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African American Newspapers Forum

Re: Barbershop Clientele Discussion

Art's experiences in the 1940s gives us a firmer base from which to speculate on what went on in the decades before.

In one of the dissertations on black barbering (neither of which I have read thoroughly), is a chapter on the rise of competition from foreign barbers who aggressively tried to take over the white market.

As with everything else related to our search into the past, the question of "what" went on and "why" is usually only partially answered and becomes clearer as we built a body of evidence through newspapers, personal accounts (oral history), and a myriad of other documents. I would suspect in the case of small shops, a number of them may have done other work to supplement their income. Also I hear the word "tonsorial" frequently in the papers which leads me to believe that the range of services offered in many establishments went beyond shaving heads and trimming beards & mustaches. And finally one would have to add the surrounding rural area as a potential market for the small town barbers. Coming to town on a regular basis surely must have included more than a stop at the general store.

Hey Art, I wouldn't be surprised to find a few barbers earning extra $$$ by becoming newspaper agents and correspondents. :D


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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