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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
|Size||1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 740 items)|
|Abstract||In 1928, George H. Fehr organized the 49ers, an old-time, cowboy, and western music group, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Other groups with which Fehr was associated included the Old Country Store, the 79ers, and the Utah Buckaroos, all of which achieved success on radio throughout the west and with live audiences across the state of Utah. Fehr sang and played a number of instruments, including the mandolin, guitar, banjo, harmonica, and Jew's harp. The George Fehr collection consists of music and group memorabilia. Included are handwritten music arrangements and typed lyric sheets of popular old-time, cowboy, and western material. The music nd lyric sheets were transcribed by group leaders George H. Fehr and Slim Critchlow from old recordings. Also included are some pages of sheet music and pieces torn from song books, song clippings cut from newspapers, fragments of musical pieces, and folios. The group memorabilia include primarily of fan letters, set and song lists, newspaper clippings, photographs of band members, and transcriptions of oral histories done by Fehr's wife and Critchlow during the 1960s.|
|Creator||Fehr, George H.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.|
Processed by: library staff, 1994.
Encoded by: Melissa Johnson, October 2003.
Updated by: Alison Waldenberg, July 2006; Nancy Kaiser, February 2021.Back to Top
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
In 1928, George "Hen" Fehr organized the 49ers, the first of several musical outfits that he would come to lead throughout the ensuing decade. A full-time optician, Fehr initially pursued music on the side as a means of supplementing his family income. A versatile musician, Fehr sang and played a number of instruments including the mandolin, guitar, banjo, harmonica, and Jew's harp. By advertising in the newspaper for local guitar, accordion, and violin players in Salt Lake City, Fehr assembled a group of musicians to perform popular old-time music. While most of the members played music by ear and lacked formal musical training, Fehr read music and was primarily responsible for collecting and arranging the group's material. In the beginning, the group's live appearances consisted mainly of small private parties. As the group's experience grew and the act expanded, so too did the group's reputation, and the musicians quickly found themselves local radio favorites, performing weekly on Salt Lake City radio stations KDYL and KSL.
Among the groups with which Fehr performed, the 49ers, the Old Country Store, the 79ers, and the Utah Buckaroos each achieved considerable notoriety, reaching radio audiences throughout the west, to listeners as far away as Montana, California, and even Hawaii. Through the various group incarnations, two members besides Fehr remained fixtures, Eugene Turner and Slim Critchlow. In addition to the radio shows, Fehr's groups performed in a number of live settings including small parties, dances, church functions, and public gatherings across the state of Utah until popular music tastes changed and old-time and cowboy music fell out of style.Back to Top
The collection of musician George N. Fehr consists chiefly of music and musical group memorabilia. Included are handwritten music arrangements and typed lyric sheets of popular old-time music, cowboy music, and western music materials. The music and lyric sheets were transcribed by group leaders George H. Fehr and Slim Critchlow from old recordings. Also included are some pages of sheet music and pieces torn from song books, song clippings cut from newspapers, fragments of musical pieces, and folios. The group memorabilia include primarily of fan letters, set and song lists, newspaper clippings, photographs of band members, and transcriptions of oral histories done by Fehr's wife and Critchlow during the 1960s.
Though now reorganized, notes written on the outside of the collection's original folders labeled the materials by categories: ballads, hoedowns, and fast numbers (schottische, polka, etc.), novelties (comic songs, yodels, etc.), cowboy songs and train wreck songs, and musical numbers (waltzes, marches, etc.)Back to Top
Arrangement: By material type.
Two transcribed oral history narratives containing personal recollections regarding George Fehr, his motivation for and actions taken in assembling a group to perform old-time music, group incarnations, group reception and radio successes, and general group history. The oral histories were done by George Fehr's wife and by one-time band member Slim Critchlow during the 1960s. There is also group memorabilia including newspaper clippings announcing group performances and descriptions of social functions at which Fehr's group performed. Photographs of band members attached to scrapbook pages are also included.
Handwritten fan appreciation letters to members of the Old Country Store and song requests from radio listeners.
Materials highlight the structure of the group performances and include some set lists, song lists, and the brief outline of a comic routine.
Arrangement: Alphabetical by song title.
Primarily music and lyric transcriptions. Handwritten music arrangements and typed lyric sheets of popular old-time, cowboy, and western material comprise the bulk of the collection. The music and lyric sheets were transcribed, word for word and note for note, by group leaders George H. Fehr and Slim Critchlow while listening to old recordings. Some music sheets contain more than one tune per page. Also included are some pages of sheet music and assorted pages torn from song books.
Songs and musical arrangements are divided alphabetically into separate folders by title or first line of the song. If a sheet contains more than one song, the title occurring first alphabetically takes precedence. In such instances where multiple songs exist on a sheet, page markers are inserted at all subsequent title filing points to direct researchers to the correct location of the material.
Song clippings cut from newspapers, fragments of musical pieces, and music folios.