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Thread: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

  1. #1
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    May 2005
    Driftwood, Texas, USA

    Default My Grandmother the Mandolinist


    After sorting through a ton of family photos I located this image of my paternal grandmother Jessie Howell playing her mandolin, while she was a student at Oberlin College. She no longer played by the time I was born.

    Later in life she lived in Sacramento California, so Id go visit her and take mandolin lessons with Tiny Moore.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Paul Glasse
    Driftwood, Texas

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  3. #2
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    Well, I'll go way out on a limb here and be the first to say something - which is, how cool is that? Sometimes we forget about the lives our forebears led, because we know them in this generational context, and didn't know them when they were our age. She sure looks like she is enjoying herself! Good for her. And it's easy enough to assume there's heritage in play here, that you were born with mandolin blood in your veins and mandolin thoughts in your mind. Good for you!
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  4. #3
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    Very cool you have that. Many of us have similar ancestry but no photos, and as you state, the relatives had long since ceased playing.
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  6. #4
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    Priceless photo. Thanks for sharing.

  7. #5
    Registered User Nick Royal's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    Well, she got to Oberlin College way before Chris Thile & the Punch Brothers who have been visiting the Conservatory at Oberlin in the last few years.

  8. #6
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    Nov 2002
    So Oregon

    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    That is great ! Fantastic photo.

    My professional, concertizing pianist aunt lived in Sacramento. I would visit and then take a mandolin lesson at Tiny Moore's shop.

    I have photos of two of my great aunts playing mandolin and have both of their instruments.

  9. #7
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    Dec 2008
    Greer, SC

    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    In 2017 I got my grandfather's mandolin that he set down when he joined the navy in 1917 to fight WWI. It is a fine old taterbug in a canvas case.

  10. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY

    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    My great aunt had a Martin A model mandolin and my cousin inherited it. However, when I asked my mother and uncle about it they said they never heard her play it.

    Paul, did you ever ask your grandmother why she stopped playing? Did you play for her?

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  11. #9
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    ... when I asked my mother and uncle about it they said they never heard her play it.
    It seems a lot of people simply gave up playing and put the mandolin in a closet. The woman I bought my Ceccherini from was surprised to find a mandolin among her grandmother's things some years after the old lady died. No one in the family seemed to know anything about this interest of hers. But with the mandolin came a big envelope full of music the grandmother had ordered in 1936.

    It's nice that you have at least that photo and those memories, Paul.

  12. #10
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    Northop, North Wales

    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    Great photo!

    I learned to play on the same mandolin as my grandfather and my mother, although neither of them ever became particularly good -- a 1920s or 30s German-made Majestic flattop (an American brand more associated with banjos, made under license in Germany), which my grandfather bought used in around 1940 together with a small instructional book. He died young a few years later and I'm not sure how much he ever played, but the mandolin and book then passed to my mother who learned to play using them, and then eventually to me many many years later. No photos of my grandfather playing mandolin, as far as I'm aware, although I remember my grandmother playing concert zither (a fiendishly difficult instrument!) and guitar when I was a kid.


  13. #11
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    Sep 2007

    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    Awesome photo, Paul, and awesome that she was part of your connection to Mr. Moore!!

  14. #12

    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    Great picture, Paul! You have mandolin playing in your blood!

  15. #13
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    Alvarado/Mansfield, Texas

    Default Re: My Grandmother the Mandolinist

    That is so cool, Paul, how fortunate to have that piece of family history preserved in a photo.
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