COLLECTION: Musical Instruments

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Banjo

1903
Origin: America, Southeast, Virginia, Rockbridge County
OL: 32 5/8"; Diam: (rim) 12 1/2"
Mahogany neck with iron/steel strings, elm rim with leather band and steel upholstery tacks securing hide head
Gift of Edward A. Chappell
Acc. No. 2006.3000.1
A five-string tack-head banjo without frets or tensioners
Provenance:Ed Chappell bought this instrument from an antique shop in Sperryville, Virginia, in 1977. It had a tradition of having come out of the Wade family home in Staunton at that time. (inscribed by Ed Chappell on underside of head) It is also inscribed on underside of head "Made by James H. Wade in May 1903" and signed five times by Samuel B. Wilson.

It is likely that James H. Wade (b. 1880), a flour miller from Walkers Creek District in Rockbridge County, made this banjo for Samuel B. Wilson, who was then nine years old and lived nearby. Wilson, unmarried, died of wounds in 1918, while fighting in World War I. The instrument was probably returned to the Wade family at that time, only to be sold out of their house in Staunton in 1977. (see folder for information which Susan Shames of the Rockefeller Library helped gather)
Mark(s):Ed Chappell bought this instrument from an antique shop in Sperryville, Virginia, in 1977. It had a tradition of having come out of the Wade family home in Staunton at that time. (inscribed by Ed Chappell on underside of head)

It is also inscribed on underside of head "Made by James H. Wade in May 1903" and signed five times by Samuel B. Wilson.