The White Owl BarBQ House in March 1965 Credit: Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum bought 40,000 photos in 2016 from the estate of Raeburn Flerlage, a music promoter, salesman, and radio host.

Flerlage also worked as a freelance photographer from 1959 to 1970. He died in 2002.


The museum has put many of the images on display in its new “Amplified: Chicago Blues” exhibit. It also put 1,00o of them online in an easily searchable database.

The photos include shots of blues greats like Koko Taylor and Willie Dixon as well as folk artists like Bob Dylan. Here are ten of our favorites.

Mike Bloomfield interviewing Howlin’ Wolf (Chester Burnett) at Burnett’s home in Chicago in 1964Credit: Raeburn Flerlage/Courtesy Chicago History Museum
Little Walter at Theresa’s Lounge in October 1965Credit: Chicago History Museum
Willie Dixon performing at a recording session at Delmark Records on June 26, 1968Credit: Chicago History Museum
Little Walter playing guitar near Maxwell Street in the early 1960sCredit: Chicago History Museum
Otis Spann and James Cotton rehearsing in Muddy Waters’s basement in Chicago in February 1965Credit: Chicago History Museum