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Catalog Data

Burch-Brown, Carol  Search this
Shamrock Bar (Bluefield, W.Va.)  Search this
Kilkelly, Ann  Search this
1 Cubic foot (2 boxes )
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Compact discs
Digital images
Oral history
Appalachian Region
West Virginia -- 1990-2000
Bluefield (W.Va.)
The collection documents a working class "gay" bar, the Shamrock Bar, Bluefield, West Virginia, 1997-2000, through photographs and oral history interviews.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of Carol Burch-Brown's photographs (200 photoprints, mostly silver gelatin on fiber-base paper, but including more than a dozen digital prints), copies of tape-recorded interviews (on 26 compact discs), and transcripts of interviews (3 volumes plus a compact disc containing Word files) made at the Shamrock Bar, Bluefield, West Virginia, 1997-2002, documenting a working-class gay bar. The photographs include "drag" performances, pageants, and other activities at the bar. Many show performers applying makeup and donning costumes, including the use of prosthetic breasts. Pictures taken in the bar are often in a soft-focus, slightly blurred, high-contrast, impressionistic style. There are a number of sharp-focus portraits, however, and exterior views of the building, its neighborhood, and the town are sharply focused, detailed documentary images. Names (usually pseudonyms or stage names) which turn up in the interviews include: Natasha Michaels, Nikki Eaves, Shea West, Cortney Collins, Taylor Made, India Dream, Clinton, Tiffany Aver, Terba Devero, Roxie Morehead, and Dorothy. The performer "Bunny" is actually the photographer's friend and colleague, Ann Kilkelly. Many of these persons are also shown in the photographs, as is Helen Compton. Note: The audio compact disks are not original recordings, and may be played by researchers directly.
The collection is divided into three series. Series 1: Photoprints Series 2: Text (including transcripts of interviews) Series 3: Compact discs
Carol Burch-Brown is Professor of Art and Humanities at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, and is a photographer, painter, and musician. Photographer and co-author with David Rigsbee, Trailers, University Press of Virginia, 1996.
During its heyday, the Shamrock Bar in Bluefield, West Virginia was a gathering place for gays and lesbians. The photographer reported in March 2003, before donating this collection, that Miss Helen Compton, proprietor of the Shamrock, had died and the establishment had been closed.
Other Title:
It's Reigning Queens in Appalachia
Colection donated by Carol Burch-Brown, December 2003.
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Reproduction restricted due to copyright. Requests will be referred to the photographer.
Bisexuality  Search this
Working class  Search this
Homosexuality  Search this
Bars (Drinking establishments)  Search this
Gay artists -- Interviews  Search this
Lesbian and gay experience  Search this
Transvestism  Search this
Transvestites  Search this
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1990-2000
Compact discs
Photographs -- Digital prints -- 20th century
Digital images
Oral history -- 1990-2000
Interviews -- 1980-2000
The Shamrock Bar: Photographs and Interviews by Carol Burch-Brown, 1997-2003, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of the artist.
See more items in:
The Shamrock Bar: Photographs and Interviews by Carol Burch-Brown
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History