As you might have caught on to by now, I am kinda obsessed with playing the ukulele. For the majority of my life I’ve been playing various musical instruments, but the ukulele is the only string instrument I can play (as of right now at least!). It was a weird experience for me to learn how to play chords and melodies using strings rather than by pressing keys, but now I can’t stop. And it’s a lot more of a mobile instrument than my piano! Anyway, I was fiddling around on the internet today and started stumbling upon all these beautiful early to mid-1900 photographs of ukulele players, and just had to share some of them. Many of the blogs and other websites I found them didn’t include much data about the photographs themselves, and after doing some Googling I couldn’t turn up much either, so that’s the only downfall. Enjoy!
Famous Ukulele Ladies:
Greta Garbo in 1925
Betty Page, rocking the pin-up ukulele look.
I’m not sure who the woman is, but she is getting a lesson from one of the best! Cliff Edwards, a.k.a. Ukulele Ike AND the voice of Jiminy Cricket!
And a bunch of fun, vintage ukulele ladies:
Two young girls goofing off
Group of women playing ukulele on the beach, taken around 1925.
This is my favorite photo. Flapper modeling with a ukulele, c. 1920.
Just strumming in some lingerie.
Left handed ukulele player. “Lest you forget.” Aren’t the colors in this photo interesting?
Again, with the ukeing in the lingerie! Printed in a 1950s magazine ad.
Professional shot of a young starlet.
What I wouldn’t give to be skipping around on the beach with my friends, a ukulele and a parasol.
Girls clearly can use their musical talents to lure in unsuspecting young men, too, c. 1938.
I don’t know how it’s possible to look so glum playing a uke, but she’s working it, c. 1945.
Swoon. She’s looking easy, breezy playing ukulele on the porch.
I have close to zero understanding of what is going on in this photograph, but it is cracking me up.
“You should have heard the music.” What a bittersweet message.
Girls playing uke on a park bench in their swimsuits. Taken on July 9, 1926 in Washington, DC. The girls are identified in the caption of a similar photo as Elaine Griggs, Virginia Hunter, Mary Kaminsky, Dorothy Kelly and Hazel Brown.
This is also the only image on the Library of Congress’ website that features girls with ukuleles (or at least, the only one that is searchable, and has been digitized). [http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.16039, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA]
Printed in the New York Tribune, September 14, 1919.
The Boswell Sisters
Music book, “Oh How She Could Play A Ukulele.”
A Norman Rockwell Illustration
And, just because I happen to be a huge fan, I had to include this one I found of goofball Buster Keaton:
Oh, to live during this time! (And what a beautiful photograph, at that).