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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lazy Research

Photograph by Robert S. Scurlock.  Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial, probably 1951 or later.
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Among the most popular photographs in the NMAH Archives Center's Scurlock Studio Collection are Robert S. Scurlock's images of the historic concert given at the Lincoln Memorial by African American singer Marian Anderson on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939.  We have other photographs of this renowned singer at the Lincoln Memorial or in concert on the Mall, which apparently document a separate occasion or occasions, such as the one above.  Some show her singing into a WGMS microphone, and we know that those call letters were used in the Washington area from 1951-2007.  WGMS maintained a classical music format from 1946 to 2007, but did not use the call letters WGMS until 1951.  I wish to challenge readers to suggest or identify and document any public open-air concerts Marian Anderson might have given at the Lincoln Memorial or on the Mall, other than the famous 1939 presentation.   (You'll save me some research time.)  Are they likely to be an occasion other than a concert, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower's inauguration in 1957 or John F. Kennedy's in 1961?  Any comments will be appreciated!

David Haberstich
Curator of Photography, Archives Center

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