The Hamblen Collection
I first encountered the music of the Hamblen Collection in the summer of 2005 at The American Festival of Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA.
Late one night upstairs in the School House building, I happened upon a hallway gathering of Greg and Jere Canote, Brendan Doyle and Nancy Katz. They played for a while in G, and then played a few Hamblen tunes. I instantly fell in love with Chadwell's Station, a whacky, winding Virginia tune.
Conversation between tunes revealed that the U.S. Library of Congress has long been custodian to the Hamblen Collection (in the form of hand written sheet music, as annotated by A. Porter Hamblen.
This was exciting news, and I assumed that locating the collection would be easy. The path to procuring a copy of the collection was peppered with left turns. Unfortunately the LC's (Library of Congress's) online search tool produced no hits. A search of the Internet brought me to some apparently unrelated geneology pages and Stuart Hamblen's involvement with cowboy music.*
I've created this page so others searching the Internet might skirt some of the blind probing I performed*, and so they might quickly gather basic information about the Hamblen Collection with relative ease, including contact important information regarding the Library of Congress.
NOTE: I used the term "Hamblen collection" loosely, as an abbreviating. The full title of the collection is: A Collection of Violin Tunes Popular During the Early 1800's, by A. Porter Hamblen.)
Researching and locating the Hamblen Collection
Nick Robinson, a mandolinist and librarian friend recommend that I use The Library of Congress's "Ask a Librarian" service located at:
http://www.loc.gov/ -- the the Library of Congress
This path proved fruitful!
Karen Moses of the "Ask a Librarian" program answered promptly and told me I could order photocopies (or digital images on CD) of the Hamblen collection through the Library's Photoduplication Services department, and she supplied me with the LC's call number for the Hamblen collection, the proper title and the author's name::
Library of Congress call #: M 40.H3 C6
Title: A Collection of Violin Tunes Popular During the Early 1800's
Author: Hamblen, A. PorterThis is the lead paragraph from the index of the Hamblen manuscript:
A collection of violin tunes, popular during the early 1800's as played by David Russell Hamblen (1809-1893) and his son Williamson (1846-1920) arranged and copied by A. Porter Hamblen (1875-195-) son of Williamson.
Kerry Blech kindly provided the following information: Armeanous Porter Hamblen: Born December 26 1875 in Hamblen Twp., Brown Co., Indiana; Died at age 82 on February 25, 1958, in Franklin, Johnson Co., Indiana. From http://www.rootsweb.com/~bwo/surh.html
Ordering a copy of the Hamblen Collection
The Photoduplication Services department of the Library of Congress, said, in brief, it costs $14.00 for them to determine if they can copy materials and provide an estimate. The cost per photocopy is 50 cents if you choose the six to eight week completion turnaround. The cost is $1.00 per page if you order the 10 day completion and delivery.
Here's the message I received from the LOC Photoduplication Services:
A $14.00, non-refundable research and processing fee is required to initiate an estimate of the total cost to copy the requested material. Once you submit this payment, your order will be assigned to a searcher, who will visit the custodial division, pull the material, examine it for suitability for copying, prepare an estimate, and then notify you of the total cost.
We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover. You can submit your credit card details along with your order via email or fax. If you do not want to pay by credit card, please click on the link below to view other payment options:
All that is required at this time is the $14.00 research and processing fee. Our policy is to let you know that turnaround time for completion and delivery for regular service is 6-8 weeks, however, depending on the workload of the searcher, turnaround time could be less or more. Please note that the estimate is included in this time frame.If you prefer rush service, we charge double for the photocopy fee, but turnaround time is 10 business days for completion and delivery. If you are making payment with a credit card, please include the following information:
NOTE: There's lots of information about fiddlers and fiddling online at the Library of Congress, including the field recordings of John A. Lomax, Alan Jabour and others. The fiddling of Marcus Martin, Henry Reed ...
*Googling with "Hamblen collection fiddle" uncovered only a couple of small threads of Internet discussion, but no direct leads. It also produced this citation:
Hamblen, A. Porter, comp. A Collection of Violin Tunes Popular During the Early 1800's . N.p., ca. 1950-56:
. from http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/hrhtml/hrbib.html
Searching with "Hamblen fiddle" brought up many references to cowboy songwriter and radio personality Stuart Hamblen.
Plus there was some confusion regarding the misspelling of the surname: Hamblin. And also because, apparently, another author with the name A. Porter Hamblen., and I ran across some of his family tree. I encountered a couple of threads discussing the topic, with the surname spelled "Hamblin."
Here are the correct names of the family members involved in this manuscript:
David Russell Hamblen (1809-1893)
Another source of confusion: Most people don't clearly annunciate the double "S" when saying Chadwell's Station. As a result we hear "Chadwell Station," which actually I prefer ...
Many thanks to Greg and Jere Canote, Steve Green and many others who have retrieved this music from the pages on the library shelf and inspiring it anew.
I've included notation and chords for Chadwell's Station below. If you have any music of the Hamblen collection that you would like to share, please contact me at:
Chadwell's Station is a crooked tune hiding within a straight framework. Weird but true.
Here's how I think of line one:
Nevertheless I've decided it's best to leave the tune
This is a slightly supped up version, based on the playing of Greg Canote,
and it's essentially how I play the tune.
Fiddle, Guitar, Violin, Mandolin & Bodhran