Alabama Music Photos: Music In Everyday Life


Alabama Music Photos: Music In Everyday Life


Photograph collection documenting the musical lives of ordinary Alabamians.

Note: The Southern Music Research Center is actively seeking photos and ephemera that document the everyday musical lives of Alabamians. As this collection continues to grow, we hope it will come to more fully reflect the rich variety of ways in which music is embedded in all of our lives, our families, our communities, and our history. If you have photos to contribute, please contact


Southern Music Research Center


Recordings, images, text, and all other materials in this collection are made available here for educational and research purposes only.

No content may be reproduced without 1) written permission from the Southern Music Research Center and 2) appropriate citation.

Please contact for all usage requests. Reproduction of some materials may be restricted or available at a small processing charge.

Exception: Written permission is not required for posting SMRC materials to social media, but all posts should cite the Southern Music Research Center and, when possible, link to the original URL.



Collection Items

Sugarfoot Sam from Alabam
Sugarfoot Sam from Alabam. Undated photo.

Gathering With Unidentified Musicians
A band of unidentified musicians poses with members of a large outdoor gathering. Date unknown.

Photo courtesy Patrick Cather.

Noel "Kid" Ray and Band
Birmingham pianist, bandleader, and regional featherweight boxing champion, Noel “Kid” Ray, with his band, 1920s. Ray later moved to Gadsden, Alabama, to pursue a career in radio broadcasting.

Photo courtesy Patrick Cather.

String Band, Baldwin County
String band, likely Baldwin County, Alabama, undated. William Riley Cooper, far right; other musicians unidentified.

St. Elmo Johnson
Born in Texas, St. Elmo Johnson was a classically trained violinist, conductor, choir director, and arranger. By 1927, he was a central figure in Rev. George Wilson Becton’s Gospel Feast Party. Becton, a sensational and flamboyant Harlem evangelist,…

Unidentified Musician with Banjo
Unidentified musician with banjo. The back of the photo credits Wilson Studio, Birmingham, Alabama. Courtesy John Horton. The Southern Music Research Center welcomes any additional information visitors can provide about this image. Please contact…

Unidentified Trumpeter
Photo of an unidentified trumpeter, obtained from a Titusville, Alabama, estate.

University of Alabama Glee Club Postcard, 1935-1936
Photo postcard: University of Alabama Glee Club, 1935-1936.

Greek Orthodox Church Choir, Birmingham
Greek Orthodox Church choir, Birmingham, Alabama, 1941.

German POW Band at Camp Aliceville
The Stardusters, German POW band at Camp Aliceville. The Aliceville POW camp, which operated from December 1942 – September 1945, offered its prisoners a range of cultural activities, including musical and theatrical groups, college-level courses…

Army Band Postcards (2), Camp McClellan
Army band practice at Camp McClellan, near Anniston, Alabama, in a 1918 postcard. The Southern Music Research Center archive includes two copies of this postcard. One, addressed to Miss Mary Sewell in Jacksonville, Alabama and signed "Your classmate…

Music at Camp Rucker
Music at Camp Rucker, Dale County, Alabama. Press photo, 1950.

Draper Prison Band, 1953
Draper Prison Band at Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery. Press photo, September 1953. Newspaper caption: “Prison band whoops it up—It has become customary for the Draper Prison band to play in the Capitol rotunda the closing night of the legislative…

Unidentified Musical Gathering (6 Photos)
Six photos from an outdoor musical gathering; musicians, location, and date are unknown. This collection was purchased from a Birmingham, Alabama, antique store. If you can help identify any of the individuals in these images, please contact…

Mary Frady, Jerry Frady, and Ruby Fallon for Anniston radio station WSPG
Mary Frady, Jerry Frady, and Ruby Fallon perform for Anniston radio station WSPG, undated.

Music at the Crippled Children's Clinic, Birmingham
Jane Elmore, age 10, plays piano at the Crippled Children’s Clinic, Birmingham, Alabama. Press photo, 1951. Also pictured are Sylvia Whitlow, Cary Ussery, and Larry Woods.

Singer, Festival of Sacred Music, 1963
Attendee Pearl Benson at Birmingham’s Festival of Sacred Music, press photo, 1963. Birmingham’s third annual Festival of Sacred Music opened on November 26, 1963, with an emotional “farewell” to President John F. Kennedy, who had been killed just a…

Dewey Simpson (5 photos)
Organ tuner and jack-of-all-trades, Dewey Gibson of Evergreen, Alabama, 1968. Dewey Gibson was an itinerant piano tuner, organist, preacher, poet, typewriter repairman, ironing board manufacturer, and all-purpose mechanic. A husband and father of…

University of Alabama Dental School Alumni, 1967
Guitarist Al Talley entertains at a dinner for University of Alabama Dental School alumni, press photo, 1967.

Florence Golson Bateman of Wetumpka, 1971
Florence Golson Bateman (1891-1987) was a noted soprano and composer. Her compositions include The Bird with a Broken Wing (which she dedicated to Helen Keller) and A Spring Symphony. Bateman was posthumously inducted to the Alabama Women's Hall of…
View all 24 items

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