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Banjo case for Charles P. Stinson banjo

Catalog Data

Manufactured by:
Unidentified  Search this
Subject of:
Charles P. Stinson, American, 1854 - 1911  Search this
hardboard, leather, metal, velvet
H x W x D (closed): 35 5/8 × 15 3/8 × 5 7/8 in. (90.5 × 39 × 15 cm)
H x W x D (open): 35 5/8 × 29 1/2 × 3 15/16 in. (90.5 × 75 × 10 cm)
cases (containers)
Place made:
New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
Place used:
Pittsburgh, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America
late 19th century
Charles P. Stinson’s minstrel credits include working with Callinder's Georgia Minstrels, the World's Minstrels, and Harvey and Frohman's Minstrel Companies as a banjo player, actor, and drum major. He made his name through banjo competitions though, notably in an 1888 competition in Kansas City when he beat eleven white competitors to become the first known African American to win such a competition in a southern state.
After touring through the 1880s, Stinson returned to Pittsburgh and set up a studio teaching amateur musicians. He taught parlor music to his middle-class students eager to join banjo, mandolin, and guitar orchestras playing arrangements of popular songs. Through his role as a teacher, Stinson also sold student-level banjos to his students. This case if for a banjo likely made by J.H. Buckbee in New York was the result of a collaboration between Stinson and Buckbee to create banjos for Stinson to assemble and distribute to his students; a common arrangement in the late nineteenth century as the instrument became popular.
A black banjo case for a Charles P. Stinson banjo (2018.83.1). The case has a lid and a leather handle. The lid connects to the body of the case by to metal hinges. The lid has three metal clasps and a metal lock. The bottom of the case has a metal plate attached to it to protect the banjo's resonator. The top of the case has two metal nobs on the side away from the clasps. The interior of the case has a green velvet lining. There is a small compartment in the middle of the body of the case, where the neck of the banjo rests. The compartment of the case contains fragments from the frets of the banjo (2018.83.1). It also contains coordinator rods and hex nuts, some of which appear to be stripped or otherwise broken. There are 11 hex nuts, 4 coordinator rods, 27 fret pieces and two bridge pieces.
African American  Search this
Education  Search this
Folk (Music)  Search this
Instrumentalists (Musicians)  Search this
Minstrel (Music)  Search this
Popular music  Search this
Vaudeville  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Clark and Sarah Case Family
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Musical Instruments
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture