DIG MEMPHIS MYSTERIES


DIG MEMPHIS MYSTERIES

Fall 2021

We need your help! Below are images from our digital archive that are missing important details. See if you can help us fill in some of the gaps.  


updated mysteries!

DIG MEMPHIS MYSTERIES will look a little different going forward. We’ll be posting mystery “seasons” – a multi-week series of mysteries, all centered around a common theme. If you suggest an answer, please share with us how you solved the mystery. Include your name, and we’ll give you credit on the record in the DIG archives.  To keep up to date with all DIG MEMPHIS MYSTERIES, follow us on Instagram at @digmemphishistory



12/13/2021:

Next week marks the official beginning of winter! Before we head into the winter months, we have one more week of autumn mysteries. In honor of the fast approaching Christmas holiday, we’re sharing a series of photographs depicting various Christmas parties. If you see anyone you recognize, please let us know!

“Christmas party”. The George W. Lee Collection, DIG MEMPHIS (Digital ID: XMAS019)
“Bringing Christmas cheer”. The M Files, DIG MEMPHIS (Digital ID: XMAS017)

Do you recognize anyone captured in these photographs? Let us know in the comments box or click ‘Contact Us’ on DIG Memphis to provide any additional details you may know.

“Two women at the Christmas party”. George W. Lee Collection, DIG MEMPHIS (Digital ID: Lee164)

11/22/2021:

In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we’re sharing a couple photographs that highlight family, friends, and food! Here are two mysteries from the archive that are lacking identifying information. If you see anyone you recognize, please let us know!

“At the dining room table”. The M Files, DIG MEMPHIS (Digital ID: BCC0058)
“Four unidentified people with a tray of cookies”. The George W. Lee Collection, DIG MEMPHIS (Digital ID: Lee154)

The first picture above comes from the M Files Collection and was included in a folder of unidentified photographs. A handwritten note in the folder read: “From home of Juanita Dockins, Prescott St., Memphis, TN. Died in Memphis 1990s. Husband Louis P. (L.P.) Dockins. Died in Memphis 1990s. Daughter Monetha Killion. Gift of Mike Hartsfield.” Perhaps some of the people mentioned in the note are portrayed in the photograph, but we are not certain!

The second photo comes from The George W. Lee Collection, and only includes a descriptions stating, “Photo of three females and one male posing and enjoying cookies.”

Do you recognize anyone captured in these portraits? Let us know in the comments box or click ‘Contact Us’ on DIG Memphis to provide any additional details you may know.


11/15/2021:

DIG Memphis contains a large number of professional portraits, but many of them are unlabeled. Here are a handful from the archive without any indication of who was photographed. You can see more by browsing the ‘Portraits‘ subject tag. If you see anyone you know, please let us know!

The pictures above come from a variety of collections, and like last week, the one thing they have in common is that the subject is unidentified. Click each thumbnail to see a larger version and access the link to the full record in DIG.

Do you recognize anyone captured in these portraits? Let us know in the comments box or click ‘Contact Us’ on DIG Memphis to provide any additional details you may know.


11/11/2021:

In honor of Veterans Day, we’re sharing photographs of those who have served in the past. There are many images of veterans in the DIG Memphis Archives, but not all of them are properly identified. Click through the gallery below to see just a few, and then head over to DIG Memphis to see more.

The pictures above come from a variety of collections and span multiple decades. The one thing they have in common is that the subject in the photograph is listed as unidentified or unknown. Click each thumbnail to see a larger version and access the link to the full record in DIG.

Do you recognize any of the people being photographed? Let us know in the comments box or click ‘Contact Us’ on DIG Memphis to provide any additional details you may know.


11/01/2021:


Native American family”. Pink Palace Photograph Collection, DIG MEMPHIS (Digital ID: PP062)

November is Native American Heritage Month. To celebrate the history, traditions, and culture of indigenous communities, today we’re shining a light on the collection of Native American photographs found in DIG Memphis

Most of the Native American material in the archive is part of the Pink Palace Photograph Collection, which was gifted to MPL many years ago. Some of the photographs contain identifying information about the people pictured; however, many more are lacking descriptive details.

The picture above does not clearly indicate who is being photographed. There is a date on the back – June 10, 1956 – and a notation stating “Clark – The Memphis Museum”, but no further details are given.

The photographs in this collection were possibly collected as part of a bigger project. We invite you to explore the images in the Native American mini-collection and let us know if you recognize any of the photographs and can provide greater context to the images. Who were the people being photographed? Let us know in the comments or click ‘Contact Us’ on DIG Memphis to provide any additional details you may know.


10/25/2021:

“Woman with candlestick”. Saul Brown Photograph Collection, DIG MEMPHIS (Digital ID: SB310)

Along with the crisp air and falling leaves, Fall usually ushers in a period of festivities filled with friends and family. DIG Memphis has a plethora of photographs depicting buildings and streets, but the archive is also full of faces – young and old, smiling or pensive, large gatherings and solo portraits. Many of the images that capture people are unlabeled, and unlike our mysterious buildings, the photographs often provide very little clues as to who is being photographed.

This Fall, we’ll be diving into the collection and spending some time with the mysterious faces included in the archive. It may be a long shot, but if you recognize anyone depicted in these photographs, please let us know!

This first image comes from our Saul Brown Photograph Collection. Brown worked as a staff photographer for the Memphis Press-Scimitar for twenty years, retiring in April of 1980 as the newspaper’s chief photographer. After retirement, Brown continued taking publicity photographs for various Memphis theaters as well as images of public figures, personal friends, and Memphis and its residents.

The haunting image above is titled, “Woman with candlestick“, and it seemed like an appropriate way to kick off our series on the Monday before Halloween. It’s possible the photograph was taken as a promotional shot for a local theater production. Perhaps the woman was an actress…? If you’ve seen this image before or you recognize the woman pictured, let us know in the comment box!


Explore more mysteries:


Resources:

Here are some resources that can help with your search.

City Directories 1849-1943 – Shelby County Registrar (link)

Commercial Appeal Archives 1894-Today – Newsbank (link)

Historic Shelby County – Aerial Maps (link)

Maps of Memphis (link)

Vehicle Registration Plates of TN – Wikipedia (link)