Not Valaida Snow!

If you are looking for photos of trumpeter/singer Valaida Snow on the internet, you will find the above photo on several websites. It is indeed a beautiful photograph – but it does not show Valaida Snow. In fact this is Lorraine Glover, wife of famous hardbop trumpet player Donald Byrd. And it was shot by William Claxton in 1960. There are several books of Claxton’s work in which this photo is featured (usually just credited “Mrs. Donald Byrd”). The websites on which this photo is credited as showing Valaida snow can’t either be reached or ignore my postings about this, so maybe this helps.

22 Responses to “Not Valaida Snow!”

  1. It does help, indeed! I’ve been trying to figure out who this is for 5 years! A print hangs on the wall at Mambo, a Cuban restaurant in Glendale, CA. Thanks!

  2. […] efforts to make it clear that a certain photo by William Claxton does not – as you can read on different websites – show Valaida Snow but […]

  3. Hi thanx for the tip (on my blog piccolino) ! i will correct it.

    have a nice day

  4. Andrea! Read this….

  5. That’s fabulous. Among all the other versions of that picture when you search for her online, is yours clearly correcting them. Well done, and clever!

  6. The woman in the picture is Yourna Byrd. She is Donald Byrd’s wife. The picture was taken in 1960.

    • Well, that’s what I said, isn’t it?

      • Is Lorraine Glover (“elgy”) the same person as Yourna Bird? It’s hard to find reliable information on the web, that’s why I ordered Claxton’s book “Jazz Seen” where this picture is featured to find out for sure 🙂

      • derisareson Says:

        and no, you said lorraine glover, I said yourna bird – still the same question: is lorraine = yourna? anyone got the private number of donald???

    This is not Valaida, or Mrs Glover!!
    This is Clora Bryant, a terrific trumpet player, according to Dizzy Gillespie. Her only solo album “Gal With a Horn” was recorded in 1959, three years after Valaida died… age 80, in Los Angeles, she was still singing!

    • Sorry, this is wrong. She does not even look faintly like Clora Bryant! Take a google picture search to see that! AND: This is a photograph by William Claxton and it is bylined “Mrs. Donald Byrd” in every book I have seen the picture in. AND there is another photo of this woman WITH DONALD BYRD in a New York subway in a train.

  8. […] an idea who this lady could be? (And no: Just the fact she is holding a trumpet does not make her Valaida Snow!) Or where and when this photograph was […]

  9. This is not Lorraine Glover, nor is it Valaida Snow & it is also not Clora Bryant! She is his wife for the past 19 years. The photograph was in fact taken by William Claxton in New York City.

  10. You won’t believe how many sites have this photo listed as ‘Vintage Billie Holiday’.

  11. Lorraine Glover is the name listed on Mr. Byrd’s Official obituary as his wife, who he married in 1955. no other name is indicated and there is no further information about her that one can find with out extensive searching.

    These links say that in the year 2000 Donald’s wife was “Yourna”, he also published a song in 1958 called “Yourna”, so, saying it is Lorraine Glover may be not wrong, but there’s no proof that it is right either. As long as I don’t see the “official obituary” (as parat said) of Mr. Byrd I believe more in sources than in statements without any proof. Maybe Yourna was a nickname of Lorraine and both assumptions are right, but I guess it’s hard to find out the truth in this case.

  13. Third Coda Says:

    I have what I consider to be pretty definitive evidence that Donald Byrd married Lorraine Glover in 1955. And proof that the woman pictured in 1960 is the wife of Donald Byrd. So either that’s Lorraine, Lorraine also goes by Yourna, or Donald divorced Lorraine and married Yourna.

    (1) I found this link to the archives of the Pittsburgh Courier, October 22, 1955:
    Without paying, I was able to see this excerpt on the page:
    “Trumpeter – Donald Byrd, featured with the George Wallington Quintet, and pretty Lorraine Glover tied the knot last ‘Saturday, which won’t, keep the bride from continuing her studies, as a classical pianist”

    (2) Also found this transcription from the “The New York Age” archive October 29, 1955, link:
    “Tnlmpet player Don aid Byrd (of the George Walling ton crew, at Cafe Bohemia) and classical pianist Lorraine Glover back from their honeymoon. Her father is the Rev. E. T. Boyd of Detroit. ”

    (So how funny is it that so many think the woman pictured is a trumpeter, but she’s a pianist and is just holding her husband’s horn!)

    (3) One obituary (not a recognized paper though) of Donald Byrd says that he was survived by his wife Lorraine. This one says they were married 58 years:
    “Jazz Master Donald Byrd, a leading hard-bop trumpeter, a musical pioneer, who collaborated on dozens of albums with top artists has died at the age of 80. He sadly leaves behind friends and family including his wife of 58 years, Lorraine Glover. ”

    (4) This note from says Donald named a song “Elgy”, on a 1957 release, for his wife’s initials, L.G.
    “The other two Paris vocals, “Early Bird” and “Elgy” (named for the initials of Donald Byrd’s wife, Lorraine Glover), are firmly planted in the unmistakable musical persona of Charlie Parker.”

    (5) there’s another photo by Claxton of Mr. and Mrs. Byrd from the same shoot! They’re on a subway train with Rolf Kühn according to the caption. She’s in the same dress and has the same purse sitting next to Rolf, and Donald is across the aisle with his horn.
    The photo was posted by Tom Schnabel at KCRW’s site:
    I bet he can clarify all of this!

    To drive you batty, others posted this other photo to pinterest and use the name “Yourna Byrd”. And another bombshell, someone claims to have known her in 2011 on another thread about the photo, and he says her name was Yourna! Dr. Cannon August 15, 2011 writes: “You’re both wrong. I know the Blackbyrd and his wife very well. The lady in the picture holding Dr. Byrd’s trumpet is his wife, but her name is Yourna. I spoke with her 3 days ago, and she is still strikingly beautiful! She remembers taking the photo. I’m puzzled as to why the photographer William Claxton credited the young lady in the picture as Lorraine Glover.” Well, I suspect it’s because that’s Yourna’s real name!

    So we know for sure that Donald Byrd married Lorraine Glover in 1955. We know “Mrs. Byrd” is in this picture and another with Donald Byrd. We know that some think Donald’s wife’s name was Yourna. We know divorce is a real thing, but we know that one obituary said his wife Lorraine survived him. We know that Donald wrote a song called “Elgy” and a song called “Yourna”. The simplest explanation is that Mrs. Byrd went by two names. Someone knows the answer . . .

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