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Trying to locate Great-Grandma’s Accordion

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Accordion57

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Hi, my name is Will Brunner and my family is originally from the Chicago area. I’ve been trying to dig up information on my Great-Grandmother, Phyllis Greta Sessa, but she went by Greta (her married name was Brunner). She was a music teacher from Wisconsin and later in the Chicago area. She played piano, clarinet, accordion, saxophone, trumpet, guitar, violin among others. She died when my grandpa was very little so he has very few memories of her. I was hoping that perhaps someone in the music community might know something about her or might have known her. In addition to being a music teacher she also played in local clubs. Perhaps someone might recognize her instruments, as it is a dream of mine to find one of her accordions to present to my grandpa. I know it’s a long shot but I thought I might as well try! Any help or info would be much appreciated! Thanks for your time!


Must Rush,

Will Brunner
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Hello Will,

Perhaps your Gt. Grandmother was entered in a trade directory under music tutors. She may also have advertised in local or regional newspapers under the same heading.

If you have any idea about the theatres she performed in, perhaps archive records (or even theatre programmes) still exist.

Good luck with your investigation.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 

AccordionUprising

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There is unfortunately no registry of accordions that might contain information on individual historical instruments. I don't know how you could find or identify your great-grandmother's instrument.

From the 1920s to the 1960s many hundreds of thousands of accordions were produced, with little documentation for most of them. Finding one amongst the many accordions that survive seems a very daunting task. Tracing its travels through personal memories would be the only way I'd see possible, but those may be lost.

Sorry to not be more helpful.
 
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Accordion57

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Hello all and thanks for the replies. I appreciate your input. Unfortunately I do not know the exact clubs she played in, all I know is that they were in the Chicago Illinois area. My family has her trumpet (the only instrument of hers that we have) and a couple of business cards for her lessons. We recently discovered some pictures of her in our attic that my grandpa (her only child) had forgotten. Almost all of them are of her holding one of her beloved accordions which all had her name engraved on them. Perhaps this would help? I’m still trying to figure out how to post pictures.

Must Rush,

Will Brunner
 

WaldoW

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Put your request on Facebook (choke) with G-ma's name and I'd wager someone will come back with a lead.

Waldo
 
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Accordion57

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I have gotten in contact with some of Chicago’s local accordion clubs and they have made a post on Facebook about it. They also mentioned her at their monthly meeting so hopefully someone recognized her. Would it be at all beneficial to post some pictures of her accordions here to identify the makes and models? Thanks.

Must Rush,

Will Brunner
 

lmschgo

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If not already done so, you may want to contact the Italo-American Accordion Company, located in a suburb of Chicago. They have been around since 1915. www.italoamericanaccordions.com

The owner, a women in her 90s, died a few years ago. I am not sure about the status of the business now, since her passing.
 
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Accordion57

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Thanks for the tip! I did contact them and they believe that they built one of her accordions, but are unaware of their whereabouts.
 

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HI Will,

I'm from western Wisconsin, and we have some people here who are quite knowledgeable and have been around forever. The connection to the Chicago area is not that remote. If you were to post a picture, I think it would be helpful.

Good luck, Tom
 

WaldoW

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"Ah, those were the good old days."
While I can't help with the accordion search, I liked the pics, especially the one with the sax on it's side. Great old world photographic composition that would work well today.

A technique I have used when seeking seemingly impossible to find stuff, is, create a "shrine" to the object desired. Put enlargments of the photos someplace where you'll see them all the time (near the TV for most people). Add anything else tied to her or the accordion. Every time you see the photos/stuff, think about whatever it is you're seeking. I have been consistently surprised how effective (and rapidly) this works. Good luck on the search. I bet the "Greta" box comes back to you.

Waldo
 

Tom

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Besutiful pictures Will! In the first she is holding an accordion from the Karpek Accordion Mfg Company in Milwaukee. I imagine many of their accordions were (are) played in the Chicago area. They seem to have been active from 1915 - 1975 or so. This may not help you, but Ill ask around here. I dont recognize the other accordions but someone might.

Heres some interesting background on Karpek:

https://www.justanswer.com/antiques/6kufu-hold-someone-karper-accordion-mfg.html

Good luck!!!!
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Hello Will,

Your Gt. Grandmother was a strikingly beautiful lady. I hope and trust that those photographs remain in your family forever.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 
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Accordion57

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Hi all, and thanks for the replies and compliments! These pictures were recently discovered and as I said before very little is known about her as there is only one person left (my grandpa) who remembers her. Should I post this somewhere else on the forum where it might get more views?

Must Rush,

Will Brunner
 

hais1273

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Helen and I loved these pictures. Helen wondered if you had a genealogist in the family? If so they might have access to one or more of the family history research sites. I suspect it will be a long shot but maybe it maybe worth posting these photos on one of these sites. Sometimes unknown and unsuspected cousins can be found who may have information.

www.ancestry.com

Im sure there must be many such websites in the US.

Make sure you have the copyright though, unscrupleless swine can and do hi-jack your images for their own use
 

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