Handy, a composer and music publisher, was born in Florence, Alabama Nov. 16, 1873. Known as "father of the blues" because he was first to collect and write songs which had been played by workers, illiterates, and sharecroppers. Among his more than 60 compositions were "Memphis Blues," "St. Louis Blues," and "Joe Turner Blues." Wrote other secular songs, arrangements of spirituals, and orchestral work as composer and conductor. With Harry Pace, a song writer, founded a music publishing house in Memphis, 1907 (moved to New York, 1918). Died March 29, 1958, New York City. Later that year, a movie based on his life, "St. Louis Blues," was released, starring Nat "King" Cole as Handy.
A photograph, several letters by Handy, and several pieces of music which he published.
W. C. Handy Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History