Frank Boyett: From Italy to Henderson, this is an American story

May 15, 2017 901

A young immigrant sailed into New York Harbor in 1871, and in 1942 the image of a white-haired old man returned. Those two dates book-end a musical story of America. According to his death certificate, Frank A. Marynell Sr. was born June 13, 1857, in Italy, but lived most of his long life in Henderson. In 1942 his portrait was taken by O.A. Egloff during a joint meeting of the photography clubs of Evansville, Henderson and Owensboro, according to Francele Armstrong’s column in The Gleaner of May 17, 1942.

That picture took top honors at an Evansville photo contest, and was on its way to a national photography contest in New York City. “This picture is more than a photograph,” Armstrong wrote. “It is a story of America. It is the story of an old man and his violin. It is the story of an Italian immigrant boy who landed at Ellis Island in 1871 with nothing but an adventuresome spirit and a violin; a violin which was so big for him that the little boy had to fiddle it lying across his knees.”

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