy and Weldon: 1942

Nathan, Sleepy and Weldon: 1942

From February 1942, another of Arthur Rothstein's photos of the Drake family entertaining at a Saturday night dance for the Farm Security Administration's resettlement camp at Weslaco, Texas, home to many farm families displaced by the droughts and bankruptcies of the Dust Bowl years. The fiddle player is Nathan Drake; on banjo and guitar are his sons Jasper ("Sleepy") and Weldon. Thanks to Jasper's daughters Connie and Janette for providing the names. View full size. (I'm having a Shorpy family moment here, having heard from the photographer's daughter, Annie Rothstein-Segan, and now Jasper's daughters. Life is a circle.)


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Banjo History

The four-string (tenor or plectrum) banjo is actually later than the five-string.

Tenor Banjo

It is interesting that the banjo is the older style 4 string tenor banjo, not the more modern 5 string banjo. You don't see those very often these days. Compared to the 5 string banjo it's tuned differently and the style of playing is different. Usually it is strummed rather than fingerpicked.

Drake family

This photo is in the book "Picturing Texas." It's the only one we thought existed. I am sure Annie is having a blast seeing all the pictures her Dad took! Thanks to him we all have just a few more memories!

[Yes, we owe Arthur Rothstein a lot for all that hard work. There are a few more Drake photos in the Library of Congress archives. I'll post as many as I can find. Click here  for the gallery. - Dave]

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