I can’t believe I just heard about this! (from fellow researcher Les Cook)
It’s called Chronicling America (Historic American Newspapers), a joint project between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. I’ve no idea yet how extensive this is, or will be (it’s been building since 2007), but typing in the phrase “harp guitar” yielded 256 entries – the very first one a 1913 ad for The Troubadors, with “E. A. Lambourne: Musical Director and Symphony Harp Guitar” (Knutsen or Dyer?). Of course, like all searches, “harp, guitar” (separated by a comma, so not applicable) may be the most common result (although the image with a Gibson in the 5th listing returned is encouraging).
Les found these 2 new images from his “Hawaiian Music” search, kindly forwarding to me for inclusion on the site:
Moana Vierra’s Royal Hawaiians, with 5- and 6-sub Dyer players. This find is cool as we’ve got several “Vierra’s Royal Hawaiians” images with different members, but I don’t think we realized there was a Vierra “woman,” Moanna (who is in all but one of the groups?).
I can see that lots of endless hours of searching await!