This banjo was made by Samuel Swain Stewart Co. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, about 1889. It is a Five-String Banjo, serial #6682, with a metal-covered wooden hoop, 26 metal brackets, dark wood veneered fretboard and peghead, with shell inlay, rosewood neck, carved heel, and friction pegs. The banjo’s dowel stick is stamped:
S.S.S. [in a peghead outline]
(There is a metal plate on the dowel stick) stamped:
Samuel Swain Stewart was a noted banjoist, one of the most prolific makers and popularizers of the banjo during the late 19th century. He was a determined advocate of "finger-style" (today's classic) technique, as opposed to the traditional "stroke style" (today's clawhammer or frailing) technique.
Through such writings as his pamphlet The Banjo Philosophically. Its Construction, Its Capabilities, Its place as a Musical Instrument. Its possibilities, and Its Future, he pursued a determined campaign to "elevate" the image of the banjo by disparaging and even denying its African American and minstrel show origins. He produced banjos in a wide range of styles and costs and was influential in creating the popular enthusiasm for fretted instrument clubs and orchestras which persisted into the 1930's.
- Currently not on view
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
- Samuel Swain Stewart Co.
- date made
- ca 1889
- Credit Line
- Gift of Mrs. Richard S. Tilton
- Physical Description
- wood (overall material)
- metal (overall material)
- overall: 36 in x 11 3/4 in x 2 1/4 in; 91.44 cm x 29.845 cm x 5.715 cm
- Object Name