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MMD > Archives > June 2010 > 2010.06.15 > 01Prev  Next

Book About Melville A. Clark, Melville's Nephew
By Fred Scoles

Last Thursday evening (Jun 10, 2010), I attended a book signing
and lecture by local Syracuse author Linda Kaiser at the Clark Music
Store in Syracuse, New York.  Her new book, "Pulling Strings; The
Legacy of Melville A. Clark", published by Syracuse University Press,
describes the life and work of Melville A. Clark, the nephew of
Melville Clark of player piano fame.

Ms. Kaiser based her research on the extensive Clark family papers
held in the Syracuse University Library, Clark family private papers
from Melville A.'s sons Timothy and Melville Jr., and from personal
interviews of several Syracuse piano tuner-technicians who had
personally worked with Melville A. until his death in December, 1953.
These technicians have been my mentors, friends and teachers over the
past 25 years and I have enjoyed their stories about working with the
Clark family.

According to the book, George W. Clark started the Clark instrument
repair shop in 1859, where he and his brother Melville and other Clark
family members repaired and redesigned ailing melodeons, pianos, harps,
etc.  Melville soon left for the Chicago area to start his famous
career.  Melville A. (named after his uncle) worked in the Clark music
store and repair shop from a young age and also became a proficient
harpist and harp designer, overseeing the manufacturing of the Clark
Celtic-Irish harps, sold around the world.  He also ran and managed the
main Syracuse store until his death in 1953.

The book describes various times when Melville and his nephew worked
together on some instrument design projects, and they frequently
traveled between Syracuse and the Midwest (Chicago and DeKalb).  The
author mentioned to us that there are boxes filled with letters between
Melville and Melville A. where they discussed business strategies and
instrument designs.  Melville A. also was instrumental in starting the
first Syracuse Symphony Orchestra in 1921, making music and affordable
music instruments available to school children and supporting numerous
community organizations.

Fred Scoles
Oswego, New York

(Message sent Tue 15 Jun 2010, 15:33:49 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  About, Book, Clark, Melville, Melville's, Nephew

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