.1 l.f. manuscripts, catalog, and monograph
Purchased from Lillian Caplan, Center for Musical Antiquities, New York,
Elias Howe (b. Framingham, MA, 1820; d. Watertown, MA, 6 July 1895)
was a fiddler who, after collecting numerous fiddle tunes, published them,
successfully sold them door to door, and opened two shops (Providence and
Boston) in the early 1840s. His books of arrangements and instrument instruction
were so popular that he was able to sell his business for a handsome profit,
enjoy a ten-year hiatus from publishing, but continued to collect dance
music and instruction books. When he reopened in 1860, he sold music, arrangements,
and also instruments. Within ten years he was also collecting rare stringed
instruments, and within the next ten years was a renowned dealer of the
same. His sons took over the business after his death, but the company
disbanded (and the collections dispersed) when it was sold in 1931.
Scope and content:
One (1) booklet on violin self-instruction . Two (2) short letters
on Elias Howe Co. letterhead, April 1893 and October 1894, attributed to
Howe's son, Edward Frank. One (1) trade catalog (1931) of violin instruments,
accessories, and components, as well as strings for other instruments.
The catalog is found in the trade catalogs file. The letters are in
the manuscripts collections filed under the accession number. The violin
instruction book is among the rare books.
Photocopies of Howe's books are found in the general collection and
accessed through PALS. Sheet music published by Howe can be found through
an Inmagic search of the sheet music database. Instrumental instruction
books and collections of small ensemble music can be found through an Inmagic
search of the rarebooks database using author, title, and publisher fields.