The Sunday porch: recorded

Lomax Collection 2, Library of Congress“Mrs. Alberta Kimball, Mrs. Minnie Smith, and Mrs. Emily Elizabeth Fulks, at the home of Mrs. Fulks, Prairie Lea,* Texas,” September 1940, by Ruby Terrill Lomax, via Lomax Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The three women were folk musicians. Alone or in duets, they sang songs like “Swedes Blessing,” “There was a Wealthy Merchant,” “Way Out West in Texas,” “Barbara Allen,” and “The Gypsy’s Warning.”  Unfortunately, I can’t find an online recording of them. They look delightful in these pictures, however, particularly in those flowered dresses.

Lomax Collection 31, Library of Congress
Mrs. Minnie Smith, Mrs. Elizabeth Fulks, Mrs. Albertina Kimball, at Mrs. Fulks’s home.

These are four snapshots from four hundred made during the sound recording expeditions of the Lomax family.  From 1934 to around 1950, John Avery Lomax, Ruby Terrill Lomax, and Alan Lomax traveled the southern United States and the Bahamas collecting folk music and folklore for the Library of Congress.

Lomax Collection 4, Library of Congress
Mrs. Fulks on her porch.
Lomax Collection 5, Library of Congress
Mrs. Fulks in her garden.

There’s a previous “Sunday porch” from the Lomax Collection here.

Our world, so worn and weary,
Needs music, pure and strong,
To hush the jangle and discords
Of sorrow, pain, and wrong.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, from “Songs for the People


*These photos were labeled with the location as Prairie Lea or Prairie Lea R.F.D., but also as Stanton, Texas.  Prairie Lea and Stanton are in different parts of Texas, and I have been unable to find out which town is correct.  The labels on the sound recordings the women made say “Prairie Lea” — which certainly sounds like a place in a folk song.

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