Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

Calhoun Folk Fiddle

Calhoun Folk Fiddle

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
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.
Place Made
United States: New England
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
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Beatrice A. and Jacques Francais
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

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.


Add a comment about this object