June 27, 2010

A Southerner Discovers The South: Jonathan Daniels and Alfred Eisenstaedt

A month ago, I was poking around the LIFE photo archives searching for old shots of Charleston, SC and I ran across a series of pictures that absolutely knocked my socks off.  All I knew is that they had been taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt and that each one bore the tag "Jonathan Daniels Southern Trip Charleston, Plantations."  Naturally, I dropped that into Google to see what it was all about.  I found this excellent essay by Jennifer Ritterhouse of George Mason University and I also checked in with my city library.  I HIGHLY recommend the aforementioned piece but I've also summarized it below.
Map of the original Jonathan Daniels journey (from Southern Spaces)

In 1937, native North Carolina newspaper editor and writer (and later White House Press Secretary to FDR and Truman) Jonathan Worth Daniels embarked on a ten-state, five-week road trip through the American South, stopping at points of interest along the way and keeping the travel journal that would make up what he later referred to as the discovery of "one man's South."  The resulting 1938 book, titled "A Southerner Discovers The South" would form in its time one of the most definitive accounts of the depression-era South and its release introduced the rest of the country to an honest glimpse of a region that President Roosevelt only days before had declared to be "the nation's No. 1 economic problem" in a letter to the National Emergency Council.
Your local library probably has a copy.

In his original trip, Daniels had not included any photography for his book but in 1938 (perhaps in response to the photo documenting being done at the time by WPA and FSA photographers like Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange) he returned to parts of South Carolina with LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.  Trust me when I say that there are more good photos in the archives than one blog post could contain.  (Perhaps there will be a part two tomorrow.)  I've included the ones that initially jumped out at me when I ran across them.  A few of the photos below are of duck hunting but most of them are of a larger, mixed-gender hunting party, complete with an outdoor meal:

June 26, 2010

Saturday Sightings


Just up the street from Imogene+Willie....

June 25, 2010

Nashville Flea

Today at lunch I headed to the fairgrounds to run recon on the June flea market.  As usual, it's mostly overpriced imported plastic, recent military surplus, newly crafted stuff made to look antique and tables and tables of tube socks.  There were a few highlights though:

Four-point Witney blanket.
I have some similar chairs.  These kinds of folding chairs always remind me of photos of Rudy Van Gelder's Blue Note sessions.
Double doubles.
Kid stuff.

June 24, 2010

Deep Fried

Chicken livers.

June 20, 2010

Ski-Hi Notebooks

A few years ago, my wife and I were poking around inside a junk shop east of Nashville, and well off of I-40, when I ran across a stack of unused school notebooks.  The cover illustration, featuring a cowboy on a bucking bronco, was more than I could pass up and I ended up going home with five of them.  Somehow in the process of moving to a different house and then moving things between rooms in that house, I misplaced them for a while.  I ran across them in a box the other night and decided they were too cool not to share.

The list of valuable prizes.  Note that the terms of the contest are for the 1949-50 school year.

I didn't have a Musgrave Pencil handy for this shot so I used a Field Notes No. 2.

What a great slogan.  That appears to be some sort of geographical segment that the horse is riding on but I'm not sure what it is.

I have to assume it's no coincidence that Colorado's oldest rodeo is the "Ski-Hi Stampede."  The above 1920s photo may have even served as some inspiration.

No. 13 must mean something in regard to this notebook model but I don't know what.  Also, what is "Yellow News?"  Probably refers to the paper.  Ragland, Potter & Company was a wholesale grocery outfit based here in Middle Tennessee.  I've tried to find out what the address designation "Nashville 1" refers to but I still haven't found it.

This is an early 1900s photo of a Ragland, Potter & Co. branch in Murfreesboro, TN.  Today, Ragland Bros. owns Piggly-Wiggly and Lucky Supermarkets.

Soft and pulpy ruled paper.  I got these thinking I would fill them with all sorts of interesting stuff but I haven't had the heart to put lead to them yet.

What if I sent my kids to school with these as a joke?

I've seen some Big Chief notebooks on Ebay for as much as $100 recently which is just ridiculous.  I could be wrong but I think the Ski-Hi is a rarer bird, possibly distributed only in the Southeast.  I think I only bought half of the stack.  I've thought about going back for the rest but I don't have any idea where that junk shop was.

June 19, 2010

A Day Well Spent

Luckily, we were invited.

Zeke starts out on a check cord.

Red Ryders and other gear.

My 7-year-old shooting buddy/daughter.

Zeke retrieving a training dummy.

June 17, 2010