Manufactory C. F. Martin & Co.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 682

Noel Paul Stookey was a member of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. He used this guitar for performances and recordings of the group between 1961 and mid 1963. The guitar was used on the entirety of their debut album Peter, Paul and Mary released in 1962. This nylon-strung Martin guitar, paired with Peter Yarrow's steel strung guitar, was a key component to the group's famed sound. This guitar was used on songs from the first album including "Lemon Tree, "500 Miles," and for their rendition of Pete Seeger's, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone." That album also included another Seeger song, "If I Had a Hammer," which garnered the trio two Grammy Awards for the Best Folk Recording and Best Performance by a Vocal Group. The cover of that iconic album features the trio standing in front of a brick wall at the New York City music venue The Bitter End. Stookey holds this guitar and Peter Yarrow holds a 1961 Martin O-16NY guitar both of which are now a part of the collection of The Metropolitan Museum.

Stookey continued to use this guitar for performances and recordings in 1962 and early 1963. It was also used on the trio's second album "Moving" on which their popular song "Puff, the Magic Dragon" appears.

Noel Paul Stookey shared the following story about his acquisition of the guitar. "I traded the hollow-body electric KAY guitar that I'd played in the BIRDS OF PARADISE in high school, took it to Manny's music store in 1959 or '60 after seeing a free classical guitar concert at Cooper Union where the performer (one of three I recall) made a mistake in the middle of a piece. My first thought was 'hey, I can do that.' Seriously, realizing that the mastering of a nylong string was a vulnerable journey, I decided that night to trade the clank and clatter of electric for the clarity and classic of the acoustic Martin."

This guitar is a model OO-18G with nylon strings, serial number 170414. The instrument was heavily used by Stookey and was refurbished in the 1960s and again in the mid-1990s. The white tapping plate as seen in period photos and film of the trio was removed during one of these restorations.

The following was written by Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey about the Martin guitars they donated to The Met:
"Our two Martin guitars became central to our lives under unusual circumstances. It was an amazing, idealistic and heady time in New York’s Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and the joy and optimism that we felt, as it was expressed in the folk music that we had inherited – and were now beginning to emulate in our own songwriting – filled us up in ways that are hard to express, and certainly to understand, for those who have not experienced it.

When one is singing folk music, and one’s only instrument is a guitar accompanying one’s voice, the sound of that guitar is a precious thing and an essential tool. To be able to feel inspired, and for that matter, to inspire others, if one is fortunate enough for that to happen, one needs to make a sonic 'marriage' between one’s guitar, one’s soul and one’s voice."

Guitar, C. F. Martin & Co., Mahogany, rosewood, spruce, metal, plastic, American

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