Calhoun Folk Fiddle

Description (Brief)
This violin was made by A.B. Calhoun in New England in 1896. Makers of folk instruments typically incorporate unusual materials, design or construction methods in building inexpensive but clever hybrid models of familiar, commercially marketed musical instruments. This cigar-box shaped fiddle has enlarged top and bottom blocks that also form the entire upper and lower ribs. The outline is completed by two straight side ribs nailed to these blocks. The table and back are also nailed to the end blocks, but glued along the length of the side ribs. The neck is attached by two screws.
Accompanied by a bow painted black and a fitted case painted in imitation of bird's-eye maple, the fiddle shows signs of much use in the grooved wear marks on the fingerboard. The instrument was acquired by the donor in the New England area of the United States, but there is no known written reference to the name A. B. Calhoun.
This violin is made of yellow pine, with neck, pegbox and pegs of hickory stained reddish brown, with the pegs, pegbox and fingerboard painted black.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Calhoun, A. B.
Physical Description
pine (overall material)
overall: 23 1/4 in x 6 7/16 in x 3 1/4 in; 59.055 cm x 16.35125 cm x 8.255 cm
Place Made
United States: New England
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Beatrice A. and Jacques Francais
Additional Media

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