An organ grinder rests against a tree after a tiring day of performing in Europe. Sunlight streams down on the cobblestone street, yet the leaves of trees provide more-than-enough shade to comfort the musician as he takes a well-deserved break. To the left, a young woman wearing a long-sleeved blouse and polka-dot skirt also takes a leisurely rest against an adjacent tree. Just by gazing at the photograph, the audience is able to feel the warm sunlight brush their skin as if they are visiting the peaceful streets of Europe.
Early mechanical organs were first used to teach canaries how to sing, but performers soon realized that they could play their organs outside to appeal to a wider audience and gain a greater profit. As organs evolved due to their rising popularity, they became larger in size and consisted of more pipes, allowing them to play increasingly-complex melodies. It was also fairly common to see organists perform with animals, with monkeys being the most common companion since they could hold cups to collect coins. Training them took a considerable amount of effort, and the tactics used to tame the monkeys would undoubtedly be considered unethical today.
From the collection of Fred Bodin of Gloucester, MA. Fred was a long time resident and well-known photographer of Gloucester and had one of the best private collections of New England nautical photographs in private hands. Fred was a photojournalist having graduated with this degree from Syracuse University and worked for Yankee Magazine. Fred passed away in 2016 and HIP purchased his collection from his estate.