Today’s post is a little off-topic as far as our usual ones go but it is still “drum” related. You’ll understand as you read this. I thought it might be fun to go back in time and recall our childhoods when playing with toy soldiers was a great source of amusement. I for one grew up a student of the Civil War. I think you can tell that from my frequent posts on the subject of drummer boys. I remember entertaining myself for hours upon hours in my basement recreating battle scenes. I believe this early fascination with drummer boys led to my interest in studying the history of the drums. Although it would be several years until I pursued an instrument myself, the seed was planted. In other words, playing with toy soldiers led to pursuing the antiquity of the drums. It peaked my interest and I vividly remember singling out the drummer boy figures in my collection. As non-combatants they stood out among the other pieces.
Now a published historian I can look back with a sense of fondness for playing with these toys. Perhaps I would not be a historian otherwise. I’m not the only one who took this path. Mannie Gentile is an avid collector and historian on many topics. Toy soldiers is one of them. Mannie’s collection is extensive and his knowledge goes far beyond anyone I know. I asked Mannie to share some drummer boy figures from his collection and they are pictured above. I also asked Mannie how he felt about these pieces in particular. He said, “On my toy soldier battlefields the drummers, some of whom are boys, are never far from the fray. My toy soldiers find their drummers an indispensable part of their efforts in endless little wars.”
Looking back I can clearly see my childhood path to becoming an adult historian. I will continue to present that topic here. It is my hope with these historical posts to introduce an interest in the history of our instrument. For more on Mannie’s collection visit: http://toysoldiersforever.blogspot.com/
If you are interested in previous posts on the Civil War drummer boy visit: Drummer Boy Photo Album Drummer Boy Medal of Honor History of Drummer Boys Drummer Boy The Drummer Boy History: Drum Signals Complete Music for the Fife and Drum From History to the Canvas 154th Anniversary A Letter Home 103rd Ohio Preserved Drum Courage and Distinction Civil War Drums “Major” A.H. Johnson Alexander Howard Johnson The Long Roll Civil War Rudiments Battle Beats