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Lyrics, Letters and the Forgotten Lives of Ben Irving

Taking a step away from my normal sphere today… This is an intriguing slice of family history, as presented by my insanely interesting and hilarious cousin, the newly-minted Dr. Tyler Sonnichsen. My great-grandfather, who went by the stage name of Ben Irving, was a mainstay on the Hartford jazz circuit during the 1920s when the Great Depression hit. Thereafter he moved the family to Brooklyn and took to the road as a sales representative, sending back postcards from every city he visited… and those postcards are now in the hands of Tyler. I’ll let Tyler tell you the rest.

Sonic Geography

New Picture Click to watch at PechaKucha.org

Pecha Kucha Knoxville recently uploaded the PowerPoint and Audio from my November presentation about my great-grandfather. This was a 6 minute, 40 second truncation of archival work I’d been doing about over a thousand postcards he sent from the road in the 1930s and 40s. It is an ongoing project that has been as rewarding as it has been educational and surprising regarding both my family history and a different era in American cultural life.

Here is my respectful sales pitch: If you enjoy what you see above, let me know. I am always happy to bring this lecture (in any reasonable length) to present at your company, school, civic organization, for any interested parties. Feel free to contact me at sonicgeography [at] gmail. I presented an hour-long version of this talk, which included a handful of his original song lyrics, more news clippings, and…

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