National Guitar Month

April is National Guitar Month and to celebrate, the IDHH spotlights items from two collections from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Library: the Sousa Archives Music Instrument Digital Image and 3D Model Collection and the John Starr Stewart Ex Libris Collection.

The John Starr Stewart Collection comprises more than 1500 book plates, book stamps, and spine labels from the late 19th century and earlier. Among these is a stamp from Leipsig, Germany that features a guitarist identified as Agnes Drobner.

Poster with illustration of woman playing guitar.
Horst-Schulze. Drobner, Agnes. 1900. UIUC Library. John Starr Stewart Ex Libris Collection. Permission to display was given by UIUC Library.

The Sousa Archives houses thousands of pages of sheet music, musical instruments, and other historical artifacts pertaining to America’s diverse music heritage. Among these is a fascinating collection of early and experimental guitars, including some of the first electric Hawaiian guitars produced. Included below are an assortment of these unique guitars, including table and lap-style guitars developed by Eddie Alkire and produced by the Rickenbacker and Epiphone guitar companies, as well as Alkire’s modified 12-string acoustic Oahu GUITAR.

Electro A-22
Rickenbacker. Steel guitar. ca 1932. UIUC Library. Sousa Archives Music Instrument Digital Image and 3D Model Collection. Permission to display was given by UIUC Library.
Oahu Jumbo 68B model acoustic guitar
Hawaiian guitar. Date unknown. UIUC Library. Sousa Archives Music Instrument Digital Image and 3D Model Collection. Permission to display was given by UIUC Library.
Ten-string lap-style electric guitar
Epiphone. Eharp-Lap Model Guitar. Date unknown. UIUC Library. Sousa Archives Music Instrument Digital Image and 3D Model Collection. Permission to display was given by UIUC Library.
Table electric guitar
Epiphone. Eharp. Date unknown. UIUC Library. Sousa Archives Music Instrument Digital Image and 3D Model Collection. Permission to display was given by UIUC Library.