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Boys with Willow Whistles

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The supple branches of willow trees can made into whistles. The boy on the left has used his pocket-knife (a common toy for a boy when this photograph was made by Frances and Mary Allen around 1900) to cut the bark from a willow twig. Once the bark is cut, short taps will loosen it, letting it form a cuff or sleeve. The inner part of the twig is then slightly carved to make a channel, and the sleeve tripped to form a whistle hole. The boy on the left is trimming a second whistle. Francis and Mary Allen of Deerfield, Massachusetts, created a huge number of illustrations of New England, village life, and other scenes during their long photographic career (1885-1920).


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