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The Design Observer reports: Many of us have heard of the great sound recording work by John A. Lomax, Sr., his son Alan, and his wife Ruby Terrill, as they embarked on an expedition sponsored by the Archive of American Folk Song and The Library of Congress between 1934-1950. That priceless sound archive of over 700 field recordings has given much understanding into the culture of our nation, which was enhanced by their snapshot photographs taken along the way. If you haven’t heard about this archive, I warn you of the enjoyable amounts of time that can be spent listening to these early blues and folk singers and musicians. Take this one, Lost Train Blues, for example.

Housed at the Library of Congress and available online, the collection of photographs depict African American, Mexican American, and white musicians, singers and dancers, primarily in the southern United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia) and the Bahamas (Nassau, Andros Island, and Cat Island). These prints were made during throughout their travels, mostly sponsored by the Library of Congress. In addition to posed portraits, the images in the collection show musicians performing in various settings: at home, in concert, and while performing prison labor outdoors. Views of children engaged in singing games, scenes of daily life, and some landscape views are also included. Folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who assisted the Lomaxes on expeditions to Georgia and Florida, has been identified in a few photographs.

Read more at The Design Observer .

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