Several years ago, zitherist Marie Skowronek came upon a very interesting photograph, tucked away in a book she had recently purchased. She provided the following account of its discovery:
"I bought the book, about 1995, when Zion Church had a used book sale. Zion Church, in City Hall Plaza still has Services in the German Language and is a center of many German activities in Baltimore. I don't remember the name of the book, but most of what I bought were classic German novels, or poetry collections. When I saw the picture, I took it from the book and put it with my Handbuch der Zither by Richard Brandlmeier because it was Zither related.
Judging by the clothes the man was wearing, I would say it was from the 1890's. I thought his Zither was interesting too, with the little silver seashell at the fretboard tuning box.
Re the book sale, I believe over the years, parishioners and other Germans of the city found German books in their family libraries, or those of deceased parents, grandparents, and other relatives which they donated to Zion. Zion Church has a very extensive library but the library room itself can only hold so many books. I think what they sold were the books they may already had copies of, or simply could not accommodate. I was teaching German at their German Language school on Saturdays, so I was there when they set up the sale and I was able to go through them before the sale started. I bought a whole box full of books at the time, but the book did not bear any clue to the Zither player's identity. I did actually look for that when I found the picture. The picture may have found its way into the book by pure chance, and by pure chance it came to the right hands--mine. Anyway, I'm always on the lookout."
On the back of the photograph, in very small print, is the following text:
1710 Eastern Avenue
The 1890 Baltimore City Directory lists photographer Julius C Selander at the same address.
Do you have an item of historical interest to share with the zither community? Did you have an ancestor that played the zither? This is the place to share your stories.
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