Dulcimer Jig


This dulcimer jig was made by Morris Pickow (uncle of George Pickow who was Jean Ritchie’s husband) in the early 1960s. It is made of wood with metal clamps and expansion screws for bending sides and gluing tops and bottoms for teardrop-shaped dulcimers. This jig was used to make dulcimers designed by American folk music singer and songwriter, and Appalachian dulcimer player, Jean Ritchie.

Jean Ritchie (1922-2015) became known as "The Mother of Folk" for her contributions to American folk music. She was instrumental in introducing the dulcimer to a wider audience as well as making dulcimers with her husband George Pickow (the maker of the "Wedding" dulcimer, Cat. #2015.0234.01).

In 1952, Jean Ritchie received a Fulbright scholarship to research folk songs and music that originated in Britain and Ireland, which subsequently made their way to the United States. Ritchie performed these songs in concerts throughout England and included some of the songs in her recording Field Trip, in 1954. After Jean Ritchie's return to the United States, she continued to perform and record. In 1959, she performed at the first Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. Jean Ritchie recorded over 30 albums and authored 7 books throughout her career. In 1977, she received the Rolling Stone Magazine Critics award for her album None But One.

In 2002, Jean Ritchie received a National Endowment for the Arts heritage fellowship. She continued to perform until 2009, when she suffered a stroke. A tribute album, Dear Jean: Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie was released in 2014 and featured musicians Janis Ian, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, and Kathie Mattea.

Date Made: early 1960s

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States

See more items in: Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments, Music & Musical Instruments, Dulcimers


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Peter Pickow

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2015.0234.04Accession Number: 2015.0234Catalog Number: 2015.0234.04

Object Name: jig

Physical Description: wood (overall material)metal (overall material)Measurements: overall: 5 in x 10 in x 41 in; 12.7 cm x 25.4 cm x 104.14 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b2-c2ba-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1803603

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.