Collections
Date Range From
1930
Date Range To
1940
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, METAL, SHELL
Catalogue Number
P20180001002
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1930
Date Range To
1940
Materials
WOOD, METAL, SHELL
No. Pieces
2
Height
9
Length
94
Width
32.5
Description
A. GUITAR, 94 CM LONG X 32.5 CM WIDE X 9 CM TALL. WOODEN BODY WITH PEARL/TORTOISE SHELL INLAID AS PICK GUARD AND ALONG FRET BOARD; GUITAR IS STRUNG WITH SIX WIRE STRINGS. GUITAR HAS SIX TUNING KNOBS AT HEAD WITH WHITE PLASTIC HANDLES ON METAL SCREWS. GUITAR BODY HAS DECORATIVE BROWN, RED AND GREEN TRIM AROUND EDGE; GUITAR HAS BLACK KNOB AT BASE. “VALENCIA” LABEL AT TOP OF HEAD; GUITAR SHOWS WEAR AND STAINING ON PICK GUARD AND FRET BOARD; GUITAR HAS SOILING INSIDE; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION. B. GUITAR CASE, 100 CM LONG X 37 CM WIDE X 13 CM TALL. BLACK FAUX-LEATHER EXTERIOR WITH LEATHER BUCKLE AT BASE AND LEATHER HANDLE FIXED TO TOP WITH SILVER RINGS; CASE OPENS AT BASE. BASE OF CASE HAS BLACK METAL SNAP AROUND LEATHER BUCKLE STRAP. INSIDE OF CASE LINED WITH BROWN FAUX-FUR. CASE IS HEAVILY WORN ON EDGES AND PEELING; CASE IS SCRATCHED ON SIDES; LEATHER BUCKLE STRAP AT BASE IS CRACKED AND FADED; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION.
Subjects
MUSICAL T&E
Historical Association
LEISURE
HOME ENTERTAINMENT
History
ON JANUARY 24, 2018, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED BEVE SPENGLER AND RUTH HILL REGARDING RUTH’S DONATION OF A BANJOLELE AND GUITAR. THE INSTRUMENTS WERE KEPT AND PLAYED BY THEIR FAMER, SYDNEY JAMES WOMACK, IN THE 1930S AND 1940S. ON THE GUITAR, RUTH HILL RECALLED, “HE BOUGHT IT AND STARTED STRUMMING ON IT…IT WAS ALWAYS ON HIS LAP…MY DAD USED TO PLAY ME TO SLEEP FROM THE TIME…WE WENT OUT TO THE FARM IN ’30. I WAS BORN IN ’27, SO ALL THE ‘30S HE PLAYED ME TO SLEEP EVERY NIGHT…I NEVER SAW MY DAD PLAY [THE BANJOLELE] YET HE BOUGHT IT BECAUSE HE KNEW THERE WAS A MATCHING PAIR. HE COULDN’T AFFORD BOTH OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME. HE BOUGHT HIS GUITAR AND THEN, LATER ON WHEN HE HAD SOME MORE MONEY, HE WENT AND GOT [THE BANJOLELE] FOR LORNE.” “HE LOVED MUSIC AND ACTUALLY HIS BEST WAS HAWAIIAN GUITAR…THAT’S WHY HE GOT [THE GUITAR], BECAUSE HE LOVED HAWAIIAN MUSIC. HE LOVED TO PLAY HAWAIIAN SONGS ON [THE GUITAR] BECAUSE THEY WERE SLOWER. THE VIOLIN HE COULD REALLY GO TO TOWN AND PLAY TWO STEPS.” “[HE BOUGHT THE GUITAR] HERE IN LETHBRIDGE. HE BROUGHT [HIS] VIOLIN FROM THE STATES, BUT THOSE TWO PIECES WERE BOUGHT IN LETHBRIDGE. I DON’T KNOW WHERE AT, BUT I KNOW IT WAS IN THE EARLY ‘20S BECAUSE THEY CAME TO THE FARM WITH US IN ’30. THEY CAME HERE IN ’18…HE WORKED AT THE CPR AS AN OILER AND THEN HE ENDED UP AT THE GALT GARDENS WORKING WITH THE PLANTS. WHEN THAT FIZZLED OUT, HE WANTED A FARM SO WE WENT FARMING.” HILL ELABORATED ON HER FATHER’S MUSICAL BACKGROUND, NOTING, “[MY PARENTS] MOVED FROM ENGLAND TO IOWA. THEY WERE THERE FOR SEVEN YEARS AND DADDY LEARNED TO PLAY THE VIOLIN IN THE TOILET, IN THE OUTHOUSE. THAT’S WHAT HE TOLD US.” “[WE] USED TO GO [TO DANCES] EVERY MONTH. I CAN SEE HIM WITH THE OLD MODEL T—HE WOULD HAVE TO PUT A FIRE UNDER IT TO GET IT STARTED AT HOME, THEN WE WOULD GO FOR THE CHRISTMAS CONCERT AND HE WOULD START PLAYING UNTIL TWO IN THE MORNING. THEN HE HAS TO PUT THE FIRE UNDER TO GET THE CAR GOING AGAIN. THEY WERE BAD YEARS BUT THEY WERE WONDERFUL YEARS…FROM [1933] UNTIL I WENT OUT IN GRADE NINE HE USED TO COME, WE USED TO HAVE DANCES, ALL THROUGH THE THIRTIES WE HAD DANCES AT LEAST TWICE A MONTH.” BEVE ADDED, “HE PLAYED WITH OTHER MEN, HE DIDN’T PLAY BY HIMSELF.” RUTH ELABORATED, “THEY HAD A LADY ON THE PIANO, THEY HAD DADDY ON THE VIOLIN, AND THEN THEY HAD ANOTHER CHAP ON THE DRUMS…[OUR FATHER] TOOK THE LEAD. THE VIOLIN WOULD ALWAYS START BEFORE, BECAUSE HE HAD THE MEMORY OF THE PIECES HE WANTED TO PLAY AND NOBODY ELSE KNEW NOTHING UNTIL HE GOT STARTED. THEN THEY’D JOIN IN.” “HE WAS STILL PLAYING THE VIOLIN, HE USED TO LIKE TO PLAY THE VIOLIN. EVEN IN THE ‘40S [HE LIKED TO PLAY THE VIOLIN], I CAN REMEMBER THAT. HE DIDN’T SO MUCH PLAY [THE OTHER INSTRUMENTS] BUT HE PLAYED THE VIOLIN. “ “HE WAS GOOD. THAT DANCE FLOOR IN THE SCHOOL THERE WOULD BE LOADED AS SOON AS HE STARTED PLAYING. AS SOON AS HE STARTED TO PLAY THEY WERE ALL UP, AND AT NIGHT NOBODY LEFT UNTIL TWO IN THE MORNING…HE USED TO TAKE THE GUITAR AND PLAY THE WALTZES ON THAT, BUT THE VIOLIN HE WOULD PLAY THE OTHERS.” “THAT CLASSICAL [MUSIC], HE HAD NO USE FOR [IT]. HE USED TO SAY, “THERE’S NO BEAT THERE.” THEY WERE HIS WORDS. THERE WAS NO BEAT AND HE SAID, “IF THEY CAN’T PLAY THIS, I’M NOT LISTENING.” HE COULDN’T READ MUSIC, BUT IF HE COULD SEE THE [NOTES] AS [THEY] WENT UP OR DOWN…THAT’S WHAT HE’D LOOK AT, AND THEN HE’D LEARN TO PLAY THAT SONG. THAT WAS ON THE GUITAR, THAT WAS FOR THE HAWAIIAN PART.” “[HE HAD THE INSTRUMENTS] ON OUR FARM AT KIPP, ALBERTA AND ON THE FARMHOUSE, I’M IN THE BED. HE [WOULD BE] PLAYING THAT AND THEN I’D GO TO SLEEP TO HIM PLAYING THAT DAY IN, WEEK AFTER WEEK. YEAR AFTER YEAR. HE ALWAYS PLAYED ME TO SLEEP.” “HE [PLAYED] IN THE FRONT ROOM. [THE INSTRUMENTS] STAYED IN THE CORNER, HE BUILT A SHELF FOR THE RADIO AND THEN [THE GUITAR] STOOD UNDERNEATH THAT SHELF. THAT’S WHERE [THEY] STAYED…[THE INSTRUMENTS WERE] WITH MY DAD UNTIL ’93, THEN HE CAME TO LIVE WITH ME AND OF COURSE HE BROUGHT HIS THINGS WITH HIM. I NEVER THOUGHT THEY WERE IN MY CLOSET AND I HADN’T DONE A BIG CLEANING, SO THEY’VE JUST BEEN THERE. NOW I THOUGHT IT’S TIME TO LET SOMEBODY ELSE LOOK AT THEM...[OUR FATHER] DIED IN ’98.” “I DIDN’T WANT THE INSTRUMENTS TO BE GARBAGED. I WANTED THEM TO MEAN SOMETHING, AND I KNEW…THE MUSEUM WOULD ACCEPT THEM…IT WAS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL [FOR MY DAD TO PLAY FOR ME] BECAUSE I LOVE MUSIC TOO. THAT WAS REALLY SOMETHING TO HAVE HIM PLAYING TO ME ALL THE TIME [AT BEDTIME].” “LET SOMEBODY ELSE LOOK AT [THE INSTRUMENTS] NOW. I’VE GOT ALL THE MEMORIES…I CAN SEE HIM PLAYING [THEM], I CAN HEAR HIM PLAYING [THEM], I CAN SEE IT AT THE DANCEHALL, I’VE GOT IT RIGHT THERE. SO SOMEBODY ELSE CAN LOOK AT [THEM] NOW.” FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND PHOTOGRAPHS, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20180001001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20180001002
Acquisition Date
2018-01
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail