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Thread: Mandolin Orchestras in 1900

  1. #1
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    I'm looking for photos of some the old, large mandolin orchestras from the late 1800's and early 1900's. Can anyone point me in the right direction, please?
    hat3

  2. #2
    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Try http://www.harpguitars.net/

    This site has a ton of great old photos, including a number of images of vintage mandolin ensembles. Most of them feature a harp guitar or two, but don't let that dissuade you from exploring a very cool site.





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  3. #3

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    On the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra site: http://www.milmando.org click on "photo's" and you'll find a few old ones in the mix. The oldest is 1908. The dates are printed on the pictures. If you click on a photo it enlarges.
    --Linda

  4. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    I am not sure if you are looking for original ones to own or just scans. If the latter: I have a few I have scanned and a few I can scan for you, if you like.

    I will check when i get home later.

    Jim



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  5. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Here is one of my favorites.

    Jim
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    Jim

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    On the "history" page of our website, you can find a few photos of the Royal Estudiantina "La Napolitaine" in early days ...

  7. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    As to the discussion of orchestras of more than 100 players, I have seen fairly few. Tho this may (or not) be of interest (from the Guiness Book of Records site):
    Quote Originally Posted by
    Largest Orchestra
    The world's largest orchestra consisted of 6,452 musicians from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and music students from throughout British Columbia. They played at BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, Canada, on May 15, 2000.
    Jim
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  8. #8
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    We have a photo of the early 1900s Dayton Mandolin Orchestra posted in our Photography section: http://DaytonMandolin.net/ I'm also scouting around for additional information about our musical ancestors, but the needle-in-haystack syndrome is prevalent...

    -Allen.
    Dayton Mandolin Orchestra: http://DaytonMandolin.net/
    Midwest Mandolin Quartet: http://DaytonMandolin.net/MMQ/

  9. #9
    Registered User Bob DeVellis's Avatar
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    This one could have gone into the "women with mandolins" thread, too.
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    Bob DeVellis

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    Registered User Bob DeVellis's Avatar
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    Another. Note the Howe-Orme mandolin in front.
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    Bob DeVellis

  11. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Here's one I dug out from behind my desk. It was a pretty large, panoramic shot of The Mozart Orchestra, Brooklyn, NY 1918, M. Stockman, Director.

    I had to scan it in two pieces and seam it together.

    Jim
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  12. #12
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    Here's a photo of the Louisville Mandolin Orchestra in 1988, from the website of the LMO. The brilliant Phil Wakeman created this homage to those old turn of the century mando orchestra photos. My Flatiron octave mandolin is just to the left of the sign on the floor. It may not have been a century but it seems now like that was a long time ago.

    John Goodin


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    Interesting that the Mozart orchestra appears to be playing bowlbacks almost exclusively as late as 1918. #Did the Gibson marketing juggernaut not get up to full speed until the 20's - or were some players able to resist?
    You can find historic photos of the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra at BMO. #Choose "About the Orchestra", then click on "the original BMO" in the text.




  14. #14
    Registered User Bob DeVellis's Avatar
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    I think the East Coast mandolin ensembles were a bit different from those in the Midwest. A lot of northeastern ensembles were clubs based at universities. They were usually run by a faculty member from the Music Dept. In some cases, I think the club owned at least some of the instruments so they tended to remain in use over the years. I have several photos form college yearbooks of mandolin clubs that were loaded with Vega, Howe-Orme, and other non-Gibson, mandolins made in the northeastern states. The college music groups seemed to vary from year to year, taking on the form of Glee Club, Banjo Club, Mandolin Club, etc., depending on what was most popular at the time. The changes seem to have been more gradual than abrupt. So, as a (5-string) banjo club got more and more mandolins, it eventually evolved into a mandolin club. Years later, it might have again evolved into a banjo club but with tenor and plectrum banjos instead of 5-strings. You can see these changes over successive yearbooks. Besides the more formal faculty-sponsored clubs, there seem to have been less organized, more social music clubs at schools and colleges. Think the racoon coat and ukulele crowd depicted in movies about 1920s college life. In the Midwest, I think there were more community-based ensembles set up by the Gibson reps who used the clubs as a vehicle for sales. No Gibson? No membership! In some ways, those groups may not have really wanted members to stick around for that long. If people dropped out, they just opened up a spot for a new member and a new sale. The community-based orchestras, usually associated with a city of considerable size, seem to be something else again. They may have been where the collegians went to play after graduating. Paul Ruppa is the guy who really knows about this stuff.
    Bob DeVellis

  15. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    In another thread, Bernunzio's gallery page was mentioned.

    Jim
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    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

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