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Country Barber: 1941

Country Barber: 1941

April 1941. "Mr. J. H. Parham, barber and notary public, in his shop in Centralhatchee, Heard County, Georgia." Photo by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Pop. 200

The population of Centralhatchee in 1940 was approximately 200, so I would presume that Jep Parham was the only barber in town.

I miss barbershops

Not stylists, not chain haircut franchises, not "men's salons"... just plain old barbershops. A snarky barber, three or four of the gentry sitting and discussing the state of the union, 14 year old magazines on the table. You just don't find them anymore.

Old-school barber

I’m old enough to have gone to classic barbers like this, and the photo evokes so many positive memories. I love the stuff on his shelves. And those bottles of dark liquid immediately trigger a cavalcade of smells, not to mention the sound of the barber slapping it in his hands and applying it to my freshly-shaven neck. I’m just putting two and two together and wondering if the not-unpleasant smell I associate with older guys from the olden days was partly due to the smell of these magical potions and fluids. (Thank you, Shorpy, once again, for awakening and clarifying features of my life from long ago.)

Look down before looking up

A string of posted licenses and certificates; enough reserve Colgate stock to last a year; and the prestige of a notary public commission -- all the trappings of a high-status pillar of the community...

... but the farmer's got WAY better shoes than the barber.

Just what this country really needs

Are more barber shops. Instead of calling for an appointment how does six weeks from today sound? I liked walking into a shop and hearing two ahead of you.


Jeptha Howard Parham was born in Georgia on June 23, 1886, to Charles (1864-1948) and Mollie Virginia Bell (1867-1907). He married Cora Lee Adams in 1905; they had one son, Austin Hershal (1908-1970), a WW2 vet.

Jep was a four-time mayor of Centralhatchee, serving in 1925, 1930, 1931 and 1935. According to his WW1 draft registration he was of medium build and height, had light brown hair and blue eyes.

Cora died in 1972, Jep in 1974.

Maybe there's one just out of sight --

My grandfather was a country barber for most of his adult life. I remember his shop very well. What's missing in this shop is a spittoon.

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