Mosby's crutches

These crutches were used by John Mosby during the Civil War. He described them thus: “These crutches were made for me during the war by a slave named Isaac who belonged to my father. They were first used in August 1863 when I went home wounded. My mother kept them for me and I again used them in September 1864 & December 1864.” General Robert E. Lee once said to Mosby, after seeing him on crutches at his headquarters, “The only fault I have to find with your conduct, Colonel Mosby, is that you are always getting wounded.”

Description (physical):

Material: wood.

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.039
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Frock Coat Of Major General David M. Gregg

This frock coat belonged to Major General David M. Gregg, who commanded the 6th United States Cavalry and the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry in 1862, and the 2nd Cavalry Division of the Army of the Potomac from 1862 until his resignation in February 1865. The coat originally had two stars to denote the rank of major general.

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.043
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Martin Guitar

Date:
1852
Creator:
C.F. Martin, Sr.
Publisher/Studio:
Nazareth, PA

This is a mid-1800s guitar. Guitars of the 18th century commonly used gut and metal-wound gut strings. A simple solution to 19th-century demands for greater volume was to utilize newly available materials. But the structure of the guitar had to be reinforced to withstand the resulting increase in tension. Christian Frederick Martin was one of the innovators in the transition to steel strings. Around 1850 Martin invented "X-bracing," the use of crossed wooden strips in the guitar's top for structural reinforcement. He also developed other design features, such as a body shape that was smaller above the sound hole than below, and a square peghead. They marked the beginning of a new American flattop guitar design that is little changed today.

Location:
National Museum of American History Room 334, MRC 604 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Smithsonian Institution P.O. Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 Washington DC , District of Columbia
Identifier:
0.001
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Gibson Archtop

Date:
1898
Creator:
Orville Gibson
Publisher/Studio:
Kalamazoo, MI

Orville Gibson, who gave his name to the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company, was an innovator in both design and construction. With this guitar, he successfully demonstrated that an instrument with an arched top, rather than the traditional flattop, would produce a louder sound. Gibson borrowed the arched- or carved-top concept from the violin; however, the violin's f-shaped sound holes were not adapted to guitar design until the 1920s. The archtop guitar has been popular with both musicians and makers throughout the 20th century.

Location:
National Museum of American History Room 334, MRC 604 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Smithsonian Institution P.O. Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 Washington DC , District of Columbia
Identifier:
0.002
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Bohmann Harp Guitar

Date:
1910
Creator:
Joseph Bohmann
Publisher/Studio:
Chicago, IL

Unusual as this guitar looks to us today, in the early 1900s harp guitars were made by many companies, including Gibson, Martin, and the Larson brothers. Harp guitars combine a standard six-string guitar with a harp's sub-bass strings to extend the tonal range of the instrument. Forerunners of this style of guitar date back to lutes in the 1500s.

Location:
National Museum of American History Room 334, MRC 604 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Smithsonian Institution P.O. Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 Washington DC , District of Columbia
Identifier:
0.003
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

National Hawaiian Tricone

Date:
1929
Publisher/Studio:
Los Angeles, CA

The resonator guitar was developed around 1925 by John Dopyera. Its amplification resonator, mounted under the bridge, was a concept adapted from the banjo. A variety of these guitars with metal bodies was produced by the National String Instrument Corporation, co-founded by Dopyera. The instruments were popular in country, blues, and especially Hawaiian music. Introduced in 1927, this lap-steel model features three aluminum speaker-shaped cones built into the top. Unlike earlier acoustics, this guitar's sound is created by the vibrations of the resonator cones, not of the body itself. Sol Hoopii, the best-known Hawaiian guitarist at the time, helped make this model briefly popular until the advent of the louder electric guitar.

Location:
National Museum of American History Room 334, MRC 604 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Smithsonian Institution P.O. Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 Washington DC , District of Columbia
Identifier:
0.004
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

"big Boy" Acoustic

Date:
1930
Creator:
Carl Larson, August Larson
Publisher/Studio:
Prarie State Conservatory

The Larson brothers' guitars, built under several different brand names, were among the first to be specifically designed for steel strings. To compensate for the extra tension on the guitars, the Larsons patented a double-rod truss system in which one rod supported the main body and one rod supported the guitar's neck. This unusually big Prairie State-brand acoustic is among the largest flattop guitars ever made. Simply by virtue of its size, the "Big Boy" was intended to produce a loud sound.

Location:
National Museum of American History Room 334, MRC 604 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Smithsonian Institution P.O. Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 Washington DC , District of Columbia
Identifier:
0.005
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Gibson Super 400 Acoustic

Date:
1939
Publisher/Studio:
Kalamazoo, MI: Gibson Inc.

Gibson's top-of-the-line Super 400 acoustic model was introduced in late 1934. The largest archtop when launched, its size was further increased three years later to allow for even greater volume. The Super 400, along with certain D'Angelico, Epiphone, and Stromberg models, is considered one of the finest archtop guitars ever made.

Location:
National Museum of American History Room 334, MRC 604 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Smithsonian Institution P.O. Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 Washington DC , District of Columbia
Identifier:
0.006
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Dobro Guitar

Date:
1940
Publisher/Studio:
Chicago, IL: Regal Musical Instrument Company

John Dopyera left the National String Instrument Corporation to form the Dobro (Dopyera Brothers) Corporation around 1928. The following year his company started manufacturing a new design of resonator guitar, usually with a wooden body and a single metal dish-shaped resonator. These instruments became particularly popular among country musicians like Bashful Brother Oswald of Roy Acuff's band. Around 1932 National and Dobro merged, and five years later Regal bought out the exclusive rights to manufacture Dobro guitars. Regal-made Dobros like this one all have metal bodies.

Location:
National Museum of American History Room 334, MRC 604 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Smithsonian Institution P.O. Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 Washington DC , District of Columbia
Identifier:
0.007
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Stromberg Master 400

Date:
1954
Creator:
Chas. Stromberg and Son
Publisher/Studio:
Boston, MA

Stromberg guitars, all built by Charles's son Elmer, are known for their volume and were especially popular with jazz players from the 1930s to the mid-1950s. Freddy Green of Count Basie's orchestra and Fred Guy of Duke Ellington's orchestra both played this model, which was designed to be even wider than its rival, the Gibson Super 400. This particular instrument is an extremely rare Stromberg due to its single cutaway design.

Location:
National Museum of American History Room 334, MRC 604 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Smithsonian Institution P.O. Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 Washington DC , District of Columbia
Identifier:
0.008
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History