Smithsonian Collections

Castor Folk Fiddle

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Data Source
National Museum of American History
Description (Brief)
This fiddle was made by John Castor of Piney Woods, Mississippi in 1850. This folk violin from traditional violin shape has “filled” center bouts, creating a “guitar-type” outline. The instrument bears a strengthening bar inside the body extending from bottom to top block. This fiddle is made of a one-piece table of pine, one-piece back of irregularly figured maple, ribs of similar maple, maple (?) neck, pegbox and plain “handle” in hammer shape. The back of the fiddle bears a label that reads: “Made by John Castor, “Piney Woods” near / Woodville, Miss. in 1850. He was left / handed, and the best jig fiddler in / the whole country. Castor heard Charles / Wyn(er) (?) (a pupil of de Beriot) play and / out of gratitude gave him this violin. / Wyn(er) (?) gave it to William Feltus, he to / Thomas M. Wetherill, my brother, and / my brother to me, Mayer Wetherill / in 1857.”
Location
Currently not on view
maker
Castor, John
date made
1850
Credit Line
Gift of Louis Krasner
Physical Description
pine (table material)
maple (back material)
Measurements
overall: 23 7/8 in x 8 1/8 in x 4 in; 60.6425 cm x 20.6375 cm x 10.16 cm
Object Name
fiddle
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Violins
ID Number
MI.69.14
accession number
282344
catalog number
69.14
Place Made
United States: Mississippi, Piney Woods