Singleton Appalachian Dulcimer

Singleton Appalachian Dulcimer

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This Appalachian dulcimer was made by William C. Singleton in Viper, Kentucky, 1939. It is a single-bout dulcimer, with a wood nut and bridge, 4 strings (1 melody and 3 done), 16 metal frets, 2 heart-shaped sound holes and 4 small round sound holes on body, 2 round sound holes on fretboard, carved out pegbox with 4 wooden friction pages, and rounded head. There is an index card taped to the back of the dulcimer with typed text:

C 7 single bout Smith D 60 p. 75
1 of 4 strings fretted on 16 frets, hearts turned up to xx
possibly played held up with pegs down

and (label inside right sound hole):

”Viper, KY, W. C. Singleton
No. of dulcimer 83/August 2, 1939, my age 79 years"
Contributed to the Anne Grimes collection by the New York
Public Library 1952
Singleton was a friend and neighbor of the famous Ritchie
family, traditional dulcimer players and singers who also
told Mrs. Grimes that "Will Singleton sometimes made large
box type dulcimers known in Ohio as "scantlin's" (also
included in Grimes collection)."

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.

Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Singleton, W. C.
place made
United States: Kentucky, Viper
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 2 7/8 in x 6 1/4 in x 34 3/4 in; 7.3025 cm x 15.875 cm x 88.265 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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