Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $84.00
  • Save: $29.22 (35%)
Only 13 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
America's Instrument: The... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE super saver shipping. Amazon customer service with delivery tracking.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Ninteenth Century Hardcover – September 20, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$54.78
$54.78 $35.00

May's Book with Buzz
"Valiant Ambition" by Nathaniel Philbrick. George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. See more
$54.78 FREE Shipping. Only 13 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Ninteenth Century
  • +
  • Ring the Banjar: The Banjo in America from Folklore to Factory
  • +
  • African Banjo Echoes In Appalachia: Study Folk Traditions (Publications of the American Folklore Society)
Total price: $109.68
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Bollman's collecting passion is material on historic banjo manufacture and marketingAhe houses over 300 instruments, thousands of photographs, numerous patents, trade catalogs, ads, sheet music covers, periodicals, and banjo-themed "realia" in his Boston-area home. For this book, he shared his vast knowledge of banjo history with cultural historian Gura (English/American studies, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), who augmented his research using other public and private collections. Thus, academic scholarship and collecting enthusiasm have combined to produce a responsible, entertaining overview of the banjo as an artifact of 19th-century American culture, one that crossed racial, economic, and stylistic lines and had a real effect on later musical developments, especially ragtime. Recommended for large American music and popular culture collections.ABonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Lib., Coll. Park
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

A landmark publication.

"Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society"

A clear and extremely detailed account of the banjo in nineteenth-century America.

"American Historical Review"

"America's Instrument" lavishly details the banjo from the pegface to tailpiece hanger bolt.

"Journal of American History"

We are given not only the rich history of the banjo but also a remarkable study of the American marketplace.

"Southern Cultures"

"[This book] makes it clear that the banjo is an essential constituent of what Greil Marcus once called 'that old, weird America.

"Times Literary Supplement""

ÝThis book¨ makes it clear that the banjo is an essential constituent of what Greil Marcus once called 'that old, weird America.

"Times Literary Supplement"

[This book] makes it clear that the banjo is an essential constituent of what Greil Marcus once called 'that old, weird America.

"Times Literary Supplement"

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Interested in the Audiobook Edition?
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1st New edition edition (September 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807824844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807824849
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.1 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #793,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert F. DeVellis on October 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for anyone interested in banjo history. It's well-written, authoritative, and loaded with wonderful illustrations. Even the physical construction of the book is outstanding. I had a copy on order before it was published, based on the strength of other publications of Jim Bollman's related to turn-of-the-century Vega banjos. I met Jim at his shop, The Music Emporium, in Massachusetts a while back. He told me about the book.
The book doesn't deal (other than a brief mention) with the later emergence of the 5-string banjo as the backbone of bluegrass music and the banjos pictured are all pre-war - WW I, that is. As the title suggests, it focuses on the earlier period of the prototypic banjos brought to America by African slaves, the evolution of those instruments during the minstrel era into the four-long-strings and one-short-string format that we all recognize, and their further evolution into technologically sophisticated and culturally refined instruments in the parlors of the wealthy. For many not familiar with the social transformation of the banjo in the late 1800's, this phase of its cultural history may come as something of a surprise. This book is extremely well documented, the product of the complementary skills and interests of its two authors, one an academician the other an ardent collector. Factory records, municipal directories, contemporary periodicals, patent applications, and other relatively inaccessible sources of information have been used to excellent advantage. You really get a feel for the personalities (banjo manufacturer and proponent S. S. Stewart being a notable and colorful example), the times, and significance of this instrument in the lives of people.
Read more ›
Comment 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
At last, another important book has emerged to stand with the few other necessary references on early American 5-string banjos.
Unlike the two fine Tsumura books which are primarily photographic essays of considerable magnitude, Gura and Bollman's treatise combines a highly readable and informed history with a remarkable collection of rare antique photographs and ephemera plus 4 lengthy sections of recent photographs of exquisite instruments and banjo related objects. Any one of these three aspects would be sufficient reason to own the book.
The frequently startling and personal photographs impart a very human feeling as we progress through the story of the evolution of the banjo in American culture. Amazingly, they represent just a minor fraction of Jim Bollman's immense collection.
Special praise is due Peter Szego for his magnificent photographs of the wonderful early banjos from his own collection.
I find it hard to remain objective as I turn the pages and imagine what it must have been like to pose for one of those Dageurreotypes, rudely dressed, banjo in hand, daring the photographer to capture my soul. And again, when I turn to that favorite Boucher or Fairbanks banjo and long to feel and play it.
Well done, gentlemen, and thank you!
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
If one were to collect instruments, art and ephemera to organize and document an exhibition about the banjo, a good place to start would be to review Gura's and Bollman's "America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Nineteenth Century." This impressive book actually seems like a comprehensive companion to a museum's exhibition which could have the same name, and I could envision such a treatise being a museum gift shop's best-seller.
James Bollman is recognized as one of our Nation's foremost banjo collectors, and his outstanding assortment of Victorian-era banjos and related paraphernalia is one of the finest in the world. He was very pivotal as a project consultant to the fine exhibition that took place in 1984 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called "Ring the Banjar!: The Banjo in America from Folklore to Factory," curated by Robert Lloyd Webb. That exhibit's catalogue had some wonderful information, photographs and illustrations. After seeing it, I was personally inspired to research and write an article about "Banjos at the Smithsonian Institution" which subsequently appeared in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine (Vol. 27, No. 5, November, 1992).
Philip Gura, historian and Professor of English and American Studies at the University of North Carolina, is an expert in the history and culture of America's music industry. I found Gura's 2003 charming book, "C.F. Martin and His Guitars 1976-1873," to be well-researched, thoughtfully written, beautifully illustrated, and professionally executed.
In "America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Nineteenth Century," Gura and Bollman begin by documenting the banjo's evolution from the plantation to the stage. An interesting overview of the minstrel tradition and early performers is given.
Read more ›
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
James Bollman's collection of banjos and banjo memorabilia is stunning and this volume may be the only way in which I would ever be able to view it in my home a photograph at a time. The history is a resource for historians and reenactors alike. The vintage photos are mostly ones I've never seen before. This collection has the most vintage photos of lady banjo players I have ever seen. The 1860's photo of a young woman playing the banjo on page 93 has enough detail for a reenactor to duplicate her dress and accessories as well as her banjo. The same is true of an 1895 photograph of a woman playing a Fairbanks Electric. The turn of the century all woman banjo band on page 10 is inspiring. It's great to know that there have always been lady banjo players and these photos give the lady reenactor a place to start when planning a period costume to go with a period banjo. There is a section of breath taking color plates in this book that allow you not only to see detail on some rare banjos, but also depict antique banjo clocks and memorabilia. I never knew such pieces existed until this book. A great book and a must have for anyone interested in vintage instruments and pickers.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Ninteenth Century
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
This item: America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Ninteenth Century