This page is devoted to showing many of the “historical pictures” that appear in various places on my web site. Please see the “Resources and Acknowledgements” page I have created to check out the sources I have listed for this material. Some of these photos, however, aren’t attributable to anyone in particular.
By no means are any of the items shown here meant to be offense to the early Black Culture in any way. Rather, it pays rightful “homage” to the true and original nature of cigar box instruments and the ingenuity of using them. As with everything, however, I’m sure there was, a “price to be paid”… In any event, I am most grateful for the wonderful instruments that we now have.
The earliest known “print” that shows a Cigar Box Instrument being used:
Christmas Eve with Uncle Enos (with Cigar Box Banjo Plans) – by Daniel C. Beard – Circa 1884
This story first appeared in The Book Buyer: A Summary of American and Foreign Literature in 1884-1885. It was written by Daniel Carter Beard, who also founded the Boy Scouts of America. It tells the story of a Christmas Eve where the boys Tom, Dick and Harry discover that their beloved Uncle Enos has built himself a banjo out of a cigar box and broomstick.
This is not just a story though, but a set of plans for how to build a 5-string fretless banjo using a cigar box. These plans, minus the folksy story, would later be incorporated into Beard’s American Boy’s Handy Book.
This N’ That – Pictures, Prints, and Postcards
Blues in the Camp – Cigar Box Style
Hey Bo Diddley
Not just a prop – Johnny Depp is a true player