North America focus: Pioneer Spirit

Freelan Oscar Stanley

America has long been a land of opportunity for the talented luthier, whether professional or hobbyist, immigrant or national. Philip Kass explores the lives and work of six gifted US makers from the late-19th to mid-20th century, in this article from November 2008

In most European countries, trades were usually connected to guilds or traditions: one followed professions passed across generations. Not so in the United States. This nation, that great repository of the world’s malcontents, offered everyone the chance to remake themselves, to start life afresh, and then to follow their dreams, no matter what obscure byways those dreams might take them down. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that music figured early on in American life. Where there was music, there were violins, and the need for violins was filled, most often, locally.

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