Anne Grimes Book

Share tidbits of dulcimer history, or history of the songs we play on them

Anne Grimes Book

Postby kwl » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:57 pm

I just received my copy of "Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music" today. It was in my PO Box when I went to the post office this morning. Since I did not go to the post office on Saturday, it may have been there then. I immediately turned to chapter 12 and read about Kendra Ward's father and grandmother. The book is filled with wonderful stories about dulcimer players and their instruments as well as other folk music people. It comes with a CD from Anne's field recordings. Compiled by her daughters, it is a fitting tribute to a woman who contributed to folk music research in Ohio. Some of the photos in the book show mountain dulcimers from her collection which is now in the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. If you have an interest in mountain dulcimers and their history this book should be in your personal library. You can order a copy from Ohio University Press: www.ohioswallow.com . Currently it is listed as 20% off which makes the paper back $27.96 and the hardcover $47.96.

I have not had time to listen to the CD yet, but will soon.

BTW, I do not receive anything from the sale of this book. I am just enthusiastic about sharing it with you.
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby pristine2 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:04 am

kwl wrote:I just received my copy of "Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music" today.


Musicians, builders, collectors and anyone who appreciates the mountain dulcimer owe a huge debt to this woman. Her painstaking efforts in preserving the diverse physical history of our instrument inspires still. I never had the privilege of meeting her. But when confronting an old, deteriorating but culturally & historically significant musical instrument, I find myself asking: "What would Anne Grimes do?"

There have been many fine academics and curators who have contributed much to the preservation and revival of American diatonic instruments. But it is she who set the finest ethical & spiritual example for private caretaking and celebration of both the music and the craft.

Very pleased that her legacy is strengthening rather than fading.

Richard
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Robin T » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:08 pm

My copy came with yesterday's mail! I've read the section that includes Kendra's dad, Ken, and her grandmother, Lilly McGhee Ward Swick. Also, I've read about Brodie Franklin Halley. Reading these two sections alone might cause one to re-think ideas about what's 'traditional' about the mountain dulcimer-- neat! 8)

ED'er Julie Elman designed this lovely book. Not only did Ohio University Press get a top book designer, Julie plays dulcimer and knew Anne Grimes! (On a personal note, I've gotten to visit with Julie and play music-- what fun!)

I look forward to reading more of the book and seeing further posts here.

Robin T
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Kendra Ward » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:37 am

I am just thrilled by this book! Anne was a wonderful person and all dulcimer players should be thankful and grateful to her and her daughters for preserving this history. As a kid, when Dad and I would visit her, I just wanted to stay with her dulcimer collection and take in each and every one. I could look at them for hours on end! They were all truly magnificent!

I just received copies of letters that Dad had written to her in the 50's and even a letter that I wrote to her in the 70's. It was just awesome to read Dad's letters to her.

This is a book that everyone should have. I hope we can have a planned celebration and book release party at the Coshocton Dulcimer Days next year as a tribute to Anne. She was always a part of that festival.

Kendra
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Robin T » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:12 am

Yesterday I worked outside and listened (on my iTouch) many times to the songs from the cd that have dulcimer music-- wonderful! And Kendra, I had your dad's "Golden Slippers" in my head all evening-- it's a tune I've heard but it never 'stuck' 'til hearing your dad's play of it. Now I want to play it! It's so neat hearing Anne and your father talk before he plays music, too.

After I cleaned-up from outside work, I settled in with the book. While I've not read the whole thing, I went through from front to back, savored the photos and read bits here and there. Many place names are familiar and Chapter 20's feature on Amanda Styers Hook holds particular appeal because she didn't live far from where I live. (And the murder ballad called "Terrell" took place in Gore OH-- a village I've been through many times.)

This book has me looking at my ideas of "traditional" in relation to the mountain dulcimer. From what I've gathered so far, folks who played the instrument in days gone by were probably individuals who learned from tradition and then formed their own preferences and even experimented.

I'll be reading further, gleaning more-- there's treasure to be found here for a long time to come! 8)
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Frimp » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:26 pm

I read the previous posts on Anne Grimes' book yesterday. It looked so interesting to me that I ordered one last night. I'm looking forward to reading it just as soon as it arrives! Anything to do with historic mountain dulcimers fascinates me.
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Robin T » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:49 pm

It's a treat, Frimp! I should say they're a treat-- both the book and the cd! :D

I've played "Golden Slippers" today, having learned the tune from the cd. 8)

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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Banjimer » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:48 pm

I too have the book and have begun to skim/read through the pages. I was surprised to learn that there were "scantlings" (box-shaped dulcimers constructed from 2 x 4's) being built in the lumber camps of southeastern Ohio as early as the 1870's. About the same time period as Thomas and Prichard began making their hourglass dulcimers just south of the Ohio River in eastern Kentucky.

For those with the book, this is mentioned in Chapter 1 "Frank Allen" on page 19. I encourage others reading the book to join in when they discover a bit of information concerning dulcimer history.

Greg
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby kwl » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:31 pm

Thanks Greg. I haven't had a chance to start through the book yet, only chapter 12. Can't wait until I have the time to sit down and read it.
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Robin T » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:22 pm

Scattered thoughts:

I'd like to know more about dulcimer makers John Wright of Eno, Ohio, and George Butcher. (60-1) [Lilly McGhee Ward Swick had a dulcimer that "had been made for her by a 'Butcher.'" (60)] Mrs. Swick's dulcimer had been made around 1895 and it had been patterned after a John Wright dulcimer. (60-1)

In 1966, Anne Grimes had a dulcimer made for her by Ohioan Ron Chacey. Was he a well-known maker?

Jane Jones McNerlin (photo 112, profile 113) held the dulcimer in an unusual fashion--and she held it the way her father and grandfather had held the dulcimer. Though I don't recall the page on which I read it, Anne Grimes adopted a similar fashion for her own play. (See cover photo and p11 for photos taken in 1957. See also the 1987 photo by Julie Elman on p13.)
EDIT on 4 August '10: On p113, Mrs Grimes wrote, "For some of my performance pieces, like 'Hush, my Babe,' I adopted the McNerlin family style of holding the dulcimer , but I never met or heard of another dulcimer player who played it that way."

Brodie Franklin Halley would play his dulcimer with a fiddler for parties-- the fiddler would begin a tune and Brodie would join in. I've been curious about the past use of the dulcimer with other instruments-- have read of it in Gerry Milnes's Play of a Fiddle.
Last edited by Robin T on Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Frimp » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:54 pm

Yeah, what's up with that? Anne held the dulcimer upside down to play! Looks uncomfortable to me. I got my book/CD the other day, and am quite impressed by it. I wish the "bawdy" songs were not included, however, even though they're real folk music. The photos of dulcimers and players are a treat. I haven't read through the book yet, but expect to soon.
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Robin T » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:10 pm

This is just a guess on my part: Anne adopted that way of holding the dulcimer because she was a singer, too, and the volume and projection of both voice and instrument were improved by holding it this way (as opposed to positioning the dulcimer on her lap and, perhaps, looking down at the instrument).

To me, the songs included-- the sacred and the secular-- give me glimpses into the past, into worlds in which others lived and worked.
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