|Wendell Phillip Culley (trmpt) in Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra
other artist shown: Duke Garrette
Howard Theatre, Washington
Summer of 1948
Courtesy of The Otto Flueckiger Collection
As time beats on, history can be forgotten and the people that made history happen may be long gone and their own stories may not ever be told. I have a friend that is a photographer and one that documents history through his lens. He mentioned that every 25 years we must ensure that the history is written down so that it will not be forgotten.
When I first started looking for photos of my Grand Uncle Wendell P. Culley, It seemed almost impossible to locate anything. I have done a few posts on Wendell, presenting a snapshot, a few ads, and photo’s from his yearbook when he attended High School Commerce in Worcester, Massachusetts. I had to travel to get a few of these photo’s as they were not readily available. It was shared to me that Wendell did not like pictures being taken of him, so that may explain why it has been difficult to locate many.
Since Wendell was not famous, but was well known in Jazz circles and had worked for famous Jazz artists, it would become clear that I needed to continually look and see if there were any immediate photo’s online of the bands he played for. (mind you, I did not even know what he looked like).
Wendell Culley was born and raised in Worcester, MA on January 8, 1906 and died on May 8, 1983. He was a sibling of thirteen documented children. He and his brother Raymond Mansfield *Cully, Jr. played in local bands in Worcester, MA and the New England area together. Raymond played drums and had a big influence on Wendell in how he played the tempo of his horn.
At this time travel is not possible, so my resources at hand are the internet and looking at finding aids and key archives that hold these artists photo’s and records; and of course inquiring further about the contents.
The contents of websites change all the time and this time I struck gold.
Wendell Culley had played for Lionel Hampton between 1944-1949. I happened to come across a website Crownpropeller’s Blog that was featuring Lionel Hampton at Strand Theatre. There was a very nice band photo, and upon clicking on the photo, the outside border of it had my Uncle’s name! BINGO! I was too excited! It was very difficult to see the detail of Wendell’s face, but when I clicked (read more)…There were sections of the photo blown up for the purpose of seeing the details.
I immediately contacted the blog administrator to get permission to use the photo from the collection. Permission was granted.
The purpose of this post was to share the photos I discovered, and I know it doesn’t do complete justice to Wendell. As time goes on and I do more research on Wendell Culley and his siblings more will be discovered. The lives of our families are so multi-faceted, so therefore another post will be necessary at a later date to share more.
I hope you enjoyed these photo’s as much as I do.
Now for some music….
*Culley or Cully..Wendell always added “e” to his last name.
**The photo at the top was sent to me by Armin Buettner as a Courtesy of The Otto Flueckiger Collection
via www.crownpropeller.wordpress.com. (Thank you for your kindess)
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