Can you help solve the Mystery of the Withers Photos?

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Dr. Ernest C. Withers in his “work” vehicle from early in his photographic career. Editors are working on a new book about Dr. Withers work, but need help identifying the people and places in several images. Read on to learn more and see how you can help! (All photos: © Dr. Ernest C. Withers, Sr. courtesy of the WITHERS FAMILY TRUST and thewitherscollection.com)

Legendary photojournalist Dr. Ernest C. Withers was one of the most prolific photographers to document the lives of African Americans in Memphis. A new book on Dr. Withers’ early work is in the works, but several photos need identification. That’s where YOU come in!

Are you a history buff? Perhaps an amateur detective or you just know a lot of people? Good!

Take a look at this collection of Dr. Withers photos. Do you recognize any of the faces? Or perhaps the scene or the event look familiar. Whatever details you might have, the Withers Collection wants to hear about it! Here’s how you can help:

  1. Check out the photo gallery by clicking here.
  2. Click or tap an image to enlarge and view as a slideshow. Enjoy – they’re great!
  3. If you recognize a person, place, event… ANY detail, scroll on down to the form!
  4. Select the image number and/or caption in the pop-down menu
  5. Tell us what you know! Include your name and email so we can follow up if we have to. Phone number is even better!
  6. Click “Submit.”
  7. Refresh the page and start over if you see more than one photo you can help with!

If you feel more comfortable talking to someone, feel free to call Connor Scanlon at the Withers Collection: (978) 944-9006 or email him at cscanlon@witherscollection.org.

You can also visit the Withers Museum to share any information you have. The Withers Museum is at 333 Beale Street and is open Mon.-Sat. from Noon-10 p.m. and Sundays from 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Your input can help preserve the history of these individuals and mid-century Memphis!

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