Everyone A Gibsonite

Promotional photo for 1921 Gibson Mandolin Company "Catalog M". Ivers Mandolin Orchestra/Adams Plectrum Society, Adams, Massechusetts.

Members I can identify: Center Middle Row: Joseph Ivers, Orchestra leader, Gibson Mandolin Company Agent,and my Great Grandfather, Center Left Holding a Gibson F-4 Mary Ivers-Bassette, my Great Grandmother, Back Row from left: Leonore Ivers-Carmel, my Great Aunt, George Ivers, my Grandfather, Sitting in front, white dress, Doris Ivers-Hueston, my Great Aunt.

Page 21 Gibson Mandolin Catalog M: See right side second photo from bottom

Page 21 Gibson Mandolin Catalog M: See right side second photo from bottom
I recently discovered that this photo of my Great grandfather's Mandolin Orchestra appears on page 21 of the Gibson "M" catalog, published in 1921, confirming my theory that he (Joseph L. Ivers) was a Gibson "teacher-agent" or dealer, and that this photo was part of the "Everyone a Gibsonite" marketing campaign. Some of these instruments are still owned and played by Ivers family members. For example, my father Robert Ivers still plays the 1914 F4 in the center played by my Great Grandmother Mary Ivers in this photo. He also owns a 1921 H2 Mandola, no doubt pictured brand spanking new somewhere in this photo. I would love to try to contact other family members to see where some of these other instruments ended up.

Water Color "Grandfather's Mandolin" by Robert Ivers of Gibson F-4 #24532

Water Color "Grandfather's Mandolin" by Robert Ivers of Gibson F-4 #24532
Water Color Of My Great Grand Father's F4 painted by my Father, Robert Ivers. Look !!!!!!! Notice unintended ghost image of my Great Grandfather Joseph Ivers in upper left !

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Newly Discovered Photo of a JL Ivers Mandolin Orchestra From 1916

This morning, a Co-worker gave me copy of the latest Vintage Guitar Magazine (July 2015) . In the Q&A with George Gruhn column, a reader asks about the origin of a picture he found at an antique market with the caption "The Gibson Mandolin Orchestra Lawrence, Mass 1916".

George Gruhn explains "From the early 1900's through early '20s, mandolin orchestras were extremely popular, in part because Gibson instruments were sold primarily through music teacher/Gibson agents, rather than music stores. Gibson established a network of agents who organized mandolin orchestras, recruited students, and sold Gibson instruments on payment plans, which greatly increased sales and meant instruments could be sold at higher prices. The company even sent posters to agents so they could hang them around their town promoting concerts and other events where they could recruit students. (and potential Gibson instrument buyers) In addition to publishing instruction methods for students and manuals for teachers, Gibson catalogs from the 1910s and '20s are filled with photos of mandolin groups from all over the US. Though we don't believe your photo (see below) is such an example, a photo showing the same instructor/Gibson agent- Joseph Ivers appeared in Gibson's 1921 catalog.

Here's the picture. (I'm working on acquiring a higher resolution copy)
This is a really cool discovery for a lot of reasons. Through research I've done, I knew my great grandfather was a Gibson agent while he lived in Adams (now North Adams) Mass, from around 1920 and later, but only guessed or wondered about his relationship with Gibson prior to 1920. I knew we had a 1914 F-4 that was his (well documented in the blog, maybe pictured here, and definitively pictured in the arms of my great grandmother Mary Ivers in the 1921 "Everyone A Gibsonite" catalog photo at the beginning of this blog) but wasn't aware of any professional relationship he may have had with Gibson in the years he lived in Lawrence before he moved to Adams in 1919. With the discovery of this picture I know for sure he was a Gibson agent as early as 1916. My great grandfather is pictured here in the center with an F model, probably my great grandmother with an A model next to him, and I'm guessing my grandfather or maybe one of my great uncles with an A model in front of him. My father believe the boy pictured is his father/my grandfather George Ivers.

Thanks to the Vintage Guitar Magazine reader who found the picture and sent it to the magazine. Thanks also to George Gruhn for taking the time to answer the reader's question. Special thanks to Vintage Guitar Magazine editor Ward Meeker for sending me the picture.

Here's a cropped high resolution version.

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