Axel Boilesen

Memories of the Phonograph and Other Stories



My name is Axel Boilesen.

I was born on a farm near Cotesfield, Nebraska on April 18, 1923.

When I was a little boy we had an Edison Amberola, which I think was a Model 30, that was tucked away in a bedroom closet.

I never saw it in the parlor as we had a radio and if there was going to be any entertainment, it usually came from the radio. But I do remember my older sisters getting the Edison out from time to time and dancing around the bedroom.

The Jolly Coppersmith was a song I can still hear playing. We didn't listen to it very often but the Edison always worked very well.

My grandmother also had a phonograph in their home, a large upright disc model which might have been a Brunswick. I still fondly remember her sitting in her rocking chair with me on her lap listening to the phonograph together.


Axel on far right, sister Fern on far left in "Pilgrim" program, 1932

Axel as a litle boy (center of picture) with brother Lester on his left, Floyd on his right and his two sisters, Lois and Fern. (circa 1926).  



When World War II began there were paper drives and scrap iron drives and other activities to support the war effort. My Dad had alot of scrap iron and machinery parts around the farm and he was very willing and proud to donate all that he could.

Included in those war-time donations was our Edison Amberola. It was said that donating phonographs would help entertain the troops and I think my Dad believed that our Amberola would make it to some USO or army camp site.


1919 postcard showing US Army personnel listening to a disc playing "Victrola"


Looking back, it seems unlikely our Amberola ever played music for any soldier in the 1940's. By 1942 Edison Blue Amberol cylinder records, the record format used by an Amberola, hadn't been manufactured by anyone in over 14 years so the music selection of an Amberola would have been very limited and dated.


But if our Edison did survive the army's scrap pile I'm sure it's still hammering out those "la la la's" of the Jolly Coppersmith.


Click here to download a 1909 recording (20 MB) of The Jolly Coppersmith.


This image from a German postcard titled Liebesgaben (alms) shows children participating in a war-time drive to support their troops including the donation of a gramophone (little girl on the far right).   This poster was displayed in a Department store in 1918 to support World War I American troops with phonograph records. The artist of the poster was C.B. Falls.



Other Axel Boilesen Stories

Growing Up - What did we do for entertainment?

Growing Up - My Danish Heritage

Growing Up - Religion

Growing Up - Education

Growing Up - High School Sneak Day (Class of 1941)

Growing Up - My Dad, the Inventor

Growing Up - Measure Twice, Cut Once

Axel's account of his military experience in World War II - Axel Boilesen: 37-485-424

Axel's Tribute to his parents - A Christmas Eve memory

1841 Lake Street - The University Years

Axel's Grove, 1976

CITY-TV Interview with Axel Boilesen March 2008

2013 New Year's Resolution

Next Time

Memorial Service and Family Tribute to Axel - March 25, 2013

Committal Service and Sharing Memories - May 25, 2013 Cotesfield Cemetery

Axel - A Personal Tribute by Doug Keister - March 25, 2013

Axel and the Glass Negatives - The Lincoln Journal - August 5, 2013

Husking Bee for Chris Boilesen, 1948 (newspaper account)

Axel and Betty - Christmas Traditions

Betty Barr Boilesen Stories






Axel Boilesen, a Friend of the Phonograph, celebrating his 87th Birthday.