John Challis was an American builder of harpsichords and clavichords. He attended Michigan Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University), where his interest in constructing keyboard instruments emerged. He spent four years apprenticing with Arnold Dolmetsch in England, returning in 1930, when he set himself up building instruments in a two-story space above a dress shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
The collection documents the Challis Harpsichord business, and the lives of Mr. Challis and his partner, Ephraim Truesdale. The collection contains correspondence, both personal and business; business records, including ledgers and journals; drawings, including design drawings for harpsichord decorations and elements; client files; subject files, especially on haprsichord and musical instrument subjects; printed materials such as concert programs, trade literature, magazines on the subject of music and musical instruments, clippings, advertisements and publicity materials; photographs, including many of instruments and many of Challis' family members; music scores; ceremonial items such as diplomas; templates for elements of harpsichords; and recordings.
John Challis Records, ca. 1930-1974, Archives Center, National Museum of American History