The largest number of items in the collection are publicity portrait photoprints, autographed by the subjects and presented to Albert Moglie; obviously they were professional musicians for whom Moglie did repair and restoration work. Most of the musicians are violinists, such as Fritz Kreisler and Rubinoff, although cellists, including Pablo Casals, are included as well. Their complimentary comments on the photographs attest to their confidence in Moglie's work. The photographers and studios represented include Harris & Ewing, Ramon Scavelli, and Mishkin. There are also photographs of Moglie at work in his shop, and a large group photograph of the Washington, D.C., National Symphony Orchestra, 1933 1934 season. The collection includes a total of 57 photoprints. Although a number of well-known musicians' portraits are included, some signatures are illegible, so the subjects have not been identified.
There are also certificates, an advertising postcard, offprints about Moglie from Music Trade (Dec. 27, 1917), a notebook on auctioned instruments (1981 through 1985), calendars, samples of Moglie's stationery, business cards, photographs of violins, price lists, and of other documents. These photographs and documents form Series 1.
Series 2 consists of ledgers for Moglie's business transactions. These items are in poor condition and fairly untidy. They contain miscellaneous loose papers, some of which may be removed from the ledgers, as their locations within the pages of the ledgers seems random.
Series 3, which was not transferred to the Archives Center from the Musical History Collection until 2006, consists of Albert Moglie's business documents of various sorts including correspondence, notes, bills of sale, and certificates of authenticity and valuation for various instruments. Instruments include some by Stradivarius, Guarneri, Gagliano, Eberle, Gabrielli and Amati. Of particular interest are the documents attesting to Mr. Moglie's success, including letters of appreciation from clients, letters from Presidents Carter and Nixon, an autographed photographic portrait of the Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, a certificate of knighthood from the Republic of Italy, a commemorative certificate from the National Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of Mr. Moglie's ninetieth birthday and documents commemorating a concert given by the Julliard String Quartet also to celebrate his birthday. Also included are promotional literature on some of Mr. Moglie's clients and copies of newspaper articles about Mr. Moglie. There are also some personal photographs of unidentified people.
The collection is divided into three series.
Series 1: Photoprints and documents, 1916-1966
Series 2: Ledgers, 1920-1934
Series 3: Business Papers, 1919-1987
Biographical / Historical:
Albert F. Moglie, master violinmaker and repairman, operated a violin repair and restoration business in Washington, D.C., and other cities for many years. Born in Rome, his mother was a concert pianist and young Albert studied the violin, but he was more interested in making and repairing such instruments than playing them. He soon became an expert craftsman in this specialized field and at age 24, in 1914, he was brought to be the United States to care for the Stradivarius collection of Rudolph Wurlitzer in Cincinnati. Later sent to New York by Wurlitzer, Moglie opened his own shop near Times Square; subsequently he tended the Henry Ford violin collection in Detroit.
Moglie came to Washington in 1922 and opened a shop. In 1926 he married his wife Loretta, whom he had met in Cincinnati years earlier. In addition to operating his own Washington shop for more than fifty years, he was conservator for the Stradivarius violins in the Library of Congress collection. His third shop occupied a perpetually cluttered third floor space in the Franklin Building at 1329 F Street, N.W., since 1941, which finally closed on July 1, 1987, and Moglie retired.
Due to the impending closing of the shop, Mr. and Mrs. Moglie donated a number of artifacts, instruments and tools to this Museum's Division of Musical History, through Gary Sturm, collections manager, in 1987, and the photographs and related documents came to the Archives Center at that time.2 Mr. Moglie died in 1998, shortly after his retirement.
Eugene L. Meyer. "Violins Lose Artist's Touch: Maestro Repairman Retires at 96," The Washington Post, June 12, 1987, pp. E1 E2.
Related objects are held in the Division of Culture and the Arts and include viloin shop signs, violins, stools, bending iron, workbench, and violin parts. See Accessions number 1987.0472, 1987.0501, and 1987.0583.
Collection donated by Loretta and Albert Moglie, June 15, 1987.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.