Memphis Minnie (June 3, 1897 – August 6, 1973) was an American blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. She was the only female blues artist considered a match to male contemporaries as both a singer and an instrumentalist.
Born Lizzie Douglas in Algiers, Louisiana, Minnie was one of the most influential and pioneering female blues musicians and guitarists of all time. She recorded for forty years, almost unheard of for any woman in show business at the time and unique among female blues artists. A flamboyant character who wore bracelets made of silver dollars, she was a very popular blues recording artist from the early Depression years through World War II. One of the first generation of blues artists to take up the electric guitar, in 1942, she combined her Louisiana-country roots with Memphis blues to produce her own unique country-blues sound; along with Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red, she took country blues into electric urban blues, paving the way for Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Little Walter, and Jimmy Rogers to travel from the small towns of the south to the big cities of the north.
Learn more about Memphis Minnie, and listen to samples of her music, free from the National Park Service.