#Bluesday today brings us a promotional photograph of
blues singer, pianist, and songwriter Walter Davis (1911 or 1912 – 1963). This photograph was taken on February 19, 1936 for use by the RCA Victor Company, who, along with Bluebird Records (an RCA Victor subsidiary label for blues and jazz recordings), released nearly 160 recordings of the prolific artist’s work.
Davis’s recording career was unexpectedly cut short by a stroke in 1952. The remainder of his life would be spent working as a hotel desk clerk and part-time preacher in his adopted hometown of St. Louis, where he died in 1963.
Originally buried in an unmarked grave in
Killer Blues Headstone Project, a non-profit working to create headstones for blues musicians lying in unmarked graves.
This film negative is part of the Hagley Library’s Frederick O. Barnum III collection of RCA Victor Company negatives (Accession 1995.220). The collection was donated to the Library by RCA company historian Frederick O. Barnum III, who salvaged it from the abandoned photo lab on the 4th floor of Building 10 of the RCA Camden Plant after the plant had been vacated and abandoned in April 1993. To view more items from this collection online, visit its page in our Digital Archive by clicking here.
Harlem’s Rabbi Mordecai Herman (center) with the Moorish Zionist Temple congregation
photo by James Van Der Zee, 1929
40’s Tie // Vintage 1940’s Wide Style Silk Novelty Tie // Mexican Sombrero Cactus Scene
Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., 1932
high jumper Ethel Catherwood talks things over at 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam
Jimmy Stewart talking to fellow Army inductees on Red Car train, March 22, 1941
Tyrone Power and Jeanette MacDonald receive awards as the King and Queen of Movieland, 1939. The award was presented to them by Ed Sullivan.