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Jacob Simpson


Jacob Simpson


This is a bowl back mandolin (ca. 1915) I recently purchased at a local music store. I think it represents my primary interests in history. From a young age, I spent my time going “antiquing” with my grandfather. I spent a great deal of time in my grandparents’ basement growing up looking through the various “collectibles” my grandpa had acquired. Through this, I learned to appreciate items that represent the days gone by and the stories that these items can tell or be used to tell. This love for tangible reminders of history led me to volunteer in the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History throughout high school and has influenced my decision to pursue Public History as a career. I plan to look for employment upon graduation in some sort of curation or museum leadership capacity within a small museum or historic site. Within this field, I especially enjoy finding out more information on a particular item. This mandolin, for example, caught my attention at first because a bowl back is not very common, and I could tell by the components and workmanship that it was older. I determined through basic research that this instrument was manufactured in New York, New York, by a man named Raphael Ciani under the brand name A. Galliano sometime around 1915. Even though it has a crack through the upper portion of the top, it amazes me that it had survived mostly intact for almost 100 years, especially since it was apparently well used. I plan to either restore this mandolin to playable condition for my personal enjoyment, or use it as a display item.


Raphael Ciani


Raphael Ciani, A. Galliano Mandolin, 1910s, in author's possession.






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Raphael Ciani, Jacob Simpson, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 15, 2024,