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The Canning Banjo Collection and Archive

James Scribner Canning (1880-1965)

James Scribner Canning (1880-1965)

Highlights of the Collection...

Included in this important collection are superb examples by the great banjo makers of the turn of the century, including Weymann & Son of Philadelphia, The Vega Company of Boston, and Fairbanks & Cole of Boston.

The Canning Collection was a gift from Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Scribner Canning of Morgantown, West Virginia, in memory of Mr. Canning's mother, Clare Hawthorne Canning (1882-1960) and his father, James Scribner Canning (1880-1965).

The Canning family donated the collection, essentially intact, along with banjo journals, original music arrangements still in manuscript, photographs, and other memorabilia, including Albert Baur's personal scrapbook. As such, the Collection documents an important facet of American musical history in a way that the acquisition of individual instruments, no matter how fine the craftsmanship, can not do.

About the Canning Collection...

James Scribner (Jim) Canning was born in Brookville, Pennsylvania, on September 19, 1880. At the age of nine he began to study the classical banjo with a famous teacher of the day, Albert Baur of Brookville and New York, one of the pioneer banjoists. Jim later arranged classical music for banjo and piano, being particularly fond of Beethoven, Chopin, Delibes, Grieg, and Mozart, and was in great demand as a soloist.

Excerpted from André P. Larson, "Canning Family Donates Key Banjo Collection," The Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter16, No. 1 (October 1988), p. 3.

Instruments from the Canning Collection are on display in the Graese Gallery. The Canning Archives are available for examination by appointment (see access guidelines) in the Museum's study-storage areas.

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Most recent update:   March 1, 2014

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