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GUITAR ZITHER, 1904
ST. LOUIS SPECIAL MODEL (COMMEMORATING 1904 WORLD FAIR)
MADE BY MENZENHAUER & SCHMIDT | GERMANY-USA
ON LOAN FROM BARBARA DICKSON AND KAREN MARTEL, DESCENDANTS OF THE SEAMAN FAMILY | CALGARY, ALBERTA
“This instrument was purchased by my great grandparents, Wilmer Lewellyn and Arvilla Ann Seaman, as a gift for their oldest daughter, Violet, who was born in 1897 in Kalispell, Montana and died in Vulcan in February 1909 at the age of 12. They would have probably purchased it through the Sears catalogue. We don’t have much information about Violet but this would have been a financial sacrifice for her parents so she must have wanted it very much. My great grandparents were Americans who homesteaded in Alberta in the Reid Hill district. From there they moved to the developing Vulcan area so that there was a school for their children. The instrument was passed down to me through my mother.”
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“I have read that the zither was considered ‘the wonder of the age’ and ‘the greatest musical instrument that has ever been placed before the public.’ It is purported to combine three instruments for the price of one and its name - also sometimes called a mandolin zither - is apparently derived from its sound - the doubled strings in unison courses produce a more mandolin-like sound.”