Fred L. Dautrich papers, 1923-1971
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Brief Description:

Papers of Fred L. Dautrich, Torrington, Conn., artist, musician and violin expert who invented three string instruments to fill the voicing gaps he believed existed between the violin, cello, and bass violin in order to enrich the sound of the string ensemble. The papers include correspondence, photographs, ephemera, news clippings, and trademark documents.

Fred L. Dautrich was born in Germany in 1874 and apprenticed as boy to be a cabinet maker. In 1896, he came to the United States with an older sister. After studying art at various places around the U.S., he took up the building and repairing violins in 1917. In the 1920s and 1930s he developed three new stringed instruments, which he called the vilonia, vilon, vilono, and demonstrated them widely in a string quintet which included his son, Jean Dautrich, and his wife, Helene Halabe Dautrich. Correspondence and notes indicate that conductor Leopold Stokowski viewed the new instruments with favor. Dautrich died in Torrington in 1942. Jean and Helene Halabe Dautrich settled in Litchfield, Conn.

The papers are unarranged, and include publications and newspaper clippings that describe the development of his instruments and the many concerts in which they were played; photographs of Dautrich in his shop, the instruments, and the quintet; promotional materials describing the instruments and the how they improve the performance of string ensemble music; correspondence, in which Dautrich communicates with his patent lawyer and interested parties; and other documents.

Held at:
Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, P.O. Box 385
Litchfield, CT 6759
Phone: 860-567-4501
Fax: 860-567-3565
Email: archivist [at]
Record Series Number: 00/1993-06-0
Created by: Dautrich, Fred L. (1874-1942)
Volume: 2.0 Folders
Acquired: 08/20/1993.
Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.
Subject Index
Bowed string instruments
Dautrich, Frederick H., 1874-1942
Torrington (Conn.)
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Copyright has been transferred to the Litchfield Historical Society for materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Acquisition Notes: Helene H. Dautrich  Gift
PreferredCitation: Fred L. Dautrich papers (1993-06-0), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759