Life, Liberty, and the Mummers
Publication: Oct 07
8.5 x 11
194 color photos, 6 halftones
A stunning photo-essay on America's most dazzling paradeRead the Introduction (pdf).
The Mummers Parade is like no other parade in the world. With 10,000 wildly-costumed participants stepping out every New Year's Day in South Philadelphia, it is one of the most spectacular annual parades in the U.S. This remarkable book is a "family portrait" of the parade. It presents, in pictures and in words, the flamboyantly-attired Mummers and reveals the everyday, working-class people beneath the outrageous garb. Noted photographer E. A. Kennedy spent four years documenting the Mummers and their parade. He has personally selected the striking images included here-more than150 in all-and he has written an engaging history of the Parade itself. As Kennedy explains, and as his photos make clear, "mummery" is a way of life for Mummers, who have deep attachments to their clubs, associations and brigades. For all its glitz, the Mummers Parade remains a folk parade. This is the captivating story of the folks behind the parade.
"You have your religion, we've got ours. You go to your church, we go to church too, but we also go to our clubhouses. That's part of our religion. That's our culture." —Francis "Frannie" McIntyre, who has been a Mummer for 73 of his 78 years
"Our clubhouse is like a church; it becomes spiritual. There's a lot of love here. A lot of guys don't have family. We're their family." —Bill Murtha age 55, a retired UPS truck driver
“At first glance, Kennedy’s appears to be a picture book—a large format collection of color photographs from four years of mumming. Examined more closely, however, Kennedy’s words prove as insightful as his photographs.... Kennedy has assembled a body of images and an informed commentary that gives form and color to these forces of continuity and change.” —Western Folklore
Table of Contents
Preface Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. The Mummers 3.The Comics 4. The Wenches 5. The String Bands 6. The Fancies 7. The Fancy Brigades 8. The Pursuit of Happiness Sources