After reading Fred Taylor’s column in your Sept. 19 issue, I was prompted to do some research on a violin that has a Grand Rapids, Mich., background. Said instrument was given to my significant other years ago when she resided in Portland, Ore. She informed me that her neighbor was moving back to Michigan, and now she regrets that she does not remember his name. All she could recall was that he told her the violin had survived the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906.
Looking at the condition of the case, I’m inclined to believe it. We took it to a music shop in Portland, but he kissed us off and said it might be worth $200, as it had been repaired. I finally looked inside the instrument and discovered it was printed with the following inscription: “Repaired by W.S. Bronson Grand Rapids, MI. Nov 1887.”
I wrote to your Fred Taylor and asked if he could shed any light on the subject, as he was well acquainted in Grand Rapids, but he suggested we contact the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. This I did, and they were kind enough to refer me to the Grand Rapids Public Library. We received the nicest letter from a lady in their archives department, and it really brought us up to date on William S. Bronson. She even included a copy of write-ups about Mr. Bronson, who was famous in his day.
If any of your readers can shed any more light on Mr. Bronson, we would appreciate it.
We were planning to sell the instrument, but the more we learn about it, the less we are inclined to part with it.
– Bill Hughes & Miriam Reyes
1204 NE 65th St.
Vancouver, WA 98665