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"Hard Rock Randall" (Album 1 Image 30)

ca. 1935. "'Hard Rock' Randall" - portrait of unsmiling, stubble-faced individual, circa 1935. This is believed to be Virna Haffer's third husband, Norman Randall. He would be extensively photographed by Haffer in the 1930s and '40s. This portrait of Randall would win first prize in a San Francisco competition sponsored by Camera Craft magazine in 1936. (A Turbulent Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer, p. 60-61)

"Gian Paola" (Album 2 Image 48)

ca. 1929. "Gian Paola" - portrait of person with brightly lit face and clenched hand emerge from a sea of black. This circa 1929 photograph was exhibited at the 1928 Seattle Camera Club (SCC) show. According to the book, "A Turbulet Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna haffer," this unusual work had "intense and disturbing qualities" quite at odds with other exhibition entries that stressed beauty. (A Turbulet Lens:The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer, p. 92)

Untitled (Chapter 15 Image 1)

Portrait of fortune-teller. The dark haired woman has a weary smile on her face. She is holding a lit cigarette in one hand. Part of a deck of cards is scattered on the table before her. The photograph's background is dark and muted and the picture itself may be purposefully out of focus. (Virna Haffer Collection)


In August of 1944, many servicemen of color turned out for dance night in the main auditorium of the USO #2, 713-15 Commerce St. During World War II, the US military was still segregated and USO #2 was sponsored by the YMCA for the entertainment of African American servicemen and women. The main auditorium was decorated with transparencies by the Washington State Progress Commission. The project was under the supervision of Bert Smyser. The auditorium was a large space that could be adapted for many uses. (photograph by F.L. Powell of Tacoma) (information provided by USO #2 brochure for Recognition Ceremony)


A dance event at the USO #2, 713-715 Commerce Street. Helen B. Stafford is on the far right. The other people in the picture are unidentified. (photograph by F.L. Powell of Tacoma))


On Sunday February 3, 1946, USOs across the nation celebrated the fifth anniversary of USO (United Service Organization) operation by opening to the public. In Tacoma, all of the USO clubs had open houses but the main event was held at the USO #2, the club reserved for servicemen of color at 713-15 Commerce St. Guests of honor were Tacoma's Mayor Harry Cain (center back table) and Earl Marble, the chairman of the Tacoma USO Council. The anniversary program included performances by the Special Service Band from Fort Lewis, concert pianist Pvt. Glen Michaels and tenor Sgt. Soto Andrews. (TNT 2/3/1946, pg. A-7, 2/4/1946, pg. 1; photograph by F.L. Powell of Tacoma)


The 70 piece Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Pacific Northwest perform at the annual USO Music Festival, held at Point Defiance Park on July 28, 1946. The orchestra, conducted by Dr. Francis Aranyi, was photographed on the temporary bandstand erected in the natural amphitheater at the entrance to the park. The concert was attended by over 7,000 people. (TT 7/27/1946, pg 2 and 7/28/46, pg 1; TNT 7/27/46, pg.1 and 7/29/46, pg. 1& 2; Photo by F.L. Powell, YMCA, Tacoma)


The Puget Sound Navy Orchestra, from Seattle, performed jazz at the second annual music festival on July 28, 1946, at Point Defiance Park. The orchestra was under the direction of Ensign William Paul Currence. Watching and waiting for their turn to play, right, was either the 448th Special Service Band or Sharps and Flats, both groups from Fort Lewis. The newspapers classified their sound as "Boogie-Woogie." The 448th was under the direction of Sgt. Benjamin W. Martin; Sharps and Flats was under the direction of Joe Jordan. The concert, held in the natural amphitheater at the entrance to the park, drew over 7,000 listeners. It was also broadcast over the Mutual Network by KMO. (TT 7/27/1946, pg 2 and 7/28/46, pg 1; TNT 7/27/46, pg.1 and 7/29/46, pg. 1& 2; Photo by F.L. Powell, YMCA)


This photograph from the Helen Stafford collection is dated July 29, 1945, meaning it was taken at the first USO music festival at Point Defiance. Six thousand attendees sat on the grass to listen to the 362nd Army Band from Fort Lewis play Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Also performing were the 29th Special Service Band directed by Sgt. Earnest Hayden and the 25 voice Naval choir from Bremerton. (TNT 7/29/1945, PG. 1; Photograph by F.L. Powell of Tacoma)


ca. 1946. One of the purposes of the USO was to make the holidays more festive for servicemen stationed away from home and their families. This picture of a local pair, left, and four servicemen was taken around Christmas at the USO Club #2. All of the people in the picture are unidentified. The Club was reserved for servicemen of color; at this time, the military was still segregated. (Photograph by F.L. Powell, YMCA, Tacoma).


ca. 1946. A group of at a refreshment table at the USO #2, 713-15 Commerce St., around 1946. The border in the background is formed of a line of thumbtacked photographs of the USO Club. (photograph by F.L. Powell of Tacoma)

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