Featured Item

Eliza Allen’s Guitar, 1820s

September 12, 2018

This guitar belonged to Eliza Allen (1809-1861) of Sumner County, the forlorn bride of Sam Houston. A prized item in the Tennessee Historical Society’s collections, the guitar is a featured object at the new Tennessee State Museum, opening on October 4, 2018. The story of Eliza and Sam’s fateful marriage is on our journal page, “1796.”

ELiza Allen's Guitar
Eliza Allen's Guitar

The parlor guitar was made by famous luthier Aubry-Marie of Mirecourt in France, a great guitar center. Made of birds-eye maple and inlaid with mother of pearl, it was recently repaired for the new exhibit, “Forging a Nation,” you can see the guitar being played in the video below.

We recently had repair work done to a parlor guitar made by Aubry-Maire in France about 1820. The guitar belonged to Eliza Allen, who came from a wealthy Middle Tennessee family and married Tennessee governor Sam Houston. The marriage only lasted a few months, and the scandal drove Houston from Tennessee to Texas. The guitar is part of the Tennessee Historical Society collection at the Museum and is slated for the “Forging a Nation” exhibition at the New Museum when it opens in October. Here is a short clip of Manuel Delgado from Delgado Guitars , who did the work on the guitar, playing it.

Posted by Tennessee State Museum on Saturday, September 1, 2018