In these days of “milkless milk and silkless silk,” to recall W.C. handy, it’s very gratifying to point my readers to a website that for three years now has lived up to its title. www.shorpy.com presents beautifully defined black-and-white photographs from the past — everything from candids sent in by readers to Ben Shahn portraits of small-town streets, children at the beach, bathing girls, and more.
I decided to write a few words about the site because I was fairly sure that people who are deeply involved in the kind of jazz I write about here might also have an affection for the objects and places it came from — and such obsessions as trains, for instance. And this particular picture made it a must for me to write this post — a 1920 Washington, D.C., shop window advertising the latest Victor records and a line of Nippers (one large fellow in the doorway) that made me laugh.
I will understand if some of my readers ask, “What’s that doing on a jazz site?” but my guess is that others will be clicking on www.shorpy.com. as quickly as they can and won’t come up for air for a long time. SHORPY has been going strong for three years now, and shows no sign of running out of energy, or of beautiful surprises. (When you visit the site, you’ll find out the rationale behind its unusual name and you’ll also be able to see the photograph above in full size — the details jump out at you.)