Hello Everyone, My wife and I bought a violin at the Lebanon, TN Flea Market 20 plus years ago. Inside the violin , written in penciled cursive is the name C. Guhr, Chicago, Illinois
- 1861. We took it to Robertson& Sons in Albuquerque and had it reconditioned and my wife id playing it now. I know a lot of violins traveled with Union soldiers to Tennessee during the Civil War but we were wondering if anyone has ever heard of this violin maker or if anyone has another instrument that he made? thank you.
There was a Carl Guhr who published a book on Paganini's amazing violin playing technique. He was alive during Paganini's time but did NOT live in Chicago.
If a C Guhr made a few violins 150 years ago in Chicago, it might be difficult to track that down.
David Bromberg, according to an article I read, has one of the largest collections of violins made in the U.S. Track down his website and ask him. R/
Thank you all for the response on the C. Guhr violin. At least there's a starting place and a tiny glimmer of hope. We'd just love to know this fiddle's story if possible. When we bought it the original tailpiece had the name "Bess" engraved on it. Of course that's what my wife calls her fiddle. If anybody else has even a shred of info we would greatly appreciate it. I will check out Bromberg's site. Funny, I was just listening to his album yesterday.
Searching on Familysearch.org, there seems to be one Carl Guhr, listed as a "gentleman," who lived in Wisconsin, born in Prussia in 1794. Lived in Wisconsin from at least 1860 to 1870, recorded in both censuses. No other Carl Guhrs found, and since Wisconsin is close to Chicago, I would gather that would be him.
In 1860, he lived at (and also in 1870, it appears)
You might have some luck looking for descendants in Wisconsin and consulting them about Carl Guhr, there are multiple listings for "Guhr" in the Whitepages for the state of Wisconsin.
He died in 1881, per findagrave.com
My guess is that the fellow who wrote about Paganini is the same fellow who made your fiddle.
Edited by - gapbob on 04/17/2017 08:39:19
Hello Gapbob, Thank you for the Carl Guhr follow-up. Fascinating stuff. What is interesting too is that my wife's mother's heritage was Prussian and they settled in the same area of Wisconsin. My wife's father's family was also from the same area but were French Canadian and Native American. It would be very cool if the author Guhr was also the violin-maker Guhr. I found a downloadable copy of the book and printed off the cover for my wife. The book is written in German however.
Again, thanks for your time and research. She loves this fiddle.