I have always speculated (to myself) that Arkansas is one of the last undiscovered regions for the study of American folk art, vernacular art forms and music. Not the traditional South, not the traditional West...but a state rich with a fascinating history and fascinating people. Dust to Digital once again has hit the mark with a pair of beautiful releases which go a long way towards revealing the secrets of Arkansas. The Book? Making Pictures: Three for a Dime.
"In the 1930s, the Massengill family of rural Arkansas built three portable photography studios on old truck frames, attached each to the back of any car that would run, and started a mobile photo booth business that would last for a decade. Without formal training or help, the Massengill family invented and improvised ways to mimic the popular photo booths they had seen in drugstores and brought their business to the dirt roads and open fields they knew well. Making Pictures: Three for a Dime, featuring Massengill family prints and photo albums collected by the artist Maxine Payne, illuminates a sliver of the Depression-era South previously unseen by the public."
The Music? Corn Dodgers & Hoss Hair Pullers.
“For the traveling recording men of the late 1920s, Arkansas offered enticing pickings. The region was thronged with vigorous, idiosyncratic stringbands… Scarcely more than a decade, but a period, in music as in all American life, of galvanic change.” – Tony Russell, from the album’s liner notes
I can only say ESSENTIAL. Be you collector, library, museum? This pair of high-quality packages from Dust to Digital are required.
Folk Art carved figures go through the motions. Looks like they are working far harder than the men... Whether these carvings were articulated is unknown, but the chores they perform are typical subjects for automatons and whirligigs. If anyone knows where this object is today, I would love to see it.
"Our Homestead" Domestic Chores in a Folk Art Dollhouse Cyko Real Photo Post Card circa 1910 unmailed.
Billy Burke made three toothpick amusement parks while being held in Folsom Prison, this likely being the largest. He once made a roller coaster out of shotgun shells. Various wardens over the years would bring in visitors to see the construction. In 1994, the Sacramento Bee told his story which you can read HERE.
Toothpick Circus by Billy Burke Real Photo Postcard circa 1950 Collection Jim Linderman
FIFTEEN HEROIN ABUSERS HONORED WITH UNITED STATES POSTAGE STAMPS (The Dull Tool Dim Bulb Stupid Useless Internet List)
TOP FIFTEEN HEROIN ABUSERS HONORED WITH UNITED STATES POSTAGE STAMPS (The Dull Tool Dim Bulb Useless Internet List)
We have certainly had enough of those stupid internet lists. They are easy to produce, easy to post and designed for only one purpose. That is to force you to click or scroll through advertisements until your finger hurts. More annoying than pop-up ads and just as useless.
My internet list is FIFTEEN PERSONS ON UNITED STATES POSTAGE STAMPS WHO ABUSED HEROIN but you won't find any ads here unless Google force slips some in, which is both something they have been known to do…and their business model.
I've included not only heroin users, but a few opiate and morphine users to round out the list…I didn't want them all to be jazz musicians. You can look them up to verify if you like. If I had been inclined to use alcoholics, trust I would have had a hundred more to include.
In the old days, and by that I mean about the time Reagan took office, it was a considerable honor to be placed on a United States Postage Stamp. First of all, there were rigorous standards…notables had to have contributed to the American collective greatness. Highly competitive contests were run for artists to have the honor of painting the work to be shown. And yes, postage stamps were limited edition lithographs in themselves. Fine, high quality prints in miniature. Now they are just texture free pieces of paper. One need not lick them either…there is far less DNA on letters today. I am certainly NOT implying any of the above are not heroic American figures, as they certainly all are. I just needed a useless common characteristic to make my list go viral!
Today most United States postage stamps are crap from major U.S. corporations. Disney. Entertainment companies. The post office licenses them from business. The honor is pretty much gone, as is the denomination. Stamps are now "forever" stamps, but there is no longer a reason to keep them that long in a collector's album. They are, for the most part, "product" from corporations who already take far too much of our time and money. I purchased Batman stamps today. An American hero of sorts, but while they don't say it on the stamp, merely an ad for the next movie in the franchise.
The history of breaking a turkey wishbone, actually the Furcula bone, is well documented and goes way back. But when is the last time you saw one wrapped in patriotic colors of yarn with silk ribbon and UNBROKEN for nearly 100 years? I hope he came home safe.
Vintage Folk Art Turkey Wishbone Patriotic Crochet Good Luck World War One Era Collection Jim Linderman
BOOKS AND EBOOKS AVAILABLE FOR PREVIEW OR PURCHASE HERE