Elbern H "Eddie" Alkire Personal Papers and Music Instrument Collection, 1926-1997
[Back to Formatted Version]
Brief Description:

Consists of original and published music, business records, correspondence, instructional guides and music examinations, programs, sound recordings, photographs, electrical and mechanical diagrams for several prototype Hawaiian guitars, music instrument catalogs, four original prototype Hawaiian guitars including the first 15-string acoustic guitar, Cruiser, Mini Surfer, and the experimental "Superaxe" guitar with 20 strings, 3 Epiphone Eharp 10-string electric guitars, and Alkire's original acoustic Hawaiian guitar that was used for 1000 radio broadcasts as director and lead guitarist of the Oahu Serenaders during the early 1930s. In addition the collection includes an original Rickenbacker Electro "Frying Pan" guitar. The papers and instruments document Eddie Alkire's career as a musician, music teacher, businessman and inventor. The collection also documents the evolution of Hawaiian guitar performance in America during its height of popularity between 1929 and 1960.

For more Hawaiian guitar materials, see RS 12/9/50 and RS 12/9/150.

Held at:
The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
236 Harding Band Building
1103 South 6th Street
Champaign, IL 61820 6223
Phone: 217-244-93093
Fax: 217-244-8695
Email: schwrtzs [at] illinois.edu
Record Series Number: 12/9/101
Created by: Alkire, Elbern H. (1907-1981)
Volume: 71.5 cubic feet
Acquired: 02/25/2006. Claude Brownell performance audiocassettes donated by Dick Alkire on February 21, 2018.
Biographical Note for Alkire, Elbern H. (1907-1981) : Elbern H. "Eddie" Alkire (1907-1981) was America's most recognized performer, teacher, and innovator of the twentieth-century Hawaiian guitar. Born and raised in rural West Virginia Alkire utilized his skills as a guitarist and musician to become a teacher and composer for Oahu Music Company in October 1929 after having traveled to Pittsburgh to study electrical machines as an employee for a West Virginia coal company. He became music director for the Oahu Serenaders which performed on over 1000 coast-to-coast broadcasts for NBC and CBS that aired from Cleveland, Ohio during the first years of network radio. In 1934 Alkire started his own company in Easton, Pennsylvania to publish music and teach the guitar. He utilized his knowledge of electricity to create the first 10-string electric Hawaiian guitar and his music background to create new tunings that enabled him to play four-part harmonies and rapid melodic passages that became the hallmark of his new style of performance.
Access Restrictions: None.
Subject Index
Music - United States
Genres/Forms of Material
Sheet music
Sound Recordings
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Acquisition Notes: Richard Alkire  Gift.