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 Unidentified Wartburg College dance
Clinton

Author's collection

Photograph, 1918

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About This Image

There are a several mysteries to be solved about this photograph. First of all, who are these young men? The photographer's stamp on the cardboard mounting (not shown) indicates "Clinton, Iowa." The "W" in the stained windows suggests that the picture was taken at Wartburg College. Wartburg College was located in Clinton from 1894-1935, before moving to its present location in Waverly, Iowa. (See image below.) Adding to the mystery is the date stamped on the back of the photograph - May 10, 1918. The fact that these young men had thus far avoided the World War I draft which began in June, 1917, suggests that perhaps they were still in high school.

Another fascinating aspect of the image is the fact that the band features the standard instrumentation for an early jazz band - this at a time when the first commercially available jazz records had been available for only a little more than a year. Was this a jazz band? Where did they learn about jazz? Who were their influences?

Author's collection

Postcard, postmarked 1908

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