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Vintage Accordion Photos, for good or ill

March 29, 2011
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I’ve been busy working my way through the 30s and 40s in my accordion book, so I’m a bit shallow in the blog pool lately, not like I’ve been at it long enough for readers to expect too much, but still, I’m sensitive to your needs.

So to hold you over, let me tell you there are piles of old accordion pics online.

First, if you’ve never seen it, here’s a lovely set of mostly concertina pics: Jody Kruskal’s Concertina Gallery [spelling corrected Sept 2015, Sorry Jody! http://www.jodykruskal.com].  He’s got some classic Salvation Army pics (The Sally Ann has some concertina history!), African American, vaudeville, and minstrel-show players, and other fine old ones.

Accordion Girl: One of many many accordion photos in the

Then, a friend stumbled-me onto a ring of collectors who’ve posted a zillion old photos of various accordions.  Their comments indicate a distinct lack of knowledge of proper squeezebox nomenclature, (“concertina” indeed, that’s a melodeon!) and their ironic play on anti-accordion sentiments is a biting satire of the old-foggie generation’s shallow dismissal of our fair instrument.  Ha!  I hope to settle in with an understanding school-marmy “educational” voice – juxtaposed with their tounge-in-cheak anti-accordion schtick, it should be mildly entertaining.

The photos they’ve got are quite interesting.  Many snapshots and personal pictures from just plain folks, as well as some (mostly unidentified – we have to get to work) professionals from one era or another.

They have a very noticeable body of photos from the second world war.  Many, many photos of German Wermacht soldiers.  Even a pair of propaganda illustrations, from opposite “sides.”  I find it disturbing to see so many light-hearted images of young men setting off to butcher each other and millions more.  Just last week my radio co-host Rowan invited me over to see The Last Klezmer a documentary about Leopold Kozlowski, a Polish klezmer musician who survived the Holocaust.  It included a photo of Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals at the Mauthausen concentration camp being force-marched to a prisoner’s execution while playing instruments, including accordions.

Chilling – history too often fails us.

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