2022 VOLUME 43

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The Prichard-Correll Piano: Amateur Piano Making and Rural Gentility in Piedmont North Carolina

Alexandra Cade

In rural antebellum America, a curious convergence of piano production and exuberant creativity inspired craftspeople with little to no formal training to create their own keyboard instruments. Amateur-made instruments deviate from professional norms, yet often display aesthetic influences from conventional piano forms and showcase creative solutions to the construction of intricate mechanisms that comprised some of the most complex technology extant in the early nineteenth century. Once dismissed by most experts for their odd qualities, surviving instruments and archival materials document a numerically small tradition of amateurism within American keyboard instrument craft. This article explores the intersection of cabinetmaking traditions, female accomplishment, and the musical environment of rural North Carolina as reflected in the production of an amateur-made piano crafted by David Prichard of Iredell County, North Carolina. While piano making falls under the broad category of the woodworking trades, the skills required for the production of keyboard instruments are more … Continued

2022 Editor’s Welcome

Gary Albert

Most readers of the MESDA Journal did not know Betsy Allen or will not recognize her name. She was a private person and given to strong opinions, but also wonderfully literate and an unapologetic Anglophile. Betsy was passionate about antiques and history. She provided expertise and well-honed editorial skills that shaped every article published in the MESDA Journal for over a decade. Betsy Allen passed away in April 2021. Our deep sense of loss has been buoyed by a significant anonymous gift in her memory to establish the Betsy W. Allen Memorial Fund that ensures publication of the MESDA Journal in perpetuity by underwriting all of the journal’s direct costs and expenses. This endowment is a most appropriate and meaningful way to remember and celebrate Betsy’s life and legacy. She loved antiques, but even more she cherished the evocative stories about people and places that are revealed through the study … Continued

Schools and Teachers that Contributed to the Kentucky Sampler Tradition

Sheryl DeJong

  Anglo-American settlement of Kentucky began in the 1770s and it was divided from Virginia and granted statehood in 1792, by which time a sampler tradition in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and coastal regions of the South had been established for over a century and schools teaching needlework to young women were already well established.[1] Did young women and girls in early Kentucky have opportunities to go to school and make samplers like their contemporaries elsewhere in America? If so, were Kentucky’s female schools impacted by early nineteenth-century reforms in women’s education that elsewhere in America that had begun to eliminate sampler making from curricula in favor of chemistry and other classes in the sciences? And how might Kentucky’s non-Protestant female schools have influenced its sampler tradition? Without any published scholarship on Kentucky’s samplers, this study addresses those questions by beginning to contextualizing Kentucky samplers within the American South and elsewhere in … Continued


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