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Theobald Ludwig

December 18, 1888 - October 7, 1918

Theobald Ludwig, brother of William F Ludwig and also a professional drummer at the turn of the century. Assisted in managing the first Ludwig drum shop in 1906 and co-founder of Ludwig & Ludwig. Dies young at the age of 29 in 1918. He was traveling to Philadelphia to find out more about a large order of drums that the US government needed. On that trip Theo looked for the Government chief in charge of all musical instrument purchases. Colonel Brockenshire was caught up in the influenza epodemic of that year. So Theo tracked him down in the hospital to find out the Gretsch Company in collusion with a local jobber from New York City, Buegeleisen & Jacobson. They convinced the army that the larger drum would produce more volume. That is how Theo contracted influenza and died shortly after this trip and these letters.


Here is the last letter from Theobald Ludwig - (Theo) Part of the story is in the Ludwig book by Rob Cook (above), but these are the actual letters he sent his brother prior to his death. Ludwig Jr. felt his uncle died in the line of duty. He was going to see why a large order for the US Government went to Gretsch. These letters give us a little insight as to what he was thinking and what was happening at the time.
This letter dated Oct 1st 1918 sent to William F Ludwig

Dear Brother,

I wired you to-night how this bunch got here I don't know yet but will find out. In the meantime just lay low and wait. Don't buy any stock of heads for contract as they will try to edge out if they can. An if they can prove that they will save money for the Gove. will get the assistance. It may turn out alright anyway. They have been here five weeks but are still very upset and appear to have these trouble. I meet them to-night by accident and they said I had the wrong impression about them which maybe I have but it looks funny. I told them I would co-operate everyway possible with them in improving the drum and would stay until the called for me. They said I needn't stay as I could leave my sample and they would write but nothing doing I want to see what there going to do. I will write again to-morrow. I think they may ask for a 16" drum. Theo.

Buegeliesen is as foxy as they make them Gretsch an't in it.

This letter is dated October 4th, 1918. (starting from hand written copy on the bottom)
I will call the Vendig for mail on Monday otherwise Driscall at Washington D.C.

Army has adopted the old long Bugle so sell all the short at cost. The only selling of military drums seems to be to the Contonement Camps, Lodges, Boy Scouts, etc have stopped buying. Brockenshire is satisfyed with heads but under the terms of contract they can even force us to supplies genuine Rogers.

Read 1st part #4 of page #1 of printed schedule old contract. Gretsch catalogs illustrads a drum 3ply, oak hoops he calls 16" which is 15 1/2 really which complys with new specifications mailed you from there office at Wash. yesterday. This shows the interest to quote themselfs on field drums and have nokes proply furnish band drums.

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