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A collection of concertina and oboe sheet music along with the Chemnitzer concertina belonging to John Silvia.

John Silvia was born in Radley, Kansas to Italian immigrants, in 1892. He grew up in a coal mining town and became a miner at the age of 15. In his spare time, Silvia enjoyed baseball and playing the clarinet. In 1913, he married Ann Stockinger, and soon began working as a mechanic in Radley. In 1916, Silvia went to Kansas City to study auto-mechanics, while Ann stayed in Radley with their daughter, Marie Kay. Walter McCray, a music professor and for whom McCray Hall at Pittsburg State University is name for, tried to place Silvia in a teaching position at the school in auto-mechanics, but Silvia lacked the education to be a professor. Silvia and his wife welcomed Elmer J. in 1919 and Sylvia Ann in 1931. In 1927, Silvia and his brother Tony opened their own service garage in Frontenac, Kansas, but it burned down a year later requiring Silvia to work off the debts of the shop during the Depression. But, in 1934 he was able to combine his interests in mechanics and mining to become a mechanic for the Alston Coal Company and later the Midway Coal Company where he worked until his retirement in 1962. In his retirement, Silvia grew tomatoes, made wine, read, enjoyed music, and tinkered. He passed away in 1986.

Publication Date



Performing Arts



Size of Collection

2 linear feet

Dates of Collection


Manuscript Number

SpC MS 0294

Silvia, John, Collection, 1910-1925

Included in

Music Commons



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