I was born in Germany after World War II, of German parentage. My mother immigrated to the United States with me. And her mother was ... I was reared in Corpus Christi, and then went to school in Texas, graduated a number of times through the university system, and then moved to Minnesota in ’88, began my own businesses and have run them in Burnsville out of my home studio in Duluth, out of my second studio after my husband and I took over the Duluth Accordionaires, and then opened the Accordion Museum in Superior, Wisconsin, which is now well-regarded worldwide.
[Covid has] given me time personally to catch up with things that have been long put aside. So I’ve painted the first floor of my house, two sides, I’ve painted outdoor furniture, taken on some sewing projects, finished a photo collage that’s been in progress for eight years, and I’m now completing another book.
I’ve already published sixty-five, now I’m on sixty-six, and that one should be ready very soon. I have written scholarly books and articles and biographies and publications that have gone around the world, and certainly in the national arena for accordionists. Most of my books, however, deal with repertory for the various accordion family instruments and methodologies for those that have no teaching methods at present. There are fifty-five different types of button diatonic accordions, none of which have specific how-to books or repertories geared toward them. So that’s where most of it has been, lots of arrangements that are for different levels of proficiency on piano accordions, button chromatic accordions, diatonic accordions and concertinas. It’s what I love to do, so it’s a good use of my time.
— Helmi Strahl Harrington
Stories of Wisdom from Bodies in Separation (SWaBS): Archiving the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Lens of Humanities has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.