Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 12 October 1911

A dose of mountain dulcimer history throughout the year

Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 12 October 1911

Postby dbennett » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:32 am

Thomas “Stanley” Hicks (1911–1989) was born. Both of his parents, Roby Monroe Hicks and Buna Presnell Hicks were well-known singers and musicians. Handcrafting banjos and dulcimers ran in his family with both his father and grandfather Sam Hicks making them and they passed that skill on to Stanley. Stanley was also well known as a musician, dancer and story teller. He sold instruments out of his home and at Jack Guy’s store on Beech Creek.

In her book, American Banjo Echoes in Appalachia (1995), Cecelia Conway gives the following quote from Stanley: “My daddy’s gone on; my grandpaw’s gone on; my great-grandpaw’s gone on. But they still live - you know, the spirit’s still here. Your folks can die and go on, but they’re still here. I don’t know whether you ever thought about it like that or not, but I can show you. Here is my Daddy’s dulcimer. That’s his dulcimer he built years ago; it still lives, it’s still here. You see, hit’s still here, it’s not gone. And same way by myself - when I’m gone, there’s some of my stuff that the young ‘uns ... you know, it still lives. “

In a 1980 article, it was said of the antique tools in his shop, which he still used, “My dad made all of his tools,” he said. Hicks also said when he was young dulcimers sold for $2.50 or $3 “if you could find a buyer.” He said his instruments, in 1980, sold for $95. Hicks also said, said “if I was to work at it, it would take 37 hours to make a dulcimer.”

In 1980, the North Carolina Folklore Society presented Stanley Hicks with its highest honor, the Brown-Hudson Award. A federal honor followed in 1983, when he was presented with the National Heritage Fellowship of the Folk Arts Program of the National Endowment of the Arts. Hicks was also recognized as a “National Historic Artist” by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, US National Park Service.
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