Jacqueline Dowdell

Jacqueline Dowdell received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.F.A. from Cornell University. She is a communications coordinator at Cornell Law School. Thanks to her mother’s memories, her grandmother’s meticulous archive of Specialty history, and a newfound enthusiasm for sound, she is working on a memoir about the Specialty Record Shop.

8 responses to “Jacqueline Dowdell”

  1. Bill Bagley says :

    Jacqueline…Is your Memoir available for purchase? Also, do you have a picture of the sign that once hung in the front of the store? Thanks, Bill Bagley billbagleyconsulting@gmail.com


  2. MELINDA WILSON says :

    I have enjoyed so much reading your article on Specialty. I actually now have my businesses there at 534 East Main & appreciate sharing it’s history with those who enter. I even received a surprise visit from John Bryant last year, who shared so much. It is now home to: O’Onda Gallery & Gifts (fine art gallery & fair trade gifts), MW Designs (interior design), From The Heart Int’l. (humanitarian aid focused on Mozambique, Africa), Being A Woman (Christ-centered conferences & events for women). Please stop in whenever you are in the area, I would love to meet you.


  3. Diana Ferguson says :

    I was so excited to find your piece on Specialty. Just in some random way I thought of your family’s wonderful store and decided to google it to see if I could find any write-up on it, and there it was! I believe I started tagging along to the store with my 16 year-old brother when I was 8 or 9 around 1963 or 4. John was so amazing and kind. My brother played in a rhythm and blues band with much older guys and he always enjoyed talking music with John. I was crazy about the soundproof booth where I could hear music before I bought. I’ve lived all over the US most of my life and music people can’t believe what a cool experience the soundproof room must have been. We were truly fortunate.
    But most of all, again my being a white kid like another posted, John was my first experience with an African American. I am so grateful because I never thought much about our skin color difference as significant. I do remember John’s love of life and welcoming kindness and how genuinely happy he always seemed to be to see us.
    I have a crazy love of music still today and I credit Specialty for being a part of that.


  4. Sondra says :

    My cousin and all his friend went every Friday after school and picked out new records. He brought them home and let me come down and listen too. He took me to buy my first 45’s and I still play them today on our jukebox. Thanks for sharing your memories.


  5. Nicolas Martin says :

    Thanks so much for writing about the store. My family loved shopping there and there were never more cordial or cool merchants. I miss ‘em!


  6. Darrin says :

    I grew up in Richmond but have since moved away. I brought up the topic of shopping in the Specialty Records shop as a kid, and my aunt found this article. As a white kid growing up in Richmond, shopping there provided my first interactions with anyone African American that I can remember, and it was a very positive experience. Everyone was so nice. I would love to know more about the book or share any memories that I have.
    Good luck with the project!


  7. Carole Godwin says :

    Jacqueline: I knew your grandparents and great aunt and uncle very well. They are a large part of my childhood and teenage memories, and they always treated me as family – that’s probably because of 2 things. My Dad was a great friend of your Grandfather, and I practically lived in that store for years. I would love to be in contact with you at some point – I really miss your family 🙂


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  1. The Specialty Record Shop « Sounding Out! - January 16, 2012

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