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Collection Dayton C. Miller Collection

Fife [Fragment]

Fife (Fragment)

Dayton C. Miller's lifelong interest in collecting wind instruments may have been sparked during childhood when he found a fife that his father and another unnamed man had played less than a decade earlier in the Civil War. Miller's ledger book lists this fife fragment as No. 1 in his collection, and his entry includes a confession that the battered condition of the instrument had little to do with its military history. Miller soon became a serious amateur flutist and, by the early 1890s, a serious collector of wind instruments, books, music, iconography, statuary, and other objects related to the flute.

Many of his specimens are treasures by any standards of collecting, but it is clear that DCM 0001, the fife fragment, held a special and sentimental place in his collection. By the time of his death in 1941, DCM 0001 had been joined by thirty-five more fifes and other flutes that might also be called fifes. See "Fife vs. Band Flute."