Photographic History Collection: Henry Horenstein

Photographic History Collection: Henry Horenstein

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Henry Horenstein (1948-) trained in history in the late 1960s at the University of Chicago and with the British historian EP Thompson. Coming of age at time when the new social history focused attention upon anonymous people, the working class and the role of culture, Horenstein took those lessons and applied them to his photography. He earned an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1973. While at RISD Horenstein studied with noted photographers Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. It was actually Callahan who encouraged Horenstein to pursue his passions for photography and country music. Since then, Horenstein has made a career of chronicling a series of subcultures including horse-racing and gambling, baseball stadiums, and burlesque performers, as well as being noted for his photographs of animals.
Horenstein is currently a professor at RISD. In addition to teaching classes, he is an active photographer always working on photographic and publishing projects. Horenstein is well-published, with over 25 books that either feature his photography or are widely used photography text books. He wrote the first darkroom textbooks, Basic Phtography and Beyond Basic Photgraphy. In Fall 2003, his book Honky-Tonk was published, containing an afterword written by NMAH curator Charlie McGovern. In 2006, NMAH featured the exhibition, Honky-Tonk: Country Music Photographs by Henry Horenstein, 1972-1981.
The collection consists of subjects such as fans and performers at outdoor music parks, in the parking lot, and performers on stage. Print sizes vary between 8 X 10 and 11X 14. The two 16 X 20 prints are a view of a crowd seen from backstage with JD Crowe & The South in sillouette, and “Bartender,” Wanda Lohnman leaning on the bar at Tootsies Orchid Lounge.
List of Performers and Venues Depicted in the Collection:
Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, LA
The Lonestar Ranch, Reed’s Ferry, NH
Hillbilly Ranch, Boston, MA
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville, TN;
The Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Theater, Nashville, TN.
Abshire Nathan
Acuff, Roy
Akeman, David “Stringbean”
Bailey, Deford
Bare, Bobby
Bird, Billy
Blake, Norman
Blue Sky Boys
Brown, Clarence "Gatemouth"
Burns, Jethro
Butler, Carl and Pearl
Carter, Anita
Carter, Mother Maybelle and Helen Carter
Cash, Tommy
Clements, Vassar
Cline, Curly Ray
Cooper, Carol Lee
Cooper, Stoney and Wilma Lee
Crook Brothers
Curless, Dick
Dickens, Little Jimmy
Flatt, Lester
Floyd, Hamonica Frank
Harkreader, Fiddlin' Sid
Harris, Emmy Lou
Holcomb, Roscoe
Holy Modal Rounders
Hughes Family Show
Jackson, Stonewall
JD Crowe & the New South
Jennings, Waylon
Johnson Mountain Boys
Jones, George
Jones, Grandpa and Ramona
Kirby, Brother Oswald
Lewis, Jerry Lee
Lilly Brothers
Lilly Family
Lynn, Loretta
Magaha, Mac
Martin, Jimmy
McCoury, Del
Monroe, Bill
Monroe, Bill and Lester Flatt
Monroe, Bill and Roland White
Monroe, Bill and the Bluegrass Boys
Monroe, Charlie
Moody, Clyde
Nixon, Charlie
Osborne Brothers
Parton, Dolly
Parton, Dolly and Porter Wagoner
Pearl, Minnie (Sarah Ophelia Colley) and Peewee King
Riley, Jeannie C.
Ritter, Woodward Maurice “Tex”
Seeger, Pete
Shepherd, Jean
Skaggs, Ricky
Smith, Connie
Snow, Hank
Snow, Rev. Jimmy Rodgers
Stanley, Ralph
Tubb, Ernest
Tubb, Justin
Turner, Grant
Turner, Spyder
Val, Joe
Wagoner, Porter
Warren, Paul
Watson, Arthel Lane “Doc”
Watson, Merle
Wells, Muriel Deason “Kitty”
Whitley, Keith
Williams, Hank Jr.
Wright, Johnny
Object Name
Henry Horenstein Collection
date made
1971 - 1983
Horenstein, Henry
ID Number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Photographic History
Cultures & Communities
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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