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Brad Dorsey

Does anyone have a violin made in New Hampshire?

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Brad, how is your NH violin collection coming along? Have you considered public ally cataloging itvrith photographs or opening s shop museum? Amazing work you are doing to preserve this history. Love it.

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What a fascinating subject! How many of your names are in the Wenberg book? I have owned several violins made by William Conant,  but he lived in Vermont. That’s right next-door to New Hampshire, so I wonder how many of your makers were influenced by him?

Has anybody written a book about the makers of New England?  Someone said Christopher Reuning was working on one but that was years ago.

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My list of New Hampshire violin makers is up to 139 names.  Wenberg has  entries for 49 of them.  My small collection contains nine violins made in New Hampshire by eight makers (and one bow).  The quality does not merit anything like a  public exhibition, though I'm willing to show them to anyone interested enough to visit me.  The closest thing I've done to a catalog is giving a copy of the list to the New Hampshire Historical Society.

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On ‎12‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 10:47 AM, paul cormier said:

I am working on a JLHerriman, from Berlin N.H. The violin was built in 1930. Very nice workmanship. It was a commissioned piece , built for a Dr in Berlin. Also, are you familiar with John Rowell , from Cannan Vt. He built 18 fiddles. I have one of his, and am a desendant

According to my information, John L Harriman was an upholsterer.  Someone informed me of a violin he made in 1932.  That's all I have on him.  Do you know anything about him such where he learned to make a violin, how many he made, birth and death dates, etc.?

I know nothing about John Rowell.

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15 hours ago, Brad Dorsey said:

My list of New Hampshire violin makers is up to 139 names.  Wenberg has  entries for 49 of them.  My small collection contains nine violins made in New Hampshire by eight makers (and one bow).  The quality does not merit anything like a  public exhibition, though I'm willing to show them to anyone interested enough to visit me.  The closest thing I've done to a catalog is giving a copy of the list to the New Hampshire Historical Society.

Wonderful. How many makers on your list have you documented through photographs of their instruments? This online reference of photographs and listings of NH makers, of all quality, would be an astounding reference and benefit to the historical record. I’d love to see it.

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1 hour ago, Brad Dorsey said:

Thanks.  How do you know it's Hampton, NH, rather than some other state?

All I have to go on is that I bought it 30 years ago from a New Hampshire antique pickers attic, who said is was from a local estate. and the look. I had many church basses back in my heyday as a violin Hunter, when you and I  used to run into each other all over New England.

That said, I can't definitely say NH, though I would tend to think so.

Glenn

 

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On ‎12‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 5:24 PM, Brad Dorsey said:

According to my information, John L Harriman was an upholsterer.  Someone informed me of a violin he made in 1932.  That's all I have on him.  Do you know anything about him such where he learned to make a violin, how many he made, birth and death dates, etc.?

I know nothing about John Rowell.

I'm looking into it. I know the violin was eventually owned by Larry Riendeau, and then Patrick Ross. Not sure how to send photos on this site.

John Rowell was a welder from Caanan Vt. He built around 18 violins. The one I have sounds pretty darned good. His kin lives in Concord Vt.

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There is a Maine list of about 150 makers, compiled originally by a man who spent his summer vacation searching for them. The Maine Historical Society in Portland has a copy, I believe. Dates go back to about 1850, I think. Nor is the list complete - new makers continue to crop up. For better makers, the Boston market seems to have been the preferred target, where money and customers were more plentiful. For example, Orin Weeman moved to Boston from Maine, and of course the Stanley operation ended up there when they started the car company.

Let me suggest that Brad's comment about New Hampshire, and by implication the rest of northern New England being "too rural" might be precisely backwards - the flood of cheap German instruments in the late 19th century most likely went first to the cities, where it was easy to find a violin. Later the instruments filtered out to the rest of the country, via the Sears catalog among other things, to New Hampshire and Maine, where there wasn't necessarily money but there was plenty of woodworking expertise and initiative (here in western Maine we invented the snowshoe industry and much of the manufactured wood products industry). Building a violin was cheaper than buying one, and once hooked by the iconic craft makers kept at it. And it was wonderful, surely, to be able to make something that would play music, and even to experiment with design, like Eugene Andrews of Norway, Maine, a left-hander who made a dozen or so violins for lefties, with a very narrow but deep body, which apparently sounded just fine. The newspaper stories say he started out in Stow, Maine, near the NH border, with his father's instrument, then tried to make his own using clapboards.

There is room here for a decent history, and I think a need for it, chronicling what might be described as a high art becoming also a folk art, without losing its connection between a local artisan and Stradivarius, though this may be an overstatement.

 

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Hi I have a Violin Signed in Pencil R. U. Hughes Maker 1881 N.H. Kinda nice with a hounds Head with ivory eyes and nostrils. Also signed in pencil, Repaired by C. K. BEAMAN BINGHAMTON N.Y. 1935

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i have a s a stokes violin made in rochester nh in1910 do you have any info on this instrument thanks laurie b

On 4/21/2005 at 11:46 PM, Brad Dorsey said:

New Hampshire is not known as a center for fine violin making. It has been too rural and lacking in the concentrated wealth and cultural resources of places like Boston and New York. Nonetheless, I have been collecting New Hampshire-made violins and information about New Hampshire violin makers for many years. My list of New Hampshire makers numbers a little over 100.

If anyone out there has any New Hampshire-labeled violins, I would appreciate it if you would contact me with the details (maker's name, date, town, etc.). Perhaps I can provide you with some information about your violin's maker. And if your violin is looking for a new home, I'm interested.

 

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On 4/22/2005 at 12:13 AM, T_Rocca said:

I saw a sign with a name and Violin maker on my way to visit John Lunn the flute maker

I lived in Newport, NH for six years and knew John.

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Do you have a David Marston, Jr. in Hampton NH on your list? I have a church bass made by him and I can find absolutely nothing on him as a luthier. The instrument is dated 1836.

 

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On 12/25/2018 at 9:52 PM, SingingTree Tonewood said:

 

David Marston, jr

 

I bought the Marston church bass from SingingTree Tonewood. I'd love to hear about any info on Marston.

 

 

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