Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 28 October 1903

A dose of mountain dulcimer history throughout the year

Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 28 October 1903

Postby dbennett » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:29 am

28 October 1903 is the date on a dulcimore made by James Edward "Uncle Ed" Thomas (1850-1933). According to Ralph Lee Smith it is the second oldest known Uncle Ed dulcimer and, "It is, by some nine years, the oldest Thomas yet found that has heart-shaped sound holes." A notable feature of this Thomas dulcimer is the figural carved scroll or pegbox. It is carved as an animal head, which appears to be a ram or a dog, with its tongue sticking out.

This dulcimer was owned by Prof. Josiah H. Combs (1886-1960), originally from Hazard, Kentucky and was given to him as a gift for being part of the first graduating class at Hindman Settlement School, Hindman, Kentucky. Combs became a well-known folklorist and folk music performer, touring in the U.S. and Europe with this dulcimer. Recordings of Combs playing this dulcimer are in the Folklife collections of the Smithsonian Institution. Combs gave this dulcimer to folklorist D.K. Wilgus, who kept the instrument until his death in the 1980s. Wilgus' widow donated the instrument to Berea College where it now resides.
Combs w Thomas Dulcimer.JPG
Combs w Thomas Dulcimer2.JPG
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dbennett
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 28 October 1903

Postby dbennett » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:30 am

I was fortunate to get to examine many fine dulcimers at the Appalachian Teaching Collection in the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center at Berea College. Being able to hold a dulcimer that Uncle Ed Thomas, and others, had held was awesome.
Thomas 1903.JPG
Thomas 1903 b.JPG
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 28 October 1903

Postby Frimp » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:02 pm

Yes, Dave, seeing and holding original Thomas dulcimers is awesome. I saw some of those too when I went to the college and asked about them.
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 28 October 1903

Postby kwl » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:28 pm

David, I am curious about the zither by your left hand. It is similar to one I examined at the Landis Valley Farm Museum in Lancaster, PA.

Ken
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song.
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IMG_1843.jpg
My reproduction
DSCN1919.jpg
Landis Valley Museum collection
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 28 October 1903

Postby dbennett » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:12 am

Last edited by dbennett on Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 28 October 1903

Postby kwl » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:38 am

Thanks, David. I sent you a PM about these photos.

Ken
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