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Collection Number: 20060

Collection Title: George H. Fehr Collection, 1920s-1960s

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 section for more information.


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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.
Language English
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the George H. Fehr Collection #20060, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from the D. K. Wilgus, date unknown.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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.

These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online catalogs.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

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.)

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Biographical Information, 1928-1960s.

5 items.

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.

Folder 1

Biographical information #20060, Series: "1. Biographical Information, 1928-1960s." Folder 1

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Fan Letters, 1930s.

5 items.

Handwritten fan appreciation letters to members of the Old Country Store and song requests from radio listeners.

Folder 2

Fan Letters #20060, Series: "2. Fan Letters, 1930s." Folder 2

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Set Lists and Song Lists, 1920s-1930s.

5 items.

Materials highlight the structure of the group performances and include some set lists, song lists, and the brief outline of a comic routine.

Folder 3

Set Lists and Song Lists #20060, Series: "3. Set Lists and Song Lists, 1920s-1930s." Folder 3

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s.

About 720 items.

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.

Folder 4

Lyrics and Music: A #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 4

Folder 5

Lyrics and Music: B #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 5

Folder 6

Lyrics and Music: C #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 6

Folder 7

Lyrics and Music: D #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 7

Folder 8

Lyrics and Music: E #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 8

Folder 9

Lyrics and Music: F #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 9

Folder 10

Lyrics and Music: G #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 10

Folder 11

Lyrics and Music: H #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 11

Folder 12

Lyrics and Music: I #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 12

Folder 13

Lyrics and Music: J #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 13

Folder 14

Lyrics and Music: K #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 14

Folder 15

Lyrics and Music: L #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 15

Folder 16

Lyrics and Music: M #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 16

Folder 17

Lyrics and Music: N #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 17

Folder 18

Lyrics and Music: O #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 18

Folder 19

Lyrics and Music: P #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 19

Folder 20

Lyrics and Music: Q #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 20

Folder 21

Lyrics and Music: R #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 21

Folder 22

Lyrics and Music: S #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 22

Folder 23

Lyrics and Music: T #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 23

Folder 24

Lyrics and Music: U #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 24

Folder 25

Lyrics and Music: V #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 25

Folder 26

Lyrics and Music: W #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 26

Folder 27

Lyrics and Music: X,Y,Z #20060, Series: "4. Lyrics and Music, 1920s-1930s." Folder 27

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Song Clippings, Song Fragments, and Folios, 1920s-1930s.

7 items.

Song clippings cut from newspapers, fragments of musical pieces, and music folios.

Folder 28

Song Clippings, Song Fragments, and Folios #20060, Series: "5. Song Clippings, Song Fragments, and Folios, 1920s-1930s." Folder 28

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Processing Information

Processed by: library staff, 1994.

Encoded by: Melissa Johnson, October 2003.

Finding aid updated by Alison Waldenberg, July 2006.

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