This Appalachian dulcimer was made by Marcus Martin in Swannanoa, North Carolina, in 1952. It is a single-bout dulcimer made of sumac wood, with a wood nut and bridge, 15 metal frets, two diamond-shaped sound holes, carved out pegbox with 3 wood friction tuning pegs, and a violin-like carved head. Martin modeled this dulcimer after one found in a barn near his home in Swannanoa.
Marcus was one of the Smokey Mountains’ best-known fiddlers and a traditional fiddle maker. His son, Wade, a professional baseball player, apprenticed with his father, also became a noted instrument maker. Collector Anne Grimes considered their instruments among the best.
Anne Grimes (1912-2004) was an American journalist, musician, and historian of American (particularly Midwestern) folklore. Grimes studied voice and piano at Ohio Wesleyan and initiated graduate studies at Ohio State University. Following her education, Grimes was a music teacher, music and dance critic, and radio host. After WWII, Grimes began collecting and documenting folk songs throughout Ohio, as well as collecting Appalachian dulcimers and zithers. She would continue this work, performing, recording, and lecturing on instruments from her collection throughout the rest of her career.
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