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Jack Batts

Jack Batts was a violin maker in Southern Illinois, who, until his death in 1988, made fine quality instruments for members of some major American symphony orchestras. He is believed to have made up to 150 fine violins and 5 violas. He was very generous with his time, and dedicated to his craft. He thus assisted to prepare this work in 1975, but time, and the vagaries of the publishing world did not permit its publication until now. The work tells how this master made the sound of his instruments, not simply "the wooden box" that produces those sounds. It includes copies of his detailed hand made records of about 20 instruments made till the date of research. The author also discusses the context of the man, and of the shop within the history of his region, the southern highlands - coal country - of Southern Illinois.
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About the Author

Paul Ballonoff was born in Ohio in 1943, but raised in Los Angeles. He earned his Ph.D. in social anthropology from UCLA in 1970, gained following a BA in economics also from UCLA in 1964, and a two year escape as Peace Corps volunteer in rural development in Colombia. His work since 1980 has been in the energy industry, for state governments, and as an international consultant in post-soviet areas and elsewhere. While Paul is principally a mathematical theorist of culture, he has held a life-long interest in music (both folk and classical), instrument making (a spinet harpsichord he built in 1972 still resides in his living room) and arts (including a collection of some 200 books on 19th century Russian landscape artists). Paul met Jack Batts while working for a year at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, in 1971; Johnston City was not a far ride away. He did the research for this book in 1975. Write him with your comments at Paul@Ballonoff.net.

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