Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 12 September 1991

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Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 12 September 1991

Postby dbennett » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:26 am

Paul Pyle (1913-1991) died in Tullahoma, Tennessee, the town where he was born.

In 1941 Paul married Martha Louella Martin (July 14, 1917-?). Mrs. Pyle helped her husband with their photography studio and later his dulcimer business, in addition to their various civic activities in and around Tullahoma, Tennessee.

Paul served as Seaman First Class during World War II. Later he was an award-winning professional photographer in Tullahoma operating a photography studio for more than 30 years. Paul was also very civic minded having served as a Tullahoma Housing Authority director, a City Councilman, and mayor pro-temp for Tullahoma.

In 2014 the city of Tullahoma named a bridge after both Paul and Louella Pyle because the Pyles had made a significant contribution to the city’s betterment. The resolution stated that Mr. Pyle, “through his community activism, photography and writings, made a contribution in preserving Tullahoma’s rich cultural heritage over his lifetime,” and Mrs. Pyle “supported and assisted Paul in the development of many community projects.”

Paul was interested in old time crafts and history and was author of books on local history, wood carver, collector of old musical instruments, old guns, Indian lore, civil war history, clocks, old photographs and documents. In addition, he was chairman of the civil war centennial commission as well as a member of the Tennessee Arts and Crafts Association.

Paul taught himself to play the Appalachian dulcimer as well as build them. The Pyles made more than 1,600 dulcimers, selling them at craft fairs. The local Tullahoma dulcimer club was named for him, the Paul Pyle Dulcimer Association. Mr. and Mrs. Pyle were at the heart of the dulcimer association’s Dulcimer Daze festival in Tullahoma for 20 years.

Paul published several books on playing and making dulcimers:
• How to Tune and Play the Dulcimer (1973).
• To Build a Dulcimer: A Simplified, Economical Demonstration in the Construction, Tuning and Playing of the Dulcimer (1976).
• The Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer Book (1976).

In 2016, the Tullahoma News wrote a story about how 99-year-old Louella Pyle had cast her first ballot in 1940 and was still voting. She first voted in the presidential election in 1940; that year, Mrs. Pyle supported Wendell L. Willkie who was running against Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Pyle Paul1.JPG
Pyle Paul2.JPG
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