A Guide to the

Middlebrook School Minstrel Show Photograph, 1954

SC 0066

Compiled by: Tiffany Cole, February 2017

 

Descriptive Summary

 

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Middlebrook School Minstrel Show Photograph, 1954

Collection No.: SC 0066
Creator: Walter S. Daggy

Extent: 1 letter folder; .06 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The Middlebrook School Minstrel Show Photograph, 1954, depicts the cast, including students and presumably teachers and administrators, of a minstrel show at the Middlebrook School in Augusta County, Virginia.

 

Administrative Information

 

Access Restrictions: Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], [box #, folder #], Middlebrook School Minstrel Show Photograph, 1954, SC 0066, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information: Acquired from Rolling Hills Antique Mall in Harrisonburg, Virginia in January 2017.
Provenance: The provenance of the photograph, specifically the location and date, was attributed by the seller and is assumed to be accurate.

Bio/Historical Note:
The tradition of the blackface minstrelsy dates back to the early nineteenth century and continued into the mid-twentieth century in various types of mass media (theatre, television, and film). As the name suggests, blackface minstrel shows primarily featured white men who would apply black makeup and act as African Americans. Stereotypical mannerisms, gestures, and dialects were often employed.

Dating to the mid-1910s, the Middlebrook School housed grades one through seven and high school, and served the Middlebrook community of Augusta County, Virginia. Several school consolidations took place over the next fifty years until the Middlebrook Grade School shuttered its doors in 1967.

The photographer, Walter S. Daggy (1896-1988), was based out of Mt. Solon, Virginia. His primary occupation was farming, but he also worked as a photographer for area newspapers. Daggy married Minnie Props on January 18, 1918 and was a lifelong resident of Mt. Solon.

Scope and Content:
The Middlebrook School Minstrel Show Photograph, 1954, depicts the cast, including students and presumably teachers and administrators, of a minstrel show at the Middlebrook School in Augusta County, Virginia. The 8 x 10 inch black-and-white photograph features twenty-six youth and adults standing on a stage in a posed group shot. All but three are in blackface. In stereotypical fashion, one performer is holding a watermelon and one is holding a chicken.

The photographer’s stamp is imprinted on the verso; it reads: “’Today’s Photographic Pleasures Are Tomorrow’s Valued Treasures’ Walter S. Daggy Photo and Finishing Mt. Solon, VA.”

Arrangement:
The collection is housed in one letter folder.

Bibliography:
Johnson, Stephen, ed. Burnt Cork: Traditions and Legacies of Blackface Minstrelsy. Amherst & Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012.

Obituary for Walter S. Daggy, Daily News Leader, January 30, 1988.

Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, Thematic National Register Nomination Inventory Form, Middlebrook School, VHLC 007-0686, 1985. Accessed February 8, 2016. http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Augusta/007-0686_Middlebrook_Schools_1985_Final_Nomination.pdf.

Contents:

Folder Title Box : Folder
Middlebrook School Minstrel Show Photograph, 1954 1:1