Acoustic guitar, around 1890-1895
Mississippi John Hurt (around 1892-1966) was lent this guitar by music researcher Tom Hoskins to play at the 1963 Newport Folks Festival.
The youngest child of parents born into slavery, Hurt worked for decades in cotton fields near his Avalon, Mississippi, home. He developed a unique fingerpicking style and a colorful repertoire steeped in ragtime, blues, and old-time music.
Though he recorded in the 1920s, he did not reach a national audience until he performed with this guitar at Newport. There, Hurt captivated a generation of socially minded youth seeking inspiration from the folk and blues traditions at the heart of American music.