(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
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).