Memories    [back to]

From the Great Depression to World War II - photos from the American Memory collection

The American Memory collection contains more than 162,000 images taken between 1935 and 1944 by government-hired photographers. If you were to look at 100 of them per day, every day, you'd need more than four years to view them all. As a photographer, I consider these images nothing short of wondrous. This blog showcases some of them.

October 17, 2008

Duke Ellington

In April 1943, jazz/big band great Duke Ellington and his orchestra performed at the Hurricane Club ballroom in New York city. Seventy-two photos taken that evening are part of the American Memory collection. They begin here with a shot of Ellington descending from the ceiling.

In addition to photos of the musicians, photographer Gordon Parks [see an American Memory photo of him here] also took pictures of the audience, and of people working at the venue: chorus girls, a lighting technician, the head waiter, the chef, and the manager among them.

Ellington eating dinner. The caption associated with this photo identifies the woman as his wife, Beatrice Ellington.

Chatting with members of his orchestra.


One of my favorite shots. This gentleman is identified as the 2nd cook at the venue.

A fun shot of the telephone booths at the Hurricane.

[American Memory link]

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