Since my husband is into folk music and we were in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we decided to visit the Woody Guthrie Center. This center opened in 2013 and is a tribute to Woody Guthrie’s art, music, and service to the human race. You will find etchings of his artwork, lyrics to his songs, and some of his instruments. The center also has the oil painting “This Land Was Made For You and Me” by Charles Banks Wilson. All of the displays were very well put together.
I was watching the video about the 1930’s Dust Bowl when I noticed my husband was looking at the Bob Wills Display. Walking over to look with him I noticed something that caused me to stop looking at everything else in the place. On a mannequin in this display case was a white, long-sleeved, button down shirt with a blue, hand embroidered lyre with the words “Light Crust Doughboys” on it!
I ended up having to give the archivist my e-mail and do a huge search on-line. I can tell you, from what I could see, the thread was pearl cotton and the stitch was the chain stitch. Unfortunately, these are the only photos the Oklahoma Historical Society was able to provide me. Amy, the OHS Curator of Collections, was able to provide me information from the catalog:
“Catalog info: Men’s long sleeve white cotton dress shirt with single breast pocket. Embroidered in blue on the front and back is ‘Light Crust Doughboys.’ The label is marked ‘Penney’s by Towncraft, 100% Pima Cotton, Kingbar.’
Date range: 1931-1942
Used in Oklahoma and Texas, owned by Bob Wills (or band member).”
When I went home, I found a website for the Light Crust Doughboys. I was stunned to find they are still playing! However, they are not the same band members who wore the embroidered shirts, but the group is still around and playing some wonderful music. When you are searching around internet world, you should stop by and hear them for yourself.
We had a wonderful time on our trip to the Woody Guthrie Center. I do hope you are able to visit them if you are ever in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While you are there, please tell Sam Flowers (the young man pictured above) I said “hello”. Also, you will find a wonderful stage just outside of the center called Guthrie Green where they host many fabulous, talented singers and groups. Take some time and appreciate the area while you visit; you never know when you will find a very pleasant surprise!
Ren & Scott