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John Challis Records

Creator:
Challis, John, 1907-1974  Search this
Truesdale, Ephraim  Search this
Donor:
Frayer, William W.  Search this
Extent:
24 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Advertisements
Ledgers (account books)
Sound recordings
Photographs
Magazines (periodicals)
Design drawings
Letters (correspondence)
Concert programs
Drawings
Musical scores
Diplomas
Trade literature
Clippings
Business records
Date:
circa 1900-1974
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the Challis Harpsichord business, and the lives of Mr. Challis and his partner, Ephraim Truesdale. The collection contains correspondence, both personal and business; business records, including ledgers and journals; drawings, including design drawings for harpsichord decorations and elements; client files; subject files, especially on harpsichord and musical instrument subjects; printed materials such as concert programs, trade literature, magazines on the subject of music and musical instruments, clippings, advertisements and publicity materials; photographs, including many of instruments and many of Challis' family members; music scores; ceremonial items such as diplomas; templates for elements of harpsichords; and recordings.
Arrangement:
Collection is unarranged.
Biographical / Historical:
John Challis was an American builder of harpsichords and clavichords. He attended Michigan Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University), where his interest in constructing keyboard instruments emerged. He spent four years apprenticing with Arnold Dolmetsch in England, returning in 1930, when he set himself up building instruments in a two-story space above a dress shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Dr. William W. Frayer, 2016.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical instrument makers  Search this
Harpsichord  Search this
Harpsichord makers  Search this
Musical instruments  Search this
Clavichord  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertisements -- 20th century
Ledgers (account books) -- 20th century
Sound recordings
Photographs -- 20th century
Magazines (periodicals) -- 20th century
Design drawings
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century.
Concert programs
Drawings -- 20th century
Musical scores
Diplomas
Trade literature
Clippings -- 20th century
Business records -- 20th century
Citation:
John Challis Papers, ca. 1930-1974, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1375
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1375

[Two guitars:] Gibson ES-5, 1951, SN AS7321, 3 P-90 pickups; Gibson Es-5 Switchmaster, 1959, SN A27764, 3 PAF pickups [digital color photoprint

Photographer:
Singer, Jonathan, Dr.  Search this
Donor:
Singer, Jonathan, Dr.  Search this
Collection Donor:
Singer, Jonathan, Dr.  Search this
Extent:
1 Item
Type:
Archival materials
Digital images
Still lifes
Date:
[2011]
Local Numbers:
AC1243-0000001.tif (AC Scan No.)
Exhibitions Note:
Displayed in Archives Center exhibition, "Gift of the Artist: Photographers as Donors," November 11, 2011-Feb. 29, 2012. David Haberstich, curator.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Jonathan Singer retains copyright. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Guitars  Search this
Musical instruments -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Digital images
Still lifes
Collection Citation:
Photograph by Jonathan Singer, 2011, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of the artist.
See more items in:
Jonathan Singer Photographs:,digital photographic prints
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1243-ref515

Hubbard Harpsichord Records

Creator:
Frank Hubbard  Search this
Names:
Hubbard Harpischords, Inc.  Search this
Extent:
30 Cubic feet (76 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Business records
Newsletters
Photographs
Project files
Financial records
Legal documents
Account books
Correspondence
Research
Manuals
Design drawings
Place:
Framingham (Mass.)
Massachusetts
Date:
1930-2003
bulk 1949-2003
Summary:
The collection documents approximately fifty years of the Hubbard Harpsichord business. The records include correspondence, financial and accounting materials, sales and promotional materials, records, newsletters, dealer files, project files, photographs, research files on European instruments, kit manuals, and design drawings.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the approximately fifty years of the Hubbard Harpsichord business. The records include correspondence, financial and accounting materials, sales and promotional materials, records, newsletters, dealer files, project files, photographs, research files on European instruments, kit manuals, and design drawings.

Series 1, Correspondence, 1949-2003, consists of letters among representatives of the company, individuals, churches, seminary schools, musical societies, companies, universities, harpsichord owners and enthusiasts. The correspondence is rich with information about historical issues, construction techniques, ownership genealogy, the early music movement, and Hubbard's importance to the historical building movement. The correspondence is handwritten and typed. There are some loose papers, notes, and postcards. Requests for information on the harpsichord manual kit, harpsichord purchases, and questions/answers pertaining to the building of harpsichords comprise the majority of the series. There are also invoices, checks, and publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Review, and Saturday Review. Correspondents include the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, Yale University, a number of professional harpsichordists, and dealers of the company. The series is arranged in chronological order, then alphabetically by correspondent's last name or business name.

Series 2, Business Files, 1965-2000, is divided into three subseries: Subseries 1, Annual Meetings and Reports, 1965-2000; Subseries 2, Corporate Affairs, 1960-1997, and Subseries 3, Employee Files, 1967-1997.

This series documents both the development of Frank Hubbard Harpsichords Kit, Inc., the company created to sell "do-it-yourself" kits, and Frank T. Hubbard Harpsichords, the finished instruments company. Hubbard headed the finished instruments company, officially established in 1973, until his death, while Lawrence C. Erdmann headed the kits company. The issue of what role the two separate companies should take was a prominent question before and after Hubbard's death. Diane Hubbard, Hubbard's wife, began running the company after Hubbard's death in 1976 until her retirement in 2000. This series is arranged topically, then in chronological order.

Subseries 1, Annual Meetings and Reports, 1965-2000, documents many of the issues the company faced at the corporate level. Minutes, corporate resolutions, and correspondence highlight yearly financial and operational activities, financial and operations projections, consolidation of the two companies, review of leadership positions, proposed investments, incoming stockholders and activities of the board of directors, and acquired leases.

Subseries 2, Corporate Affairs, 1960-1997, includes property leases the company held from its founding at Moody Street in 1959, until the 1980's. This subseries documents stockholder, stock purchases by Phil Cooper, a major shareholder in the company in the 1990's. Other items include the Hubbard Memorial Committee which documents a memorial concert, the establishment of the Historical Harpsichord Monograph essays, and some of Hubbard's publications. Dr. Howard Schott, author of the Historical Harpsichords series, and Dr. John D. Montgomery, chairman of the Frank Hubbard Memorial Committee are frequent correspondents. A finished instruments schedule documents (Box 21/folder 9), through notes and correspondence, the length of time it took to complete building the harpsichord. The same box holds records of the company's acquisition of a clavichord business (Box 21/folder 10), and a 1997 business plan (Box 21/folder 11).

Subseries 3, Employee Files, 1967-1996, consists of correspondence among representatives of the company, college students searching for internships, and job applicants seeking positions. The materials document the continually changing structure and hierarchy of the company through notes and correspondence. There are materials relating to the employment of Michel Van Hecke, an apprentice craftsman in the late 1960's, and Robert A. Murphy, a piano craftsman, in 1984, which document the company's hiring process over time.

Series 3, Frank Hubbard Harpsichords Kit, Inc., 1964-1997, is divided into three subseries: Subseries 1, Kit Instructions, 1964-1989, undated, Subseries 2, Price Lists and Costs, 1974-1999, undated, and Subseries 3, Catalogues of Hubbard Harpsichords, 1984-1997.

Determined to offer instruments of authenticity and perfection, Hubbard initially created a finished instruments company. In 1963, Hubbard also developed a kit manual which anyone with basic woodworking skills could follow in order to build their own harpsichord. This series is arranged topically, then chronologically.

Subseries 1, Kit Instructions, 1964-1989, undated, consists of the pioneering kit manuals Hubbard promoted while waiting for finished instrument orders. The earliest manual, 1964, is a general purpose harpsichord manual that is most likely an early kit for a French harpsichord. Others include the Flemish harpsichord, fortepiano by Johann Andreas Stein, a German maker of keyboard instruments, English bentside spinet, 17th century Flemish Ottavino, Flemish virginal-museler spinet, and Flentrop chamber organ.

Subseries 2, Price Lists and Costs, 1974-1999, undated, consists of the costs, price, and inventories related to the production of kit manuals.

Subseries 3, Catalogues of Hubbard Harpsichords, 1984-1997, contains Hubbard harpsichord catalogues and price list booklets. Orders for kits are with the packing lists under sales and promotional materials.

Series 4, Research, 1930-1973, is divided into eight subseries: Subseries 1, Notebooks, 1932-1973, undated; Subseries 2, Correspondence and Notes, 1955-1956, undated; Subseries 3 Drawings, 1950-1959; Subseries 4, Publications and Manuscripts, 1930-1974, undated; Subseries 5, Photographs, undated; Subseries 6, Card Files, undated; Subseries 7, Samples, undated; and Subseries 8, Miscellaneous, 1934-1960, undated.

Research files document Hubbard's efforts to perfect his skills building harpsichords in the 1940's and 1950's. Hubbard journeyed to archives in small towns and gathered information there. He also worked as an apprentice at Arnold Dolmetsch's workshop and later with Hugh Gough in England. This research eventually resulted in instruments that had all the qualities of their older models. This series is arranged topically, then chronologically.

Subseries 1, Notebooks, 1932-1973, includes Work and Ideas of Arnold Dolmestch, which paved the way for building harpsichords based on historical principles. Other notebooks include the Ruckers Taskin (an eighteenth century Flemish harpsichord) and Hubbard's notebook on the alteration of a Hemsch Harpsichord in 1972. There are some notebooks titled by volume that relate to the Hubbard and Dowd Company.

Subseries 2, Correspondence and Notes, 1955-1961, undated, consists of letters and technical notes such as workshop methods, the Ruckers Taskin, and notes from the Harding Museum. The majority of correspondence and notes are unidentified.

Subseries 3, Drawings, 1950-1959, undated, consists of tracings, rubbings, templates, and Hubbard and Dowd drawings of harpsichord designs and harpsichord parts. Some drawings depict the construction of harpsichords by earlier builders. The drawings are unprocessed.

Subseries 4, Publications and Manuscripts, 1930-1974, undated, includes loose pages of an "Ars Organi sketch," articles by Edwin W. Ripin, and loose pages of the French Encyclopedia. There are publications in French, such as a biographical note on the "Blanchet" describing Parisian harpsichord makers. Illustrated London News, Le Soir Illustre, Christian Science Monitor, and Cincinnati Enquirer magazine articles are also included.

Subseries 5, Photographs, undated, consists of unidentified photographs of harpsichords.

Subseries 6, Card Files, undated, consists of index cards documenting instruments examined and instrument makers. There is an index for the cards.

Subseries 7, Samples, undated contains DeQuoco harpsichord iron strings, wood samples, DeQuoco harpsichord wire, and soft iron wire samples.

Subseries 8, Miscellaneous Items, 1934-1960, undated, includes a map of Central Europe, sheet music, museum procedure forms, concert programs, Successor Brocco Instruments, a 1950's instrument maker of the fortepiano, and promotional material for instrument makers.

Series 5, Sales and Promotional Materials, 1961-2000, is divided into six subseries: Series 1, Sales Journals, 1983-1998, Series 2, Instruments on order, 1968-1987, Series 3, Dealer files, 1975-1990, Series 4, Packing lists, 1970-2000, Series 5, Promotional files, 1961-2001, and Series 6, Catalogs of Other Instruments. It is arranged topically then chronologically.

Subseries 1, Sales Journals, 1983-1998, consists of loose pages of expenses and receipts for the instruments produced by the company in the 1980's and 1990's. These include the French harpsichord, the English Bentside Spinet, fortepiano, virginal, ottavino, and organ.

Subseries 2, Instruments on Order, 1968-1987, includes correspondence between representatives of the company and individuals, companies, musical societies, and colleges relating primarily to orders for finished instruments. Requests for kit orders and replacement parts are included. There are also instrument-on-order tracking sheets, invoices, and shipping orders and forms that document the orders that were placed.

Subseries 3, Dealer Files, 1975-1990, contains correspondence between Hubbard representatives and dealers, both domestic and international, who promoted Hubbard harpsichords. The customs broker company, T.D. Downing, is also represented. Other materials include tracking sheets, shipping forms invoices, bills, checks, inventory lists, mail, telegrams, and certificates of insurance between the Hubbard Harpsichords Company and dealers. Dealers include Japanese companies like Arai and Company and German individuals like Klevers. Dealers from Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and United States are also represented.

Subseries 4, Packing Lists, 1970-2000, consists of the kit orders placed for the French harpsichord, English bentside spinet, fortepiano, virginal, ottavino, and organ the company produced. Some packing lists indicate the number of kits the company packed each year. The numbers on the folders indicate the number of kits produced by the company.

Subseries 5, Promotional Files, 1961-2001, includes correspondence and catalogs from festivals, exhibitions, workshops, and projects that helped the company reach out to the wider public. The Boston Early Music Festival, for which Diane Hubbard was a board member, is well represented. Workshops in skills such as voicing, tuning, repair, and general woodworking classes helped amateur craftsman receive instructions for harpsichord-related activities. The special projects document other activities and venues, such as high school projects, and other activities by the Hubbard's to share their knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, harpsichords.

Subseries 6, Catalogs of Other Instruments, undated, consists of competitors' catalogs for early instruments. Hubbard's notable competitors include Wallace Zuckerman (Zuckerman harpsichords), and Hubbard's former business partner, William Dowd. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by competitor name.

Series 6, Financial Records, 1976-2000, consists of general financial documents, balance sheets, tax information, and payrolls.

Materials include account receivables, kits work in progress, monthly expense budgets, accounts payable, cash disbursements, write-offs and cancellations, bad debts, finished instrument orders and sales, miscellaneous income, monthly totals from sales journals, cash disbursements petty cash statements, kits ordered and shipped, restorations and fixed assets. Balance sheets, tax information, payroll documents, and related income statements complement the general financial documents to document the company's finances. The materials are arranged chronologically, then topically.

Series 7, Legal Records, 1959-1987, undated, consists of memoranda, notes, correspondence, and financial materials relating to legal cases and commercial acquisitions for the Hubbard Harpsichord Company from the 1970's to 1980's. The series is divided into five subseries: Subseries 1, Notes of John Ashby, 1968-1977; Subseries 2, Notes of Henry S. Healy, 1973-1978; Subseries 3, Belt v. Hubbard, 1963-1977; Subseries 4, Correspondence, 1963-1979; and Subseries 5, Acquisitions and Mergers, 1959-1987.

Subseries 1, Notes of John Ashby, 1968-1977, consists of notes of the company's lead attorney John H. Ashby pertaining to legal agreements between Hubbard and Erdmann, Hubbard's estate, Belt v. Hubbard, and general financial matters.

Subseries 2, Notes of Henry S. Healy, 1973-1978, consists of the notes of Henry S. Healy regarding the company's acquisition of commercial real estate and leases.

Subseries 3, Belt v. Hubbard, 1963-1977, consists of correspondence, memos, notes, affidavits, pleading matters, and pending matters used in the Belt v. Hubbard case.

Subseries 4, Correspondence, 1963-1979, consists of general correspondence. Wallets five through nine deal with merger acquisitions and sublease agreements during the 1970's and 1980's. Reviews of the company's financial operations are included in accountant reports, tax returns, and documents for the board of directors meetings.

Series 8, Soundboard Newsletters, 1979-1999, consists of a yearly newsletter with information about the company's activities for harpsichord enthusiasts.

Series 9, Photographs, 1968-1993, undated, consists of two albums of harpsichord photos and slides at events and concert halls.

Series 10, Drawings, undated (unprocessed)
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into nine series.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1949-2003

Series 2: Business Files, 1965-2000

Subseries 2.1: Annual meetings and reports, 1965-2000

Subseries 2.2: Corporate Affairs, 1960-1997

Subseries 2.3: Employee Files, 1967-1996

Series 3, Frank Hubbard Harpsichord Kits, Inc., 1964-1997, undated

Subseries 3.1: Kit Instructions, 1964-1989, undated

Subseries 3.2: Price lists and costs, 1974-1999, undated

Subseries 3.3: Instruments on order, 1968-1987

Subseries 3.4: Catalogues of Hubbard Harpsichords, 1984-1997

Series 4: Research, 1930-1974

Subseries 4.1: Notebooks, 1932-1973, undated

Subseries 4.2: Correspondence and Notes, 1955-1961, undated

Subseries 4.3: Drawings, 1950-1959, undated (partially processed)

Subseries 4.4: Publications and Manuscripts, 1930-1974, undated

Subseries 4.5: Photographs, undated

Subseries 4.6: Card Files, undated

Subseries 4.7: Samples, undated

Subseries 4.8: Miscellaneous, 1934-1960, undated

Series 5: Sales and Promotional Materials, 1961-2001, undated

Subseries 5.1: Sales Journals, 1983-1998

Subseries 5.2: Dealer Files, 1975-1990

Subseries 5.3: Instruments on Order, 1968-1987

Subseries 5.4: Packing Lists, 1970-2000

Subseries 5.5: Promotional Files, 1961-2001

Subseries 5.6: Catalogs of Other Instruments, undated

Series 6: Financial Records, 1976-2000

Series 7: Legal Records, 1959-1987, undated

Subseries 7.1: Notes of John Ashby, 1968-1977

Subseries 7.2: Notes of Henry S. Healy, 1973-1978

Subseries 7.3: Belt v. Hubbard Materials, 1963-1977

Subseries 7.4: Correspondence, 1963-1979

Subseries 7.5: Acquisitions and Mergers, 1959-1987

Series 8: Soundboard Newsletters, 1979-1999

Series 9: Photographs, 1968-1993, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Frank Twombly Hubbard (1920-1976) was an American early instruments maker who with William R. Dowd (1922-2008) and the German harpsichord maker Martin Skowroneck, resurrected historical methods of harpsichord building. Many harpsichord makers in the United States are in debt to Frank Hubbard, his research, and his work with Dowd which became central to the twentieth century revival of harpsichord building in the United States.

Born on May 15, 1920, in New York, Hubbard graduated from Harvard University (Bachelor's, 1942; Master of Arts, 1947). At Harvard, Hubbard met William Dowd (1922-2008) who also had an interest in early instruments. Together they constructed a clavichord, an early stringed keyboard instrument used during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries. Hubbard and Dowd both decided to leave Harvard to pursue instrument making. In 1947, Dowd went to work with John Challis in Michigan, while Hubbard went to England and became an apprentice at the workshop of Arnold Dolmetsch in Haslemere. Not learning much about the historic harpsichord, Hubbard worked with Hugh Gough in London in 1948. During his one-year stay with Gough, he was able to visit collections of early keyboard instruments around Europe and study the instruments of fifteenth to eighteenth century harpsichord makers.

Hubbard returned to the United States in 1949 and founded a workshop with Dowd, called Hubbard and Dowd, Inc., in Boston, Massachusetts, which was dedicated to building harpsichords on historical principles. Hubbard and Dowd restored harpsichords in public and private collections (including the Smithsonian) which helped improve their own techniques of design and construction. In 1958 the partnership ended and Hubbard formed his own workshop, Frank Hubbard Harpsichords, Inc. on the Lyman Estate in Waltham, Massachusetts. Dowd opened a larger workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Hubbard held several fellowships--a Fulbright Fellowship (1957), American Philosophical Society Grant (1958) and the Belgium American Educational Foundation CRB Fellowship (1958)--to examine instrument collections in Europe. From 1967 to 1968, he set up the restoration workshop for the Musee Instrumental at the Paris Conservatoire. In the 1970s, he taught courses at Harvard and Boston Universities. Hubbard wrote Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making in 1965. Ralph Kirkpatrick, a harpsichordist, wrote, "Hubbard unquestionably knows more about the history and construction of harpsichords than anyone alive today."

Hubbard developed a harpsichord in 1963 based on a 1769 French harpsichord which was sold as a "do-it-yourself" kit. It included a manual and all the crucial parts. Any person with a good grasp of woodworking and basic knowledge of harpsichord making, with dedication and careful work, was able to produce a fine instrument. Other kit designs followed in subsequent decades, and were marketed and sold under the name of Frank Hubbard Harpsichord Kits, Inc.

Frank Hubbard died on February 26, 1976 in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Operations at the Hubbard shop continued under the direction of Hubbard's wife, Diane Hubbard until 2000. Diane Hubbard died in 2009. Approximately 300 instruments were built in the shop, and nearly 4,000 kits were sold to customers around the world.
Related Materials:
Materials at the National Museum of American History

Materials in the Archives Center

Dowd Harpsichord Collection, 1949-1997 (AC0593)

The Division of Culture and the Arts

The division has a Hubbard clavichord and harpsichords built by other makers.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Hendrik Broekman, President, Hubbard Harpsichords, Inc., on September 20, 2011.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical instrument makers  Search this
Harpsichord makers  Search this
Harpsichord  Search this
Musical instruments  Search this
Genre/Form:
Business records -- 20th century
Newsletters -- 20th century
Photographs -- 1950-2000
Project files
Financial records -- 20th century
Legal documents -- 20th century
Account books -- 20th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Research -- 20th century
Manuals
Design drawings -- 20th century
Citation:
Hubbard Harpsichord Records, 1930-2003, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1256
See more items in:
Hubbard Harpsichord Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1256
Online Media:

Cook Labs records

Creator:
Cook Labs  Search this
Cook, Emory, 1913-2002  Search this
Names:
Cook Labs  Search this
Extent:
6.3 Cubic feet (Phonograph albums)
63.5 Cubic feet (Open-reel tapes)
8.75 Cubic feet (Business records)
78.55 Cubic feet
Culture:
Afro-Caribbean cults  Search this
10th Naval District Steel Band  Search this
Almerico, Tony, 1905-  Search this
American Indians  Search this
Animal sounds  Search this
Audio Engineering Society  Search this
Ast, Anita  Search this
Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750  Search this
Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827  Search this
Big Shell Band  Search this
Boston Chorale  Search this
Brahms, Johannes, 1833-1897  Search this
Brokenshire, Norman, 1898-1965  Search this
Brundage, Al (Alfred)  Search this
Brute Force Band  Search this
Camp, Red  Search this
Carroll, Jimmy  Search this
Crowley, Daniel J., 1921-  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Audiotapes
Photographic prints
Business records
Artifacts
Contracts
Phonograph records
Correspondence
Christmas music
Place:
Cuba
West Indies -- Lesser Antilles
Caribbean Area
Antigua
Barbuda
Amazon River Region
Benítez (Venezuela)
Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula)
Brazil
Connecticut
Cuba
Haiti
Date:
1908-2002, bulk 1948-1965
Summary:
The Cook Labs records, which date from 1939-2002, document the activities of audio engineer Emory Cook and his label Cook Labs. The contents include business records, materials relating to recording artists, photographs, and production materials, as well as phonograph records, master recordings and unpublished recordings produced by or associated with the Cook Labs label. The collection also contains two interviews conducted with Emory Cook in 1990: one by Jeff Place and one by Anthony Seeger and Nicholas Spitzer. There are several physical objects relating to Cook Labs including a bag of powdered vinyl, a binaural playing arm, and a condenser microphone.
Scope and Contents note:
There are two primary components of the Cook Labs records: the records, master tapes and other audio recordings, and the related paper files.

The Cook Labs records contains about 150 of the 200 released Cook recordings, and 739 master tapes. In addition, there are 330 unpublished tapes.

The the paper files include acquisition materials; business correspondence; recording reports; various production notes on records produced; news articles both about and by Emory Cook and Cook Labs; copyright, licensing, and trademark materials; photographs, correspondence, contracts, and other materials relating to recording artists; production materials for each Cook Labs release; and other miscellany. Many contracts are signed by both Cook Labs and the artist. Correspondence is primarily between business associates.

Two interviews were done with Emory Cook in 1990: one by Jeff Place and one by Anthony Seeger and Nicholas Spitzer; both interviews are included in the Cook Labs records.

There are several physical objects relating to Cook Labs including a bag of powdered vinyl, a binaural playing arm, and a condenser microphone.
Arrangement note:
Many of the items in this list have been assigned an accession number, and like materials have been grouped together to create seven series:

Series 1: Business Papers, 1939-1990

Series 2: Recording Artists, 1949-1981, bulk 1950-1959

Series 3: Photographs, undated, 1957

Series 4: Production files, 1948-1995, bulk 1952-1963

Series 5: Objects, undated, 1908-1964

Series 6: Audio Interviews, 1990

Series 7: Audio Recordings
Biographical/Historical note:
Emory Cook (1913-2002) is widely regarded as a highly influencial audio engineer. Born and raised in Albany, New York, he joined the Army Air Corps in 1932. After his discharge in 1934 he obtained his degree from Cornell University and began working for Western Electric in the Audio Engineering Force. During World War II, while still at Western Electric, Cook supervised the creation of a fire-controlled radar "Trainer," for which he received a Commendation from the Service.

In the late 1940's, convinced he could do better than what was on the market, Cook began experimenting with making his own audio equipment. Cook Laboratories was started in 1945 when he developed a new cutting head to be used in record production. Future development of equipment brought about the discovery that he could record frequencies as high as 20,000 hertz, more than any other recording company at the time. He cut a record of piano and organ music to demonstrate this discovery, and took it to the 1949 Audio Fair in New York. When he demonstrated the record with the hopes to sell the recording equipment, he found that people were much more interested in buying the record itself. Shortly after, Sounds of Our Times, later called Cook Records, was born.

Cook Records collected many different sounds and was mostly aimed at the devoted high-fidelity listener. Cook believed that hearing was a sense often overlooked by people, and he wanted listeners of his albums to be able to hear things they might otherwise miss. In a New Yorker profile by Daniel Lang in 1956, Cook claimed that hearing was "always being kicked aside in favor of sight… There's a time and a place for everything, and that includes sound." In order to encourage listening, he put out many albums full of everyday sounds, such as Voice of the Sea, an album of noises of the ocean and Eye of the Storm, recorded during a thunderstorm. One of the most successful albums was Rail Dynamics, an album of steam trains pulling in and out of a station.

Cook Records also produced traditional music albums from its plant in Stamford, Connecticut. The label produced everything from organ music to folk, flamenco guitar, calypso and steel band. Cook had little interest in name musicians and instead searched high and low for anything he thought might be an interesting contribution to his label. He even invited listeners to send in their favorite sounds, some of which he eventually recorded.

Cook had such a large interest in Calypso music that he set up a second pressing plant in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. There he pressed calypso and steel band music for both a Trinidadian and American audience, and most albums sold well in both countries.

In addition to the wide range of music Cook recorded, he was also an inventor. It was Cook who first came up with the idea of pressing records with powdered, rather than solid, vinyl, a technique he dubbed "microfusion." This technique not only saved money, but cut out many of the traditional crackles and pops associated with records.

He also developed the binaural system of recording and playing records, which he thought was superior to the more commonly used stereo method. Binaural was more precise than stereo, and it required placing two microphones six inches apart, approximately the space between two ears, during the recording. It was then played back with a special two-needle playing arm. Binaural recordings were thought by Cook to best duplicate the original sound.

Emory Cook died at the age of 89 in 2002 after a long hospitalization.
COOK RECORDINGS - NUMERICAL LISTING:
001 20,000 Cycle Demo (1949) COOK00001

002 Night Rain and Surf COOK00002

003 Specimen Heart Beats COOK00003

004 Katydids, Frogs and Forrest Birds

E101 Grenada Stories and Songs (1957-58) COOK00101

E102 Amazon Sound: Yacu River Tribes (Rituals and Rites) (1954) COOK00102

E103 Music of St. Lucia (1953) COOK00103

E104 Rada (1958) COOK00104

E105 JOSE RAMON FORTUNE AND OLGA MAYNARD Nancy Stories (1956) COOK00105

106 Afro-West Indian Cultural Practices (1957-58) COOK00106

107 ESCOLA DE SAMBA DE BRAZIL The Boli, The Cocolute, and Brazil (1957-58) COOK00107

901 Steelband Jump Up Boys Town, Tropical Harmony, Silvertone COOK00901

904 THE ESSO STEEL BAND Esso Steelband of Bermuda (1958) COOK0904

906 LORD MELODY Lord Melody Sings Calypso (1958-59) COOK00906

911 TOM CHARLES AND HIS SYNCOPATER ORCHESTRA Fete for So! (1959) COOK00911

914 LORD MELODY Again! Lord Melody Sings Calypso (1957-58) COOK00914

916 Calypso Cross Section Young Killer, The Mighty Bomber, Small Island Pride, The Mighty Wrangler (1957-58) COOK00916

920 THE MIGHTY SPARROW King Sparrow's Calypso Carnival (1959) COOK00920

927 LORD MELODY Calypso through the Looking Glass (1959) COOK00927

928 CLARENCE CURVAN His Drums, His Orchestra COOK00928

930 Belly to Belly Clarence Curvan, Johnny Gomez, Tom Charles, Fitz Vaughn Bryan (1960-61) COOK00930

931 LORD MELODY Lord Melody, 1962 COOK0931

1000 TITUS MOODY DDDs of Binaural (1952) COOK01000

1011 The Christmas Music Box (1950) COOK01011

1012 Music Boxes of Long Ago (1950) COOK01012

1013 CHARLIE MAGNANTE Accordion Pops Concert (1954-55) COOK01013

1014 CHARLIE MAGNANTE AND LaVERGNE SMITH His and Hers (1954-55) COOK01014

1020 SAM ESKIN Sam Eskin's Songs of All Time COOK01020

1021 GROUPE MI-O Un Ti Bo (1958) COOK01021

1022 LAVINIA WILLIAMS' GROUPE FOLKLORIQUE Haiti Confidential (1958) COOK01022

1023 The Ramayana (Hindu Ceremony) (1961) COOK01023

1024 GUSTAVO ZEPOLI Concert Guitar (1954) COOK01024

1025 SEAN McGONIGAL AND ST. COLUMCILLE'S UNITED GAELIC PIPE BAND Kilts on Parade (1950) COOK01025

1026 ANITA AST AND THE VIENNA KONZERTSCHRAMMEREIN Inside Vienna (1952) COOK01026

1027 CARLOS MONTOYA AND THE JOSE GRECO TROUPE Fiesta Flamenca (1952) COOK01027

1028 CARLOS MONTOYA Montoya (1952) COOK01028

1030 EDWARD VITO The Harp (1951) COOK01030

1031 EDWARD AND JOSEPH VITO Dual Harp (1951) COOK01031

1032 RUTH WELCOME AND DICK MARTA Zither and Cimbalom (1951) COOK01032

1035 Barrelhouse Piano (1950) COOK01035

1036 FRANK GLAZER Liszt's Paganini Variations (1952) COOK01036

1037 GRETA AND JOSEF DICHLER Two Famous European Pianos (1952) COOK01037

1038 SAMUEL SORIN Piano: The Romantic Fabric (1953) COOK01038

1039 LEONID HAMBRO A Perspective of Beethoven (1953) COOK01039

1040 Steel Band Clash Brute Force Steel Band, Big Shell Band, and Hell Gate Band (1955)

1041 JIMMY CARROLL PERCUSSION EMSEMBLE WITH RED CAMP Speed the Parting Guest (1953) and The Hot Tempered Clavichord (1957) COOK01041

1042 BRUTE FORCE STEEL BAND Brute Force Steel Band of Antigua with Big Shell Band (1955) COOK01042

1043 Three Rituals (1955) COOK01043

1044 The Compleat In Fidelytie: Sounds Natural and Unnatural (1956) COOK01044

1045 Drums of Trinidad (1956) COOK01045

1046 Champion Steel Bands of Trinidad The Highlanders, Southern All Stars, The Katzenjammers, others (1957) COOK01046

1047 THE KATZENJAMMERS The Enchanted Steelband (1957) COOK01047

1048 BRUTE FORCE STEEL BAND Music to Awaken the Ballroom Beast (1957) COOK01048

1049 BRUTE FORCE STEEL BAND Beauty and the Brute Force (1957) COOK01049

1050 MICHAEL CHESHIRE The Pipe Organ, volume 1 (1952) COOK01050

1051 MICHAEL CHESHIRE The Pipe Organ, volume 2 (1952) COOK01051

1052 REGINALD FOORT Percussion and Pedal, volume 3 (1952) COOK01052

1053 REGINALD FOORT Reginald Foort at the Mosque, volume 4 (1952) COOK01053

1054 REGINALD FOORT Organ in Symphony Hall, volume 1 (1954) COOK01054

1055 REGINALD FOORT Organ in Symphony Hall, volume 2 (1954) COOK01055

1056 ALFONSO VEGA NUÑEZ Morelia Cathedral Organ (1954) COOK01056

1057 REGINALD FOORT Foort Pops (1956) COOK01057

1058 REGINALD FOORT Waltz and Ballet: The Mosque Organ (1956) COOK01058

1059 REGINALD FOORT Intermission at the Mosque (1956) COOK01059

1060 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Brahms First Symphony (1954) COOK01060

1061 FESTIVAL CASALS ORCHESTRA Hector Campos Parsi (1958) COOK01061

1062 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Stravinsky, Villa Lobos, and Bach (1955) COOK01062

1063 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Debussy (1955) COOK01063

1064 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Masterpieces of the Dance (1955) COOK01064

1065 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Mozart Symphony No. 40 (1955) COOK01065

1066 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Masterpieces of the Theater (1955) COOK01066

1067 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Beethoven Symphony No. 5 (1955) COOK01067

1068 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON New Orchestral Society of Boston (1966) COOK01068

1069 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Haydn Symphony No. 100: Military (1966) COOK01069

1070 Rail Dynamics: Steam Locomotives and Train Sounds (1950-54) COOK01070

1071 Burlesque Uncensored (1954) COOK01071

1072 Jump-up Carnival: Calypso Tent (1956) COOK01072

1073 Holy Week: Malaga (Spain) (1961) COOK01073

1074 Benevolent Society for the Preservation of Ancient Rhymes and Limerix Limerick Party COOK01074

1075 Voices of the Sky: Propellers and Jets (1957) COOK01075

1077 Voice of the Storm (1957-58) COOK01077

1078 A Double Barrel Blast: High Cost of Dying and Computer Conversations (1962) COOK01078

1079 Tour of High Fidelity (1965) COOK01079

1080 TRIO LEONES Trio Leones of Cabrito (1954) COOK01080

1081 LaVERGNE SMITH LaVergne Smith (01014B plus) (1954) COOK01081

1082 Le Jazz Primitif from Trinidad Rupert Clemendore and John Buddy Williams (1961) COOK01082

1083 Jawbone of an Ass: Musica de Cuba (1955) COOK01083

1084 SID DAVILLA AND FREDDIE KOHLMAN'S BAND WITH RED CAMP Blowout at Mardi Gras (1955) COOK01084

1085 TONY ALMERICO'S PARISIAN ROOM BAND Clambake on Bourbon Street (1954-55) COOK01085

1086 WILLIE RODRIGUEZ The Drums of Rodriguez (1953) COOK01086

1087 RED CAMP Camp Inventions: Jazz Piano and Zither Music (1955) COOK01087

1088 RED CAMP Red Camp Horizontal (1954) COOK01088

1089 RED CAMP Red Camp Upright (1954) COOK01089

1090 ARTHUR BILLINGS HUNT Arthur Billings Hunt Sings Hymns (1950) COOK01090

1091 ARTHUR BILLINGS HUNT Hunt Sings Old Favorites (1950) COOK01091

1092 HUFSTADER SINGERS Hufstader Singers (1953) COOK01092

1094 REGINALD FOORT AND THE BOSTON CHORALE The Seven Last Words of Christ (1954) COOK01094

1095 ST. JOHN'S RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHOIR Russian Christmas (Spring Valley, New York) (1961) COOK01095

1096 ST. JOHN'S RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHOIR Russian Easter Midnight Service (Spring Valley, New York) (1961) COOK01096

1097 ST. JOHN'S RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHOIR St. John's Russian Orthodox Choir (1961) COOK01097

1101 THE INVADERS FROM ST. CROIX Steel Band in San Juan (1964) COOK01101

1102 10TH NAVAL DISTRICT STEEL BAND New Paths for Steel Band (1965) COOK01102

1120 BENITEZ-VALENCIA TRIO Ecuador (1958) COOK01120

1121 Island in the Moonlight Trio Los Rubies, Grupo Paquito Lopez Cruz, Las Hermanas Colón, Martita Cuadrado (1958) COOK01121

1122 Hellish Calypso King Fighter, The Mighty Bomber, others (1962) COOK01122

1123 Calypso Atrocities King Fighter, The Mighty Bomber, others COOK01123

1124 HAYWIRE MAC McCook LabsINTOCK Haywire Mac (1951) COOK01124

1125 LORD MYRTLE, CECIL MITCHEL, AND JAMES CONVERY Calypso Jamaica (1960) COOK01125

1126 THE MIGHTY SPARROW Sparrow in Hi-Fi (1963) COOK01126

1127 STEVE CAMACHO Folk and Other Songs (1962) COOK01127

1131 BRUCE PRINCE-JOSEPH The Pedal Harpsichord (1953) COOK01131

1132 SHINCHI YUIZE The Japanese Koto (1955) COOK01132

1133 RED CAMP The New Clavichord (1957) COOK01133

1134 LUIS BONFA Guitar in Brazil (1959) COOK01134

1140 Steelband Promenade Brute Force Steel Band, The Merrymakers, Southern All Stars (1958) COOK01140

1150 BILL FLOYD The King of Organs (1957) COOK01150

1151 REGINALD FOORT The Theatre Organ, volume 2 COOK01151

1152 REGINALD FOORT The Theatre Organ, volume 3 COOK01152

1154 REGINALD FOORT The Theatre Organ, volume 5 COOK01154

1155 REGINALD FOORT The Theatre Organ, volume 6 COOK01155

1156 REGINALD FOORT The Baroque Organ, volume 1 COOK01156

1157 REGINALD FOORT The Baroque Organ, volume 2 COOK01157

1169 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet, Serenade for Strings (1962) COOK01169

1180 Dance Calypso Johnny Gomez Band, Small Island Pride, Dictator, others (1956) COOK01180

1181 LIZZIE MILES Lizzie Miles Buglin' Sam DeKemel and the Parisian All Stars (1954-55) COOK01181

1182 LIZZIE MILES Moans and Blues Red Camp and Tony Almerico's All Stars (1956) COOK01182

1183 LIZZIE MILES Hot Songs My Mother Taught Me Red Camp, Tony Almerico's All Stars, Albert French (1956) COOK01183

1184 LIZZIE MILES Torchy Lullabies My Mother Sang Me Red Camp and Tony Almerico's All Stars (1956) COOK01184

1185 Calypso Kings and Pink Gin: Trinidad Carnival Tent Lord Melody, The Might Sparrow, others (1957) COOK01185

1186 ENSEMBLE AUX CALEBASSES Meringue (1958) COOK01186

1187 A Night at the Tropicoro Juan Luis, Oswaldo Seda, and Lito Peña Band (1959) COOK01187

1188 Dirty Jazz from Down South: Trinidadian Instrumentals (1958) COOK01188

1189 Calypso Exposed Lord Melody, Brute Force Steel Band, King Sparrow, The Mighty Cypher, and Skipper (1961) COOK01189

1280 Caribbean Limbo Music Rupert Clemendore Orchestra, Cyril Diaz Orchestra, others COOK01280

1281 Songs from the Garden of Love Jefferson-Jones' Orchestra COOK01281

1282 Italian Moom Jefferson-Jones' Orchestra COOK01282

2004 Tour of Stereo (1958) COOK02004

2066 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Masterpieces of the Dance, volume 3 COOK02066

2070 Aboard a Fast Express / Jet Dynamics COOK02070

4057 REGINALD FOORT The Theater Organ COOK04057

4069 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Hayden Military Symphony COOK04069

5001 American Storytellers, Volume 1 Harry Wass, Master Marriner's Association (1952) COOK05001

5002 K.C. DOUGLAS K.C. Douglas (1952) COOK05002

5003 Caribeana: Hidden Music from the Caribbean (1949) COOK05003

5004 TIRORO Tiroro: Haitian Drummer (1948) COOK05004

5005 RED CAMP Camp Has a Ball (1954) COOK05005

5006 AL BRUNDAGE Square Dance (1951) COOK05006

5007 Mexican Marimba Band (1954) COOK05007

5008 American Storytellers, Volume 2 John Hawley Cook (1954) COOK05008

5009 American Storytellers, Volume 3 Captain Charles A. Chace, Matthew Richards (1954) COOK05009

5010 Calliope, Carousel, and Hand Organ (1953) COOK05010

5011 Voice of the Sea (1954) COOK05011

5012 Earthquake (1953) COOK05012

5013 Ionosphere (1955) COOK05013

5014 Mariachi Music of Mexico (1954) COOK05014

5015 Mexican Firecrackers (1951) COOK05015

5016 Calypso Lore and Legend (1956) COOK05016

5017 Bamboo-tamboo, Bongo, and Belair (1956) COOK05017

5018 East Indian Drums of Tunapuna, Trinidad (1956) COOK05018

5019 ALONZO CRUZ Blind Troubadour of Oaxaca (1956) COOK05019

5020 Epilogue to the String Band Tradition (1956) COOK05020

5022 ABCs of Hi Fi COOK05022

5025 BUCKMINSTER FULLER Buckminster Fuller Speaks His Mind COOK05025

5050 NORMAN BROKENSHIRE Radio Moscow and the Western Hemisphere COOK05050

5051 FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT The Four Inaugural Addresses COOK05051

6061 BUCKMINSTER FULLER The Clock Is Stopping COOK06061

8374 BUCKMINSTER FULLER Dymaxion Ditties: Buckminster Fuller Sings COOK08374

10001 Sound Effects, volume 1 COOK10001

10002 Sound Effects, volume 2 COOK10002

10003 Sound Effects, volume 3 COOK10003

10120 Music Boxes, Carousels, and Hand Organs (01012 and 05010) (1950-53) COOK10120

10248 The Voice of Mexico Gustavo Zepoli, Trio Leones (01024 and 01080) (1954) COOK10248

10251 SEAN McGONIGAL AND ST. COLUMCILLE'S UNITED GAELIC PIPE BAND Kilts on Parade (01025 plus solos) (1950-53) COOK10251

10271 CARLOS MONTOYA AND THE JOSE GRECO TROUPE Fiesta Flamenca (selections from 01027 and 01028) (1952) COOK10271

10289 CARLOS MONTOYA Montoya (selections from 01028 plus) (1952) COOK10289

10301 EDWARD AND JOSEPH VITO The Harp (selections from 01030 and 01031 plus) (1951-54) COOK10301

10326 Cafe Continental Ruth Welcome, Dick Marta, and Anita Ast (selections from 01026 and 01032) (1951-52) COOK10326

10350 Nickelodion and Calliope (selections from 01035 and 05010) (1950-53) COOK10350

10500 REGINALD FOORT The Theater Organ COOK10500

10501 MICHAEL CHESHIRE Pipe Organ in the Mosque (selections from 01050 and 01051) (1952) COOK10501

10523 REGINALD FOORT Percussion and Pedal (selections from 01052 and 01053) (1952) COOK10523

10545 REGINALD FOORT The Organ at Symphony Hall (01054 plus) (1954) COOK10545

10579 REGINALD FOORT Foort Pops (selections from 01057 and 01058) (1956) COOK10579

10646 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Tempo Vivace: Symphonic Masterpieces of Dance & Theater (selections from 01064 and 01066) (1955-56) COOK010646

10657 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Two Classical Symphonies: Mozart Symphony No. 40, Beethoven Symphony No. 5 (01065 and 01067) (1955) COOK10657

10659 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Two Classical Symphonies: Mozart Symphony No. 40, Haydn Symphony No. 100 (01065 and 01069) (1955-56) COOK10659

10683 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Modern Orchestral Textures (01068 and 01063) (1955) COOK10683

10850 RUPERT Cook LabsEMENDORE BAND Le Jazz Trinidad COOK10850

10867 Before and After Willie Rodriguez (selections from 01086 and 05007) (1953-54) COOK010867

10889 RED CAMP Horizontal & Upright & Downright & Dunright (01088 and 01089) (1954) COOK10889

10890 The Castiliane Johnny Gomez Band, John Buddy Williams Band, Girl Pat Steel Band, And Grand Curacaye String Orchestra (1956) COOK10890

11312 BRUCE PRINCE-JOSEPH AND HUFSTADER SINGERS The Forgotten Pedal Harpsichord and Hufstader Singers (01131 and 01092) (1953) COOK11312

11815 TONY ALMERICO'S PARISIAN ROOM BAND AND LIZZIE MILES Clambake on Bourbon Street (1954-55) COOK11815

50130 Tour of Cook Labs COOK50130

70889 RED CAMP Popular Piano and Combo COOK70889

80134 LUIZ BONFA Waterfall: Guitar COOK80134

80417 MARIMBA ORCHESTRA Waterfall: Children's Music COOK80417

80680 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Waterfall: Symphonic COOK80680

XX1 Audio Follies Sampler COOK00XX1

XX2 Calypso Jazz Sampler COOK00XX2

Series 10 Cook Series 10 COOK_Series10

Series 30 Cook Series 30 COOK_Series30

Series 60 Cook Series 60 COOK_Series60

Series 70 Cook Series 70 COOK_Series70

Series 80 Cook Series 80 COOK_Series80

Series 90 Cook Series 90 COOK_Series90

Series 100 Cook Series 100 COOK_Series100

Series 300 Cook Series 300 COOK_Series300

Series 301 Cook Series 301 COOK_Series301

Series 302 Cook Series 302 COOK_Series302

Series 303 Cook Series 303 COOK_Series303
Provenance:
The Smithsonian Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections acquired the Cook Labs Records in 1990, when Emory and Martha Cook donated their company records to the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Anthony Seeger, then Director of Smithsonian Folkways Records, received a call from Mr. Cook in the summer of 1989 offering to donate the Cook label to the Smithsonian. Dr. Seeger visited him in August of that year to view the contents of the collection, and the Smithsonian received custody of the collection in May 1990. In return for the donation from Mr. Cook, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage agreed to keep the record titles available and to store the papers in the archives.
Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at (202) 633-7322 or rinzlerarchives@si.edu for additional information.
Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Topic:
Popular music -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Wit and humor  Search this
Calypso (Music)  Search this
Folk music -- Caribbean Area  Search this
Folk music  Search this
Sounds  Search this
Music -- 18th century  Search this
Folk music -- United States  Search this
Jazz -- Louisiana -- New Orleans  Search this
Jazz  Search this
Accordion music  Search this
Airplane sounds  Search this
Audio equipment industry  Search this
Blues (Music)  Search this
Bonfá, Luiz  Search this
Calypso (Music)  Search this
Burlesque (Theater)  Search this
Calliope music  Search this
Calypso (Music)--Trinidad and Tobago  Search this
Campos Parsi, Héctor, 1922-  Search this
Catholicism  Search this
Christianity  Search this
Christmas  Search this
Cimbalom and zither music  Search this
Clavichord  Search this
Clemendore, Rupert  Search this
Drum  Search this
Genre/Form:
Audiotapes
Photographic prints
Business records
Artifacts
Contracts
Phonograph records
Correspondence
Christmas music
Citation:
Cook Labs records, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.COOK
See more items in:
Cook Labs records
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-cfch-cook
Online Media:

Banjo - accession Leroy "Buster" Berry banjo

Collection Source:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Collection Collector:
Odell, Scott, 1935-  Search this
Container:
Box 11, Folder 37
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1996 - 1997
Scope and Contents:
File contains correspondence with Brenda McNeary from "18th and Vine," including the accession sheet and photos of a banjo used by Leroy "Berry" Buster, who was part of the Benny Moten Band in the early 20th century.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at 202-633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact the archives staff for information.
Collection Citation:
J. Scott Odell folk music collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
J. Scott Odell folk music collection
J. Scott Odell folk music collection / Series 8: Accruals / 8.5: Music Instrument Research
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-odel-ref822

When the Spirit Moves: African American Dance in History and Art audiovisual records

Creator:
Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture  Search this
Names:
Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture  Search this
Extent:
9 sound recordings (9 audio cassette sound recordings)
0.1 Linear feet (1 box)
Culture:
African American  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
Place:
Africa, West -- History -- Exhibitions
Africa, Central
Date:
circa 2000-2001
Scope and Contents note:
Audiovisual materials created for an exhibition on African American Dance, held at the Arts and Industries Building December 14, 2000 - June 1, 2001. More than 300 paintings, photographs, sculpture, and archival objects -- some dating to the early 1600s -- are used to trace African American dance from its roots in west and central Africa through the 20th century. On view are masks, robes, drums and musical instruments from Africa, along with works by such artists as Richmond Barthe, Romare Bearden, John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Archibald Motley, Sam Gilliam, and Howardena Pindell. Dancers featured include the Nicholas Brothers, Josephine Baker, Carmen de Lavallade, and Alvin Ailey. Organized by the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, Wilberforce, Ohio. Sponsored by the Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture. This collection of audiovisual records contains sound recordings of the exhibition script.
Restrictions:
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Some items are not accessible due to obsolete format and playback machinery restrictions. Please contact the archivist at acmarchives@si.edu.
Topic:
Dance  Search this
African American dance  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Citation:
When the Spirit Moves: African American Dance in History and Art audiovisual records, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
ACMA.03-061
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-acma-03-061

Minutes

Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Board of Regents  Search this
Extent:
8.70 cu. ft. (9 document boxes) (7 12x17 boxes) (1 16x20 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Manuscripts
Date:
1846-1995
Descriptive Entry:
These records are the official minutes of the Board. They are compiled at the direction of the Secretary of the Smithsonian, who is also secretary to the Board, after approval by the Regents' Executive Committee and by the Regents themselves. The minutes are edited, not a verbatim account of proceedings. For reasons unknown, there are no manuscript minutes for the period from 1857 through 1890; and researchers must rely on printed minutes published in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution instead. Minutes are transferred regularly from the Secretary's Office to the Archives. Minutes less than 15 years old are closed to researchers. Indexes exist for the period from 1907 to 1946 and can be useful.
Historical Note:
The Smithsonian Institution was created by authority of an Act of Congress approved August 10, 1846. The Act entrusted direction of the Smithsonian to a body called the Establishment, composed of the President; the Vice President; the Chief Justice of the United States; the secretaries of State, War, Navy, Interior, and Agriculture; the Attorney General; and the Postmaster General. In fact, however, the Establishment last met in 1877, and control of the Smithsonian has always been exercised by its Board of Regents. The membership of the Regents consists of the Vice President and the Chief Justice of the United States; three members each of the Senate and House of Representatives; two citizens of the District of Columbia; and seven citizens of the several states, no two from the same state. (Prior to 1970 the category of Citizen Regents not residents of Washington consisted of four members). By custom the Chief Justice is Chancellor. The office was at first held by the Vice President. However, when Millard Fillmore succeeded to the presidency on the death of Zachary Taylor in 1851, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney was chosen in his stead. The office has always been filled by the Chief Justice since that time.

The Regents of the Smithsonian have included distinguished Americans from many walks of life. Ex officio members (Vice President) have been: Spiro T. Agnew, Chester A. Arthur, Allen W. Barkley, John C. Breckenridge, George Bush, Schuyler Colfax, Calvin Coolidge, Charles Curtis, George M. Dallas, Charles G. Dawes, Charles W. Fairbanks, Millard Fillmore, Gerald R. Ford, John N. Garner, Hannibal Hamlin, Thomas A. Hendricks, Garret A. Hobart, Hubert H. Humphrey, Andrew Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson, William R. King, Thomas R. Marshall, Walter F. Mondale, Levi P. Morton, Richard M. Nixon, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, James S. Sherman, Adlai E. Stevenson, Harry S. Truman, Henry A. Wallace, William A. Wheeler, Henry Wilson.

Ex officio members (Chief Justice) have been: Roger B. Taney, Salmon P. Chase, Nathan Clifford, Morrison R. Waite, Samuel F. Miller, Melville W. Fuller, Edward D. White, William Howard Taft, Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan F. Stone, Fred M. Vinson, Earl Warren, Warren E. Burger.

Regents on the part of the Senate have been: Clinton P. Anderson, Newton Booth, Sidney Breese, Lewis Cass, Robert Milledge Charlton, Bennet Champ Clark, Francis M. Cockrell, Shelby Moore Cullom, Garrett Davis, Jefferson Davis, George Franklin Edmunds, George Evans, Edwin J. Garn, Walter F. George, Barry Goldwater, George Gray, Hannibal Hamlin, Nathaniel Peter Hill, George Frisbie Hoar, Henry French Hollis, Henry M. Jackson, William Lindsay, Henry Cabot Lodge, Medill McCormick, James Murray Mason, Samuel Bell Maxey, Robert B. Morgan, Frank E. Moss, Claiborne Pell, George Wharton Pepper, David A. Reed, Leverett Saltonstall, Hugh Scott, Alexander H. Smith, Robert A. Taft, Lyman Trumbull, Wallace H. White, Jr., Robert Enoch Withers.

Regents on the part of the House of Representatives have included: Edward P. Boland, Frank T. Bow, William Campbell Breckenridge, Overton Brooks, Benjamin Butterworth, Clarence Cannon, Lucius Cartrell, Hiester Clymer, William Colcock, William P. Cole, Jr., Maurice Connolly, Silvio O. Conte, Edward E. Cox, Edward H. Crump, John Dalzell, Nathaniel Deering, Hugh A. Dinsmore, William English, John Farnsworth, Scott Ferris, Graham Fitch, James Garfield, Charles L. Gifford, T. Alan Goldsborough, Frank L. Greene, Gerry Hazleton, Benjamin Hill, Henry Hilliard, Ebenezer Hoar, William Hough, William M. Howard, Albert Johnson, Leroy Johnson, Joseph Johnston, Michael Kirwan, James T. Lloyd, Robert Luce, Robert McClelland, Samuel K. McConnell, Jr., George H. Mahon, George McCrary, Edward McPherson, James R. Mann, George Perkins Marsh, Norman Y. Mineta, A. J. Monteague, R. Walton Moore, Walter H. Newton, Robert Dale Owen, James Patterson, William Phelps, Luke Poland, John Van Schaick Lansing Pruyn, B. Carroll Reece, Ernest W. Roberts, Otho Robards Singleton, Frank Thompson, Jr., John M. Vorys, Hiram Warner, Joseph Wheeler.

Citizen Regents have been: David C. Acheson, Louis Agassiz, James B. Angell, Anne L. Armstrong, William Backhouse Astor, J. Paul Austin, Alexander Dallas Bache, George Edmund Badger, George Bancroft, Alexander Graham Bell, James Gabriel Berrett, John McPherson Berrien, Robert W. Bingham, Sayles Jenks Bowen, William G. Bowen, Robert S. Brookings, John Nicholas Brown, William A. M. Burden, Vannevar Bush, Charles F. Choate, Jr., Rufus Choate, Arthur H. Compton, Henry David Cooke, Henry Coppee, Samuel Sullivan Cox, Edward H. Crump, James Dwight Dana, Harvey N. Davis, William Lewis Dayton, Everette Lee Degolyer, Richard Delafield, Frederic A. Delano, Charles Devens, Matthew Gault Emery, Cornelius Conway Felton, Robert V. Fleming, Murray Gell-Mann, Robert F. Goheen, Asa Gray, George Gray, Crawford Hallock Greenwalt, Nancy Hanks, Caryl Parker Haskins, Gideon Hawley, John B. Henderson, John B. Henderson, Jr., A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Gardner Greene Hubbard, Charles Evans Hughes, Carlisle H. Humelsine, Jerome C. Hunsaker, William Preston Johnston, Irwin B. Laughlin, Walter Lenox, Augustus P. Loring, John Maclean, William Beans Magruder, John Walker Maury, Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, John C. Merriam, R. Walton Moore, Roland S. Morris, Dwight W. Morrow, Richard Olney, Peter Parker, Noah Porter, William Campbell Preston, Owen Josephus Roberts, Richard Rush, William Winston Seaton, Alexander Roby Shepherd, William Tecumseh Sherman, Otho Robards Singleton, Joseph Gilbert Totten, John Thomas Towers, Frederic C. Walcott, Richard Wallach, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., James E. Webb, James Clarke Welling, Andrew Dickson White, Henry White, Theodore Dwight Woolsey.
Topic:
Museums -- Administration  Search this
Museum trustees  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 1, Smithsonian Institution. Board of Regents, Minutes
Identifier:
Record Unit 1
See more items in:
Minutes
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0001
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Online Media:

Departmental Records

Creator::
Renwick Gallery  Search this
Extent:
25 cu. ft. (25 record storage boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Manuscripts
Clippings
Brochures
Exhibition catalogs
Architectural drawings
Floor plans
Black-and-white photographs
Color transparencies
Color photographs
Black-and-white negatives
Color negatives
Date:
1957, 1961-1989, 1997-2003
Descriptive Entry:
This accession consists of records documenting the activities of the Renwick Gallery during the tenures of Lloyd E. Herman, Director, 1971-1986; Michael W. Monroe, Curator-in-Charge, 1986-1995; and Kenneth R. Trapp, Curator-in-Charge, 1995-2003. Topics covered include art organizations; craft fairs and craft schools; correspondence with museums within and outside of the United States and with artists; the museum shop; exhibitions; repair and renovation of the Renwick Gallery building; special events; and lectures.

Exhibitions documented include: The Object As Poet; Craft Multiples; Americas: The Decorative Arts in Latin America in the Era of the Revolution; Costumes from Arab World; The Decorative Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright; Design Is. . .; The Grand Renwick Souvenir Show; Ryijy Rugs from Finland: 200 Years of a Textile Art; Irena Brynner: Jewelry Since 1950; A Feast of Color: Corpus Christi Dance Costumes from Ecuador; Grass; Arne Jacobsen: Danish Architect and Designer; An Interior Decorated: Joyce Kozloff; The Designs of Raymond Loewy; Glass by Dale Chihuly: The Cylinder and Basket Series; Signs of Life: Symbols in the American City; Ronald Pearson: Silver and Gold; Bo'Jou Neefee! Profiles of Canadian Indian Art; French Folk Art; Figure and Fantasy; A Modern Consciousness: D. J. DePree and Florence Knoll; New Stained Glass; Belgian Lace; Man Made Mobile: The Western Saddle; Contemporary Textile Art from Austria; The New Fabric Surface: Printed, Painted, and Dyed; 200 Years of Royal Copenhagen Porcelain; Boxes and Bowls: Decorated Containers by the 19th Century Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian Indian Artists; Contemporary Nigerian Art: Craftsmen from Oshogbo; Painted Weavings by Lia Cook and Neda Alhilali; Twills With Titles: H. Theodore Hallman, Weaver Kenneth G. Mills, Poet; Skoogfors, 20th Century Goldsmith; The Woven and Graphic Art of Anni Albers; Material Evidence: New Color Techniques in Handmade Furniture; Masterworks of Louis Comfort Tiffany; Bound to Vary: Billy Budd, Sailor; The Boat Show: Fantastic Vessels, Fictional Voyages; Treasures from the Land, Twelve New Zealand Craftsmen and their Native Materials; Harvey K. Littleton Retrospective Exhibition; Celebration: A World of Art and Ritual; Dan Dailey: Glass, 1972-1987; Material Evidence: New Color Techniques in Handmade Furniture; Lost and Found Traditions: Native American Art 1965-1985; Clay Revisions: Plate, Cup, Vase; American Art Pottery; Stephen de Staebler: The Figure; The Goldsmith; Chicago Furniture; The Tibetan Yak in Art and Craft; Contemporary Australian Ceramics; Edward Colonna; Scandinavian Modern 1880-1980; The Animal Image: Contemporary Objects and the Beast; William Harper: Recent Works in Enamel; Georg Jensen, Silversmithy: 77 Artists, 75 Years; The Harmonious Craft: American Musical Instruments; Cynthia Schira: New Work; Lafayette Square, 1963-1983: Architecture, Preservation, and the Presidency; Quilts from the Indiana Amish; Russia: The Land, The People, 1840-1910; Frank Lloyd Wright and the Johnson Wax Building: Creating a Corporate Cathedral; Fanfare: Fans from the 18th Century - 20th Century, Parts I, II, III; Architecture in Silver; The Art of Turned Wood Bowls; The Flexible Medium: Art Fabric from the Museum's Collection; Threads: Seven American Artists and Their Miniature Textile Pictures; Paint on Wood: Decorated American Furniture Since the 17th Century; Venini Glass; American Art Deco; New Glass; American Porcelain: New Expressions in an Ancient Art; Good as Gold: Alternative Materials in American Jewelry; Newcomb Pottery; Clay for Walls; Russel Wright: American Designer; and A Century of Ceramics in the U.S., 1878-1978.

Some of these materials date from the time when the Smithsonian American Art Museum was known as the National Collection of Fine Arts and the National Museum of American Art. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, trip reports, brochures, staff meeting notes, artists' surveys, images, exhibition catalogs, checklists, postcards, invitations, brochures, exhibition labels, research materials, architectural drawings, floor plans, and clippings.
Topic:
Museums -- Administration  Search this
Art museums  Search this
Art museum directors  Search this
Art museum curators  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Lectures and lecturing  Search this
Craft festivals  Search this
Buildings -- Repair and reconstruction  Search this
Special events  Search this
Museum stores  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Clippings
Brochures
Exhibition catalogs
Architectural drawings
Floor plans
Black-and-white photographs
Color transparencies
Color photographs
Black-and-white negatives
Color negatives
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 10-128, Renwick Gallery, Departmental Records
Identifier:
Accession 10-128
See more items in:
Departmental Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-fa10-128

Art Thieme Folk Music Slides

Creator:
Thieme, Art, 1941-2015  Search this
Extent:
459 Slides
0.3 Cubic feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Slides
Photographs
Chromogenic processes
Slides (photographs)
Date:
circa 1960s-1990
Summary:
Art Thieme was a noted folk singer who recorded many traditional ballads and folk songs from midwestern states. This collection is a series of 459 color slides documenting folk musicians and folk music, in both concert settings and informal portraiture, all taken by the donor.
Scope and Contents:
459 35mm color slides documenting folk musicians and folk music, in both concert settings and informal portraiture, all taken by the donor, Art Thieme, a noted folksinger. Subjects include such well-known performers as Stephen Wade, the New Lost City Ramblers, Mike Seeger, Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Jack Elliott, Ike Everly, B.B. King, Dave Edmonson, Ray Harris, Kenny Baker, Tom Paxton, John Hammond, Bill Monroe, Justin Bishop, Steve Goodman, Cathy Fink, Wes Asbury, Ron F. Kirkpatrick, Doc Watson, Jim Kweskin, and Lightnin' Hopkins, and other notables such as oral historian Studs Terkel. The collection also contains a CD with Thieme's recordings and a folder of newspaper clippings, a program, and a map of local folk singers across the country. The slides are unarranged, but most slides have names, places, and dates.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into one series.
Biographical / Historical:
Art Thieme was born on July 9, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. He becamea noted folk singer. He launched his career at a Hyde Park, Chicago club, the Limelight, in 1959 and went on to perform for many years at a coffeehouse called No Exit, also in Chicago. Touring all over the country, he photographed and recorded many folk singers and concerts, documented in this collection. At the end of his career, he performed on the steamboats Julia Belle Swain, Twilight on the Mississippi, and Illinois Rivers. He has recorded traditional folk songs rendered by himself for Folk Legacy Records. Thieme died on May 26, 2015.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Art Thieme in 2012.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical instruments -- 20th century  Search this
Concerts  Search this
Folk music -- United States  Search this
Folk musicians  Search this
Folk songs -- United States  Search this
Folk music -- Appalachian Region, Southern  Search this
Folk festivals  Search this
Folk music  Search this
Musicians -- 1950-2000  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- Color transparencies -- 1950-2000
Chromogenic processes
Slides (photographs) -- 1950-2000
Citation:
Art Theime Folk Music Slides, circa 1960s-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Michael Cuscuna.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1239
See more items in:
Art Thieme Folk Music Slides
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1239
Online Media:

William J. Lenz Piano Tuning Collection

Creator:
Everett Piano Company  Search this
Hammacher, Schlemmer & Company  Search this
Chickering & Sons Piano Company  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Wood & Brooks Company  Search this
Otto R. Trefz, Jr., & Company  Search this
Piano Parts Mfg. Co.  Search this
Lynn & Healy Company  Search this
Lang, C. H., & Company  Search this
Wurlitzer Company  Search this
Collector:
Lenz, William J. (piano technician)  Search this
Names:
American Guild of Piano Tuners  Search this
American Society of Piano Technicians  Search this
National Association of Piano Tuners  Search this
Extent:
0.25 Cubic feet (2 boxes, 1 oversized folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Catalogs
Manufacturers' catalogs
Clippings
Technical drawings
Pamphlets
Advertisements
Correspondence
Date:
ca. 1903-1955.
Summary:
Advertisements, catalogs, repair manuals, union materials, and technical drawings related to pianos and piano tuning (companies and organizations listed below). While providing a window into a profession that spans both science and music, this collection contains information concerning economic changes, advertising, trade associations, and technical advances.
Scope and Contents:
The William Lenx Piano Tuning Collection contains advertisements, catalogs, repair manuals, union materials, and technical drawings related to pianos and piano tuning. The collection is divided into five series. These series are William Lenx, Piano Tuners Societies and Associations, Piano Tuning and Playing, Manufacturers and Distributors of Parts, Supplies and Tools, and Manufacturers of Pianos.

Included in the collection are a number of manuscript technical drawings by Lenz of the mechanics of trackers organ from 1925. The piano supple catalogs date from c. 1903 to 1952 and document changing prices fro parts and the development of piano technology. The Piano Tuners Society and association publications and correspondence include materials form the American Guild of Piano Tuners, the National Association of Piano tuners, and the American Society of Piano Technicians (also known as the American Society of Piano Tuner-Technicians).

While providing a window into a profession that spanned the fields of both science and music, the William Lenx Collection contains information concerning economic changed, advertising, trade associations, and technical advancement.
Arrangement:
Divided into 5 series.

Series 1: William Lenz, 1925-1955

Series 2: Piano Tuners' Societies and Associations, ca. 1914-1954

Series 3: Piano Tuning and Playing, 1927-1953

Series 4: Manufacturers and Distributors of Parts and Tools, circa 1903-1952

Series 5: Manufacturers of Pianos, 1946-1955
Biographical / Historical:
Born sometime before 1890, Lenz spent most if not all of his life in Philadelphia, Pa., where he worked as a piano tuner and technician. Judging from materials in the collection, it is likely that he was a member of the National Association of Piano Tuners, and later the American Society of Piano Technicians. He probably died in the mid-1950s.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Pratt-Read Company Records, 1893-1990 (NMAH.AC.320)

Steinway Piano Company Collection, 1850-1906, 1953 (NMAH.AC.0178)

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Series: Pianos (NMAH.AC.0060)

Wood & Brooks Company Records, c. 1890-c. 1958 (NMAH.AC.0457)

Wurlitzer Company Records, 1864-1984(NMAH.AC.0468).
Provenance:
Collection donated by University of Pennsylvania,through The Curtis Organ Restoration Society, May 24, 1994.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research use on site.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Trade unions -- Musicians -- 1900-1960  Search this
Trade and professional associations -- 1900-1960  Search this
Organ (Musical instrument) -- 1900-1960  Search this
Repairing  Search this
Piano -- tuning -- 1900-1960  Search this
Piano -- Maintenance and repair -- 1900-1960  Search this
Genre/Form:
Catalogs -- 1900-1960
Manufacturers' catalogs -- 1900-1960
Clippings -- 20th century
Technical drawings -- 1900-1960
Pamphlets -- 1900-1960
Advertisements -- 20th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Citation:
William J. Lenz Piano Tuning Collection, ca. 1903-1955, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0511
See more items in:
William J. Lenz Piano Tuning Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0511

George E. "Mello" and Neva Satterlee McNally Vaudeville Collection

Collector:
McNally, George E.  Search this
McNally, Neva Satterlee, -1909  Search this
Donor:
LaClair, Beatrice M.  Search this
Names:
Browning, Frances H. "Peaches", 1910-1956  Search this
Tovell, Albert  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Manuscripts
Sheet music
Photographs
Date:
circa 1889-1964
Summary:
Collection consists of photographs, commercially published sheet music, and original music manuscripts from the McNallys' vaudeville careers. Materials include minstrel show and blackface material; photo of Albert Tovell, once the master of ceremonies for Frances H. "Peaches" Browning; and a photograph of "Gov. Jordan," a blackface female impersonator.
Scope and Contents:
Series 1: Original Music Manuscripts/Arrangements contains original manuscripts used in the Hokem is Hokem act orchestrated by Neva Satterlee Mello. There are parts scores for five musical instruments and various instruments have additional music scores as well for individual selections. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series 2: Commercial Sheet Music contains commercially printed sheet music, mostly from the vaudeville era with a few exceptions such as Hello Dolly and others. The series contains some well worn sheet music selections, some of which were presumably used by Neva's orchestra or the Hokem is Hokem troupe. One piece, Lily of the Valley, has been sewn along its spine by a sewing machine to help keep it together. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series 3: Photographs contains photographs of George Mello and some of the Mello's/McNally's vaudeville contemporaries. Of special interest is one photograph of a man dressed in drag and blackface and a photograph of Albert Tovell, one time master of ceremonies for the somewhat infamous Frances H. Browning aka Peaches Browning (1910-1956). There is also another photograph of two men dressed in blackface.

Series 4: Memorabilia contains the music covers for the Hokem is Hokem act and one publication.
Arrangement:
Collection is divided into four series.

Series 1: Original Sheet Music

Series 2: Commercial Sheet Music

Series 3: Photographs

Series 4: Memorabilia
Biographical / Historical:
According to family history, Neva Satterlee at the age of seventeen formed an orchestra and was its leader for many years. At one time she was under contract with Charles Hoyt Productions, probably the same Hoyt of Morgan & Hoyt's who boasted a Ladies Band and Imperial Singing Orchestra on their bill. She was an accomplished musician and actress. Neva married George McNally and they took the stage surname of Mello. Neva did all the musical arrangements as she was the only one of the pair who could read music. Their home base was the town of Fulton, New York. The couple remained on the vaudeville circuit as entertainers until Neva's death during child birth in 1909. The couple had at least one child, Angeline McNally. George continued to work in vaudeville. The act was under the direction of George Mello and Eddie Shaw. The act, titled Hokem is Hokem, was a minstrel, musical revue style show and apparently consisted of at least five musical selections; the opening Hot-Time, followed by He's Goin' to Hab a Hot Time Bye an' Bye termed (the greatest coon song ever published), Tall Girl (arranged by Neva Satterlee Mello), Snaps, and The Man Behind the Plow. The act's band consisted of a piano, violin, cornet, trombone, drums, clarinet, and flute but may have included other instruments. According to family tradition, Mello ceased his vaudeville career by 1928.

The vaudeville tradition began in the aftermath of the Civil War when numerous minstrel companies began touring the country in minstrel shows presenting songs and comedy in an easily accessible format. Vaudeville became the staple American family entertainment during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tony Pastor gave the first big time vaudeville show in New York City in 1881 and by 1919 there were reportedly 900 vaudeville theatres in the country. Featuring a collection of sketches, short plays, popular songs, and simple comedy routines, the show often featured minstrel-type acts presented by actors in blackface. With the influx of immigrants in the latter 19th century, the tradition continued but was changed by European and ethnic influences. Booking agents operated in the major cities of New York, Chicago and San Francisco promoting and developing their own Vaudeville Acircuits. Booking agents booked small troupes of actors, specialty acts and musical performers to tour the circuit traveling from one town's vaudeville house to the next. (Encarta Encyclopedia, IATSE)
Provenance:
Collection donated to the Archives Center by the granddaughter of the McNallys, Beatrice M. LaClair, in 2000.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Rights situation uncertain. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Blackface entertainers  Search this
Female impersonators  Search this
Minstrel shows -- 1900-1960  Search this
Musicians  Search this
Vaudeville  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Sheet music -- Manuscripts -- 19th century
Sheet music
Photographs -- 1890-1900
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- 1910-1930
Citation:
George E. "Mello" and Neva Satterlee McNally Vaudeville Collection, 1889-1964, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Beatrice M. LaClair.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0760
See more items in:
George E. "Mello" and Neva Satterlee McNally Vaudeville Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0760
Online Media:

Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music

Creator:
DeVincent, Sam, 1918-1997  Search this
Names:
WOWO (radio station).  Search this
Extent:
260 Cubic feet (approximately 1244 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Lithographs
Sound recordings
Phonograph records
Papers
Photographic prints
Sheet music
Photographs
Date:
1790-1980s
Summary:
Primarily published sheet music, plus some related ephemera. Originally included 781 boxes of American sheet music and assorted clippings, articles, photographs, etc.; also 93 boxes of 33-1/3 RPM phonograph records, 30 boxes of 45 RPM records, and 20 boxes of 78 RPM records
Scope and Contents:
Sam DeVincent organized his collection topically and the present organization is built upon his basic system. In the course of processing this huge collection organized into hundreds of topics, a set of more encompassing topical headings have been developed. For example, the series designation "transportation" gathers together DeVincent's topical headings of "automobiles," "railroads," "bicycles," etc. Each of these larger, conceptual, headings is considered a series and is given a series number. Transportation is series number 1. Each series will be described separately and a composite index will lead researchers into the appropriate series. Terminology is consistent with Library of Congress Subject Headings whenever possible.

Within each series, the topical headings used by DeVincent, or a heading of similar level and type, receive sub-series numbers. For example, "railroads" is part of series 1, transportation, and is given the sub-series number 7. Therefore, "railroads" is designated as 1.7.

All of the sheet music has been placed in folders (from 1 to 45 items per folder) and given a letter of the alphabet. Within each folder, the music is arranged alphabetically by song title. A researcher searching the index for the song Wabash Cannonball (note that very few song titles are indexed) would be directed to "1.7 V." The researcher would then turn to the railroad section of the container list (1.7) and look for folder V and read the folder description.

Most of the sheet music is either a solo piano or a piano/vocal arrangement. There are very few orchestral or band parts and very little music for instruments other than piano. When the word "instrumental" is used in folder descriptions and titles, the music referred to has no lyrics and is for solo piano. Music for other instruments or ensemble parts will be mentioned explicitly in the folder description and usually indexed. Also, duplicates have not been kept in the file unless the sheet is particularly old or fragile (in which case one duplicate was kept if available). Sheets with slightly different covers, different ink colors, or variations in advertising matter are not considered duplicates.

In addition to the sheet music, the collection includes ephemera files corresponding to each series. These files contain items such as lists of sheet music, DeVincent's correspondence with other collectors, wire service printouts received at the radio station where he worked, his notes to be used for cross-indexing ("see also" references), and miscellaneous items relating to the topic. Some materials kept by DeVincent have not been incorporated into the ephemera files, for example most of the popular magazines, Fort Wayne Indiana newspaper clippings about non-musical topics, and some advertising matter.

The ephemera files are numbered with the same series and sub-series numbers as the sheet music. For example bicycles are 1.3 in both the music and ephemera files. A description of the ephemera file follows the sheet music container list. It is followed by an index to the entire series. Many topical headings not directly concerned with the topic of the series are indexed (for example "Women, images of" is an important topic in the bicycle sub-series). The author of each series description made the decisions about topics for indexing.
Series 1: Transportation:
Dates -- circa 1800-1980

Contents -- Series 1: Transportation contains circa 3,900 pieces of sheet music documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards transportation technology in the United States.1.1: Aeronautics1.2: Automobiles1.3: Bicycles1.4: Boats and Boating1.5: Horse-Drawn Vehicles1.6: Motorcycles1.7: Railroads1.8: Urban Transportation1.9 Ephemera
Series 2: Armed Forces:
Dates -- circa 1810-1980

Contents -- Series 2: Armed Forces contains circa 3,400 pieces of sheet music and song folios documenting the military history of the United States; there are only a handful of foreign imprints. 2.1: Pre-Civil War2.2: Civil War2.3: Pre-World War I2.4: World War I2.5: World War II2.6: Post -World War2.7: Naval History2.8: Marine CorpsEphemera
Series 3: African-American Music:
Dates -- circa 1828-1980

Contents -- Series 3: African-American Music contains circa 7,800 pieces of sheet music and folios dating from the 1820s to the 1980s; most of the material dates from after 1890. 3.1: Minstrel Shows and Blackface Entertainers3.2: Uncle Tom's Cabin3.3: African-American Folk-songs and Spirituals3.4: Songs about African-American/Vocal Ragtime3.5: Instrumental and Ragtime Music3.6: Ragtime Composers and Publishers3.7: Blues and Jazz Music3.8: Composers and PerformersEphemera
Series 4: Songwriters:
Dates -- 1817-1982

Contents -- Series 4: Songwriters: The song sheets associated with each songwriter in this series are generally arranged in the following order: General Songs; Ethnic Songs; Armed Conflict Songs or other Topical Headings; Ragtime; Instrumental; Musical Theater Production Songs; Motion Picture Production Songs; Specialized Song Sheets/Editions; Professional/Artist Copy Song Sheets; and Folios/Volumes. List: 4.1 - 4.217Ephemera
Series 5: Politics and Political Movements:
Dates -- circa 1817-1982

Contents -- Series 5: Politics and Political Movements contains circa 1,565 pieces of sheet music and song folios documenting the political history of the United States. 5.1: Patriotic Music5.2: Politicians and Political Figures5.3: Politics and Political Parties5.4: Ku Klux Klan5.5: Prohibition and Temperance5.6: Trade Union5.7: Women's RightsEphemera
Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars:
Dates -- 1911-1986

Contents -- Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars: 6.1 Academy Award Songs6.2 Child Stars6.3 Dance Folios6.4 Disney Productions and Other Cartoon Movies6.5 Female Stars6.6 Male Stars6.7 Movie Music6.8 Silent Films6.9 Songs About the MoviesEphemera
Series 7: Sports:
Dates -- 1834-1983

Contents -- Series 7: Sports contains 1,254 pieces of sheet music and song folios. Most of the sheet music is either piano or piano/ vocal arrangements. 7.1: Baseball, 1860-19767.2: Boxing, 1893-19827.3: Fishing, 1847-19627.4: Football, 1894-1978; undated7.5: Gambling and Games of Chance, 1891-19807.6: Golf, 1893-19537.7: Horse Racing, 1899-19687.8: Hunting, 1834-19517.9: Ice Skating, 1861 -1978; undated7.10: Olympics, 1932-19837.11: Ping Pong, 1901-19027.12: Roller Skating, 1871-1980; undated7.13: Skiing, 1908-19717.14: Sleighs and Sledding, 1846- 1967; undated7.15: Sports, Miscellaneous, 1866-19777.16: Tennis, 1893-1914, 1951Ephemera
Series 8: Geography:
Dates -- 1794-1987

Contents -- Series 8: Geography is divided into three sections: the United States, Foreign Countries, and Natural Features. The more than 13,000 sheets date from 1830-1987 and include undated sheets that are probably earlier. The series comprises 33 cu. ft. 8.1-8.49: United States, 1830-1987 (States)8.50-8.51: United States, 1830-1987 (U. S. Regions)8.53-8.89: Foreign Countries, 1794-1982 (Afghanistan - Italy)8.90-8.126: Foreign Countries, 1794-1982 (Japan - Vietnam) & (Foreign Regions)8.127-8.128: Natural Features, 1834-1980Ephemera
Series 9: Domestic and Community Life:
Dates -- 1827-1986; undated

Contents -- Series 9: Domestic and Community Life documents family, love, marriage, home, and social organizations. It does not include Health or Business items, which are included in separate series. Certain issues, such as women's rights, are in Series 2: Politics and Political Movements. 9.1: Adult Family Members, 1836-1985; undated9.2: Children, 1855-1971; undated9.3: Dolls, Stories, Toys, 1860-1984; undated9.4: Songs About and Images of Men and Women, 1828-1972; undated9.5: Home, Neighborhood, and Immigrants/Refugees, 1830-1980; undated9.6: Love, 1827-1982; undated9.7: Marriage, 1829-1976; undated9.8: Friendship and Social Organizations, 1838-1982; undated9.9: Age, Death, and Dying, 1834-1951; undated9.10: Domestic Art and Clothing, 1843-1978; undated9.11:Albums, Lockets, and Memories, 1857-1952; undatedEphemera
Series 10: Sacred Music and Religious Themes:
Dates -- 1822-1986, undated

Contents -- Series 10: Sacred Music and Religious Themes contains approximately 4,000 pieces of sheet music, much of which is traditional Christian music, but also documents popular attitudes towards religion in the United States. Note that the Christmas and Easter subseries include their secular aspects. 10.1, Adam, Eve, and Eden, 1882-197110.2, Angels, 1849-1961, undated10.3, Bells and Chimes, 1848-1956, undated10.4, Biblical Characters and Stories, 1876-1986, undated10.5, Cathedral, Chapel, Church, 1866-1966, undated10.6, Choir, 1880-193710.7, Christmas, 1828-1984, undated10.8, Devil and Satan, 1865-1979, undated10.9, Easter, 1872-1975, undated10.10, Evolution, 1925-196310.11, Heaven, 1866-1975, undated10.12, Inspirational Singers, 1868-197710.13, Madonna, The Virgin Mary, 1855-1953, undated10.14, Miracles, 1929-195910.15, Mormons, 1895-1933, undated10.16, Paradise, 1900-1925, undated10.17, Pilgrim, 1868-1938, undated10.18, Psalms, 1884-1980, undated10.19, Quakers, 1899-1940, undated10.20, Rosary, 1897-195310.21, General Sacred Songs, 1822-1982, undatedEphemera, 1899-1986
Series 11: Entertainment:
Dates -- 1841-1984, undated

Contents -- Series 11: Entertainment contains more than 12,500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards entertainers and entertainment in the United States. Note that movies and some musical entertainment are also covered in Series 6, Moving Pictures and Movie Stars, and in Series 16, Country, Western, and Folk Music. Blind musicians and performers are in Series 17. 11.1: Early Troupes & Bandmasters, 1841-1944, undated11.2: Dance Bands and Orchestras, 1905-1964, undated11.3: Novelty Bands, 1901-195211.4: Male Singers (Individual), 1846-198111.5: Female Singers (Individual), 1845-197111.6: Duos and Groups (Male and Mixed), 1903-198111.7: Female Duos and Groups, 1896-196611.8: Child Entertainers, 1852-1927, undated11.9: Impersonators, 1904-198211.10: Actors and Comedians, 1853-198211.11: Theater, 1873-1973, undated11.12: Juke Box, Nickelodeon, 1923-198111.13: Phonograph, Records, Tapes, 1878-197111.14: Radio, Transistor, Wireless, 1898-198411.15: Television, 1931-198711.16: Circus, Fair, Zoo
Series 12: Plants and Animals:
Dates -- 1831-1984, undated

Contents -- Series 12: Plants and Animals contains approximately 4,000 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards plants and animals in the United States. 12.1, Trees, 1833-1969, undated12.2, Plants and Flowers, 1840-1979, undated12.3, Animals, 1831-1984, undated12.4, Fish, Mermaids, and Aquatic Species, 1832-1978, undated12.5, Birds, 1834-1976, undated12.6, Insects and Spiders, 1853-1968, undated
Series 13: Agriculture, Business, and Law:
Dates -- 1827-1985, undated

Contents -- Series 13, Agriculture, Business, and Law contains approximately 3,300 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards business, commerce, farming and food, finances, labor, law, and social order in the United States. The series comprises nine cubic feet, plus two boxes of ephemera. 13.1, Business and Jobs, 1927-1982, undated13.2, Farming, Food, and Tobacco, 1836-1986, undated13.3, Finances and Valuables, 1841-1982, undated13.4, Law and Social Order, 1858-1972, undated13.5, Public Services and Utilities, 1836-1984, undatedEphemera, 1901-1987, undated
Series 14: Calendar, Time, and Weather:
Dates -- 1811-1980, undated

Contents -- Series 14, Calendar, Time, and Weather contains approximately 1,800 pieces of sheet music, documenting attitudes toward and consequences of natural events. The four seasons comprise the larger part. 14.1, Years, 1880-1945, undated14.2, Seasons, 1850-1978, undated14.3, Months, 1855-1978, undated14.4, Days of the Week, 1853-196514.5, Clocks and Time, 1844-1967, undated14.6, Weather, 1911-1980, undatedEphemera, 1952-1982, undated
Series 15: Holidays and Celebrations:
Dates -- 1847-1982, undated

Contents -- Series 15, Holidays and Celebrations contains approximately 500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards holidays, celebrations, and travel in the United States. Note that Christmas items are in Series 10, Sacred Music and Religious Themes, subseries 7. 15.1, Holiday, Travel, Vacation, 1866-198215.2, Carnival, 1847-1937, undated15.3, Mardi Gras, 1892-1958, undated15.4, Masquerade, 1900-1973, undated.15.5, Halloween, 1853-1962, undated.15.6, Thanksgiving, 1853-1974, undated.15.7, New Year, 1852-1970, undated15.8, Park, 1869-1969, undated15.9, Picnic, 1854-1964, undated15.10, Rolling Chairs, 1905-1923, undatedEphemera
Series 16: Country, Western, and Folk Music:
Dates -- 1839-1986, undated

Contents -- Series 16: Country, Western, and Folk Music, contains approximately 11,500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards country, western, and folk music in the United States. The dates always refer to copyright of the music and not to the subject on the cover, songwriter's life, or other events. There are 78 boxes of sheet music and 16 boxes of ephemera. 16.1, Individual Male Entertainers, 1911-1983, undated16.2, Individual Female Entertainers, 1902-1986, undated16.3, Duos and Groups, 1910-1981, undated16.4, The West, 1939-198416.5, Barn Dance, Fiddle Tunes, and "Turkey in the Straw," 1878-197516.6, Blues, Feuding, Hillbilly, Honky Tonk, and Yodeling, 1885-1975, undated16.7, Miscellaneous Songs, 1913-198316.8, Folios, 1914-1969Ephemera --subseries 1-7 and subseries 9-10
Series 17: The Human Condition--Physical, Mental, Behavioral:
Dates -- 1833-1987

Contents -- Series 17, The Human Condition--Physical, Mental, Behavioral contains approximately 1,000 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards the human condition in the United States. 17.1, Physical Health, 1833-1982, undated17.2, Happiness, 1845-1978, undated17.3, Crazy, Foolish, 1904-1973, undated17.4, Rubes, 1888-1938Ephemera
Series 18: Dance:
Dates -- 1812-1978, undated

Contents -- Series 18, Dance contains approximately 3,330 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards dance in the United States. 18.1, General Songs about Dance, 1882-1967, undated18.2, Ballroom Dancers and Dance Institute, 1840-1951, undated18.3, Charleston, 1923-196418.4, Fox Trot, 1913-193218.5, Galop, 1842-1924, undated18.6, Gavotte, 1874-1978, undated18.7, Jigs and Reels, 1891-1951, undated18.8, Lancers, 1857-1903, undated18.9, Maxixe, 1913-1914, undated18.10, Mazurka, 1854-1940, undated18.11, Minuet, 1875-1968, undated18.12, One Step, 1910-192118.13, Polka, 1845-1975, undated18.14, Quadrilles, 1831-1883, undated18.15, Redowa, 1853-1908, undated18.16, Schottische, 1850-1944, undated18.17, Skirt Dance, 1891-1893, undated18.18, Square Dance, 1926-196418.19, Tango, 1909-195218.20, Three Step, 1903-191318.21, Two Step, 1894-192518.22, Varsova, 1851-1917, undated18.23, Waltz, 1812-1968, undated18.24, Folios, 1888-1953, undatedEphemera
Series 19: Art and Literature:
Dates -- 1830-1977, undated

Contents -- Series 19, Art and Literature contains approximately 860 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting popular attitudes towards art and literature in the United States. 19.1, Art and Artists, 1839-1977, undated19.2, Cover Artists and Early Lithograph Covers, 1830-1931, undated19.3, Photography, 1848-196619.4, Carving and Whittling, 1906-194719.5, Books, Diary, and Stories, 1849-198319.6, Poets and Poetry, 1836-1969, undated Ephemera Index
Series 20: Newspapers:
Dates -- 1844-1968, undated

Contents -- Series 20, Newspapers, 1844-1968, contains materials documenting the business of and popular attitudes towards newspapers in the United States. 20.1, Songs about Advertising, the News and the Press20.2, Songs published by Newspapers or about serialized stories20.3, Songs about Newsboys and Newsgirls20.4, Cartoons, Cartoonists, and Comics20.5, Newspaper and Magazine SupplementsEphemera
Series 21: Musical Instruments:
Dates -- 1824-1981 and undated

Contents -- Series 21, Musical Instruments, 1824-1981, undated, contains approximately 4,900 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards the playing of music in the United States. Numerous teaching manuals are included.21.1, Accordion, 1902-1964, undated21.2, Banjo, 1853-1975, undated21.3, Cello, 1891-1935, undated21.4, Clarinet, 1905-1958, undated21.5, Concertina, 1905-1941, undated21.6, Cornet, 1848-1924, undated21.7, Double Bass, 1939-195521.8, Drums, 1867-1971, undated21.9, Fiddle, 1893-1981, undated21.10, Flute, 1847-1936, undated21.11, Guitar, 1824-1977, undated21.12, Harmonica, 1904-1974, undated21.13, Harp, 1866-1976, undated21.14, Hurdy Gurdy, 1899-196921.15, Mandolin, 1843-1954, undated21.16, Music Boxes, 1848-1979, undated21.17, Organ, 1856-1973, undated21.18, Saxophone, 1907-195321.19, Tambourine, 1854-196021.20, Trombone, 1906-195721.21, Trumpet, 1904-1945, undated21.22, Ukulele, 1915-1964, undated21.23, Violin, 1843-1957, undated21.24, Zither, 1970-1951, undated21.25, Various Instruments, 1835-1968, undatedEphemera
Series 22: American Indian:
Contents -- Series 22: American Indian

Dates -- 1899-1975
Series 23: Universe:
Contents -- Series 23: Universe

Dates -- 1842-1970
Series 24: Education:
Contents -- Series 24: Education

Dates -- 1834-1964
Series 25: Vocal:
Contents -- Series 25: Vocal
Series 26: General Sheet Music:
Contents -- Series 26: General Sheet Music
Series 27: Gypsies:
Contents -- Series 27: Gypsies
Series 28: Opera:
Contents -- Series 28: Opera
Series 29: Piano:
Contents -- Series 29: Piano
Series 30: Marches and Quicksteps:
Contents -- Series 30: Marches and Quicksteps
Series 31: Dialects:
Contents -- Series 31: Dialects
Series 32: Christopher Columbus:
Contents -- Series 32: Christopher Columbus
Series 33: Reveries:
Contents -- Series 33: Reveries
Series 34: Indiana Publishers:
Contents -- Series 34: Indiana Publishers
Series 35: Sam DeVincent Personal Papers:
Contents -- Series 35: Sam DeVincent Personal Papers
Series 36: Folios and Songbooks:
Contents -- Series 36: Folios and Songbooks
Series 37: Other Materials:
Contents -- Series 37: Other Materials

Dates -- 1853-1976
Additional Topical Series:
An updated list of DeVincent topical series is available via the Smithsonian finding aid portal.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into topical series.
Biographical note:
Sam DeVincent was born January 8, 1918 and lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for most of his life. DeVincent collected sheet music and related materials during most of his lifetime. His interest included both the music and the cover art. Because he had little money to support his collecting, DeVincent gathered most of his material through careful searches and travel.

DeVincent and his wife used much of the music he collected in their musical group "Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers." The group performed regularly on radio station WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 1945 to 1955. After 1955 (and the emergence of rock and roll), "Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers" played only once a week on the radio station. At this time, Mr. DeVincent worked as an all-night disc jockey at WOWO. In 1960 he became music director and music librarian at the station. His position as music librarian helped him to add to his collection, especially the phonograph recordings (many promotional copies are included).

DeVincent retired from WOWO in 1983. He and his wife continued to perform publicly including a weekly radio show on WOWO. The National Museum of American History acquired the DeVincent collection in the spring of 1988. Sam DeVincent passed away November 29, 1997.
Materials in Other Organizations:
Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

The Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music contains approximately 24,000 pieces of sheet music, songbooks, and folios. DeVincent arranged his collection into categories based on either personal names of musicians or performers or on subjects he defined that were as diverse as the American Red Cross and Halloween. The Lilly Library has maintained this arrangement.

All the sheet music in the DeVincent collection is listed in the IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana: Lilly Library web site. Digitized images are available for some items.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Donald J. Stubblebine Collection of Musical Theater and Motion Picture Sheet Music and Reference Material, 1843-2010 (AC1211)
Provenance:
This collection was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution in 1988 from Sam and Nancy Lee DeVincent.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical revue, comedy, etc  Search this
Music -- United States  Search this
Music -- Performance  Search this
Transportation -- Music  Search this
Ragtime music  Search this
Musicians  Search this
Armed Forces -- Music  Search this
Country music  Search this
Music -- 20th century  Search this
Music -- African-American  Search this
Music -- 18th century  Search this
Music -- 19th century  Search this
Politics -- Music  Search this
Genre/Form:
Lithographs
Sound recordings
Phonograph records
Papers
Photographic prints
Sheet music
Photographs -- 19th century
Citation:
The Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0300
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0300
Online Media:

Programa de Navidad

Artist:
Maldonado, Antonio  Search this
Sponsor:
Puerto Rico. Division of Community Education. Department of Education  Search this
Collection Donor:
Archivo General de Puerto Rico  Search this
Collection Collector:
Puerto Rico. Division of Community Education. Department of Education  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Ink on paper, 85.7 x 45.5 cm.)
Container:
Map-folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Posters
Screen prints
Place:
Puerto Rico -- 20th century
Date:
1960
Scope and Contents:
Antonio Maldonado, like Rafael Tufino and Lorenzo Homar, is one of the early members of the DIVEDCO creative team. In this Christmas poster he depicts three figures playing traditional musical instruments with the colonial fortifications of San Juan and the ocean behind them. (From exhibition text by Marvette Perez.)
Local Numbers:
AC0615-0000007.tif (AC Scan)

1997.3100.06 (Museum Cat. No.)
Exhibitions Note:
In the exhibition "Posters from the Division of Community Education (DIVEDCO) of Puerto Rico, 1948-1989," Sept. 17, 2008-Jan. 18, 2009, at the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical instruments  Search this
Politics -- Puerto Rico  Search this
Christmas  Search this
Genre/Form:
Posters -- Puerto Rico
Screen prints
Collection Citation:
Puerto Rico Division of Community Education Poster Collection, 1940-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Puerto Rico Division of Community Education [DIVEDCO] Poster Collection
Puerto Rico Division of Community Education [DIVEDCO] Poster Collection / Series 1: Events / 1.1: Holidays
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0615-ref743

Untitled Christmas poster [screen print poster]

Artist:
Tufino, Rafael  Search this
Sponsor:
Puerto Rico. Division of Community Education. Department of Education  Search this
Donor:
Puerto Rico. Division of Community Education. Department of Education  Search this
Collection Donor:
Archivo General de Puerto Rico  Search this
Collection Collector:
Puerto Rico. Division of Community Education. Department of Education  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Ink on paper, 74.6 x 52.3 cm.)
Container:
Map-folder 8
Type:
Archival materials
Posters
Screen prints
Place:
Puerto Rico -- 20th century
Date:
1974
Scope and Contents:
This Christmas poster focuses on the figure of St. Michael the Archangel, militantly brandishing his sword surrounded by Puerto Rican cultural emblems: traditional musical instruments and the Three Kings. Lacking any text other than the year indicates that this is an artist proof [A/P]. Artists would purposefully produce a small numbers of posters without any message to have a print that focused just on the design. (From exhibition text by Marvette Perez.)
Local Numbers:
AC0615-0000039.tif (AC Scan)

1997.3100.07 (Museum Cat. No.)
Exhibitions Note:
In the exhibition "Posters from the Division of Community Education (DIVEDCO) of Puerto Rico, 1948-1989," Sept. 17, 2008-Jan. 18, 2009, at the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical instruments  Search this
Angels  Search this
Christmas  Search this
Politics -- Puerto Rico  Search this
Genre/Form:
Posters -- Puerto Rico
Screen prints
Collection Citation:
Puerto Rico Division of Community Education Poster Collection, 1940-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Puerto Rico Division of Community Education [DIVEDCO] Poster Collection
Puerto Rico Division of Community Education [DIVEDCO] Poster Collection / Series 1: Events / 1.1: Holidays
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0615-ref772

El Mito-D Beatriz [screenprint poster]

Artist:
Cortes, Eduardo Vera  Search this
Sponsor:
Puerto Rico. Division of Community Education. Department of Education  Search this
Collection Donor:
Archivo General de Puerto Rico  Search this
Collection Collector:
Puerto Rico. Division of Community Education. Department of Education  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Ink on paper., 72.8 48.3 cm.)
Container:
Map-folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Posters
Screen prints
Place:
Puerto Rico -- 20th century
Date:
1987
Scope and Contents:
This color poster promotes a day that was performed in different urban and inner city communities. There is a distance from the older images favored by DIVEDCO which focused largely on the countryside. This scene is set in an urban environment with the performers dressed in distinctly modern clothing and playing electrified musical instruments. (From exhibition text by Marvette Perez.)
Local Numbers:
AC0615-0000021.tif (AC Scan)

1997.3100.10 (Museum Cat. No.)
Exhibitions Note:
In the exhibition "Posters from the Division of Community Education (DIVEDCO) of Puerto Rico, 1948-1989," Sept. 17, 2008-Jan. 18, 2009, at the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Urbanism -- Puerto Rico  Search this
Politics -- Puerto Rico  Search this
Genre/Form:
Posters -- Puerto Rico
Screen prints
Collection Citation:
Puerto Rico Division of Community Education Poster Collection, 1940-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Puerto Rico Division of Community Education [DIVEDCO] Poster Collection
Puerto Rico Division of Community Education [DIVEDCO] Poster Collection / Series 1: Events / Plays
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0615-ref994
Online Media:

Paul Cadwell Banjo Collection

Source:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Creator:
Cadwell, Paul, 1889-1985  Search this
Reed, Frances  Search this
Names:
American Banjo Fraternity.  Search this
Bowen, Bill  Search this
Bradbury, Frank  Search this
Cadwell, Joyce  Search this
Denton, Harry  Search this
Farland, Alfred  Search this
Van Eps, Fred, 1878-1960  Search this
Former owner:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Extent:
12 Cubic feet (28 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sheet music
Sound recordings
Photographs
Ephemera
Correspondence
Place:
New York (N.Y.)
Date:
1883-1980
Summary:
The bulk of the collection is music for the five-string banjo, often with piano and/or second banjo accompaniments. Almost no sheets have cover illustrations. Many editions are British and rarely have copyright dates.
Scope and Contents note:
The collection documents banjoist Paul Cadwell (1889 1985). Most of the material originally belonged to him; exceptions to this include photographs of Frances Reed (Cadwell's first wife), travel ephemera of Frances Reed, banjo music of William Brewer, and banjo history writings of Brewer. British banjoist William Brewer corresponded regularly with Cadwell through the 1950s. Though they never met, a close friendship developed between the men. After Brewer's death, Brewer's son mailed his father's banjo materials to Cadwell (see correspondence from Basil Brewer). Series 8, "Reed Travel Ephemera," is largely unrelated to both Cadwell and the banjo most items date from before Reed's marriage to Cadwell. This series is unprocessed as of this writing. Most of Cadwell's audio recordings (both discs and tapes) fell outside the museum's collections scope and so were not kept. A complete inventory, however, has been attached at the end of this register.

The bulk of the collection consists of music for the five string banjo, often with piano and/or second banjo accompaniments. The Cadwell and the Brewer banjo music have been placed in separate subseries. The Cadwell music is organized alphabetically by title of composition; much of this material is fragile and a majority of the music is in manuscript rather than published scores. The Brewer subseries maintains his careful organization: alphabetical by composer or arranger separating the American from the British composers/ arrangers. Almost no sheets have cover illustrations. Many of the editions are British (which rarely give a copywrite date).

Bluegrass and folk banjo music from the second half of the 20th century, when written, was written in tablature. "Classic" five-string banjo music is written in standard notation with some adaptations. The Brooks and Denton compositions were given in both standard notation and tablature and an arrangement of "Dueling Banjos" is in tablature. All other banjo compositions are written in standard notation. Some compositions are in C notation, others were transposed to A. Earlier in the 19th century, the banjo sounded in A and the music was written in A. With the technological changes in banjo construction of the late 19th century, the pitch of the banjo went up and generally sounded in C. The British were quick to switch to C notation, but American banjoists, wedded to tradition, were slow to make the change.

Cadwell had music in both C and A notation; presumably, he could play both. Adaptations to standard notation include the following indications for which finger should pluck the string: + = thumb, = first finger, = second finger. "12 B " indicates that the marked section should be played using a barre at the 12th fret. A sixteenth note flag up high G (high E in A notation) is used when the note should be played on the short thumb string.

Most of the music is for standard five-string banjo. There is a small amount of music for four-string tenor or plectrum banjo (as well as a few selections for mandolin and guitar). Two forms of the five string banjo appear in the music collection: the banjeurine and the zither banjo. The banjeurine was popular in banjo clubs, slightly smaller, tuned higher, and usually played lead. The zither banjo is peculiar to Britain. The two highest strings are of metal and the lower strings of the "classic" standard gut, nylon, or wound silk. The banjo has a resonator, but unlike American banjos with resonators, the head sits flush with the resonator. Many of the British compositions are labeled for zither banjo and are intended to take advantage of the peculiarities of that instrument's sound.
Arrangement:
The collection has been organized into the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1941-1976 Series 2: Photographs, circa 1895-1980 Series 3: Ephemera, 1922-1978 Series 4: Banjo Music, circa 1883-1975 Series 5: Magazines and Journals, 1886-1977

Series 6; Banjo History Sources, circa 1951-1975

Series 7: Audio Recordings, circa 1895-1976

Series 8: Reed Travel Ephemera, circa 1930-1970

The Cadwell music is organized alphabetically by title of composition; much is fragile and in manuscript rather than published scores. The Brewer subseries maintains his careful organization: alphabetical by composer or arranger, separating American from British composers/arrangers.
Biographical/Historical note:
Paul Cadwell was born in 1889 in Westfield, New Jersey. He lived nearly all of his life in New Jersey and New York City. He began playing banjo at the age of ten. His first teacher was Fred Van Eps, a young man who already had been making commercial recordings of banjo ragtime and popular tunes. Van Eps continued to record frequently through the 1920s.

From the 1880s to the 1910s most American Universities and all of the Ivy League schools had banjo clubs. These organizations played orchestra style with various sizes of banjos. Cadwell played with college banjo clubs at both Princeton (class of 1910) and Harvard Law School. After law school, Cadwell studied for a time in England at Trinity College, Oxford. He spent his adult life working as a lawyer and in various business dealings.

After his schooling, Cadwell continued to perform on the five string banjo. In the 1920s he organized and performed in minstrel shows for the American Legion and the Masonic Lodge. During the 1930s he played occasionally on the "Dutch Masters" radio hour as a member of the "Van Eps Trio." Cadwell began his involvement with American folk music in the 1940s playing for the American Folk Dance Society and on NBC radio for "Music of the New World." During the 1950s, Cadwell became involved in the folk music revival and he befriended revivalist and bluegrass musicians, notably Roger Sprung.

In 1949, a group of older "finger style" five string banjoists created a formal organization; the American Banjo Fraternity (ABF) still meets twice a year in Lewistown, Pennsylvania though the original banjo notables are now deceased. Paul Cadwell, Fred Van Eps, Alfred Farland, Harry Denton, Bill Bowen, and Frank Bradbury (names familiar to fans of this style of banjo playing) were all members. Cadwell was a bit younger than the others and also had never made his living playing vaudeville or making commercial recordings as had these other men. The heyday of their music surely had passed, but they banded together to keep the tradition.

Cadwell sensed in the folk revival of the 1950s a revitalization of the five string banjo. Most of the other ABF members saw these young banjo players as a threat to their music; they played with metal stringed instruments and with what seemed to them a simplistic technique. The correspondence in series 1 traces the painful conflict between Cadwell and the ABF members over the folk music revival. Cadwell continued to perform in folk revival events into the 1970s.

Cadwell married Frances Reed in 1956 (they had been a couple, though, for many years). Many of the photographs in series 2 and most of the travel ephemera of series 8 were hers. In 1965 he married Joyce. Paul Cadwell died in 1985.
Related Materials:
The Division of Culture and the Arts holds related musical instrument parts (banjo head, banjo strings, and banjo bridges).
Provenance:
Collection donated by Joyce Cadwell, 1991.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Travel photography  Search this
Musicians  Search this
Musical groups  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Banjoists  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sheet music
Sound recordings
Photographs -- 20th century
Ephemera
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Citation:
Paul Cadwell Banjo Collection, 1883-1980, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0387
See more items in:
Paul Cadwell Banjo Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0387

Pratt, Read Corporation Records

Donor:
Nickse, Hugo  Search this
Johnson, Hanford  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Creator:
Comstock, Cheney and Co.  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Extent:
84 Cubic feet (106 boxes, 28 oversize folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Financial records
Employee records
Advertisements
Minute books
Sales records
Design drawings
Manufacturing records
Legal documents
Annual reports
Publications
Photographs
Correspondence
Labels
Stock records
Place:
Ivoryton (Conn.)
Date:
1839-1990
Summary:
Records documenting Pratt, Read and Company; its early competitor and later partner, Comstock, Cheney and Company; and a number of predecessor, subsidiary and related companies. Other topics include the late 19th century African ivory trade and Pratt, Read's production of troop-carrying gliders during World War II.
Scope and Contents:
Pratt, Read & Company, located in the Essex area of Connecticut, was once the world's largest producer of ivory products. Beginning with the manufacture of combs, collar buttons, and toothpicks, the company moved on to the production of piano and organ key veneers, and soon dominated the field. Eventually, it began to produce complete piano and organ keyboards and actions, becoming the major supplier to the American piano industry. The records in this collection document Pratt, Read & Company; its early competitor and later partner, Comstock, Cheney & Company; and a number of predecessor, subsidiary, and related companies. Other topics of interest dealt with in this collection include the late nineteenth century African ivory trade and Pratt, Read's production of troop carrying gliders during World War II.
Arrangement:
The Collection is divided into seven series.

Series 1: Predecessor and Miscellaneous Companies, 1839-1870s

Series 2: Comstock, Cheney and Company, 1863-1936

Series 3: Pratt, Read and Company, 1863-1988

Series 4: Gould Aeronautical Division, 1941-1977

Series 5: Subsidiary and Related Companies, 1859-1980

Series 6: Information on Related Companies, 1977-1992

Series 7; Addenda, 1837-2004
Historical:
Pratt, Read & Company is one of the oldest companies in the state of Connecticut. The firm traces its origins to 1798, when an Essex goldsmith and clockmaker named Phineas Pratt invented a circular saw to cut the teeth on ivory combs. In 1809, George Read and his brother in law, Phineas Pratt II, dammed the Deep River in the nearby town of Deep River and constructed a waterwheel to power ivory cutting machinery. Read left the partnership in 1816, and Phineas Pratt II joined with Alfred Worthington to manufacture ivory combs under the name of Pratt Worthington & Company. When Worthington died in 1830, two of Phineas Pratt II's sons, Ulysses and Alexis, took over the business, operating as U & A Pratt. The name was changed in 1844 to Pratt Spencer & Company, when a new partner was added, and changed again in 1850, to Pratt Brothers & Company. In 1856 the company erected a much larger factory in Deep River.

In the meantime, Julius Pratt, another of Phineas Pratt I's sons, had joined with Thomas Howard to set up an ivory comb factory in the town of Meriden. This firm was known as Howard, Pratt & Company. After Howard's death in 1822, it became Julius Pratt & Company. In 1854, the firm began to produce wooden piano keyboards, which then were fitted with keys of ivory. One half interest in this firm was owned by George Read.

When Read left his original partnership with Phineas Pratt II in 1816, he joined with Essex comb maker Ezra Williams to set up a new ivory working factory in Deep River. This new firm was known as Ezra Williams & Company. In 1829, Read became the senior partner and the company's name was changed to George Read & Company. This company later secured a very important contract to supply ivory keys for the first American manufacturer of pianos, Chickering & Sons of Boston.

In 1863, the firms of George Read & Company, Julius Pratt & Company, and Pratt Brothers & Company, were merged to form Pratt, Read & Company. The new company further enlarged its factory in Deep River in 1866. In 1871, the old Julius Pratt & Company factory in Meriden was closed and its operations moved to Deep River. Though this factory was destroyed by fire in 1881, a larger factory was quickly rebuilt and the company was back in business early in 1882.

With the election of George L. Cheney as president in 1892, Pratt, Read & Company began a period of continued expansion. In December of that year the company joined with another Connecticut piano component manufacturer, Comstock, Cheney & Company, to organize a midwestern manufacturing branch, under the name of the Piano & Organ Supply Company. This firm was to serve the territory west of Toledo, Ohio, operating in competition with its parent companies. In 1929 Pratt, Read and Comstock, Cheney combined to buy out the Piano & Organ Supply Company and it was dissolved.

In 1910 Pratt, Read & Company decided to begin the manufacture of piano actions. An independent manufacturer of piano actions, New York based Wasle & Company, and its subsidiary, the Wasle Unique Player Action Company, were acquired that same year. In 1914, Pratt, Read built a second factory solely for the production of player piano actions in Deep River. Wasle & Company was dissolved in 1919 and its production was continued under the Pratt, Read name. The company soon acquired two additional keyboard and action manufacturers: the Sylvester Tower Company of Cambridge, Mass., was purchased, dissolved, and all its equipment was moved to Deep River in 1924; and Strauch Bros. Company of New York was purchased in 1926. The Deep River player action plant operated until 1928, when business declined and production of player piano actions was discontinued in favor of manufacturing small motorboats. This line of business also soon declined and the project was abandoned by 1932.

COMSTOCK, CHENEY & COMPANY. Meanwhile, other manufacturers of ivory products had been at work in the Essex area. Chief among these was the firm of Comstock, Cheney & Company of Ivoryton. The dominant figure in this company was Samuel M. Comstock. He had learned the ivory cutting trade while working in his older brother's Saybrook area ivory cutting shop, known as Joseph A. Comstock & Company. By 1838, Samuel had left his brother's shop and joined with Edwin Griswold to set up Comstock & Griswold Company further west up the Falls River in Centerbrook. In 1848, the company moved its operations to a new factory in the Ivoryton area, where combs, toothpicks, and other ivory products were made. At the same time, the firm's name was changed to S. M. Comstock & Company, reflecting Samuel's sole ownership.

In 1860, Samuel Comstock allied his firm with George A. Cheney to form Comstock, Cheney & Company. Cheney had invested in Comstock's firm and was one of the principals in the important New York based ivory importing firm of Arnold, Cheney & Company. The new firm began production of thin slices of ivory for mounting on wooden piano keys. It also had its own agents buying ivory in Africa, most of which went toward production of piano keys. The company was formally incorporated in 1872 and in 1873 it opened an even larger factory in Ivoryton.

1936 MERGER. On December 31, l936, Pratt, Read & Company of Deep River was consolidated and merged with Comstock, Cheney & Company of Ivoryton. The resulting corporation was titled Pratt, Read & Company, Inc. By l938, all manufacturing operations had been consolidated in Ivoryton and the Deep River factory closed. During World War II, both the Deep River factory and the Ivoryton factory were used to produce CG 4A "Waco" troop carrying gliders for the U.S. Army Air Forces, along with LNE 1 training gliders and the GLOMB experimental plane for the U.S. Navy. Production of piano keyboards and actions was sharply curtailed for the duration of the war, and was slow to resume afterward. In l946 the Deep River factory was sold.

From 1948 to l957, the Ivoryton factory was enlarged and modernized on a large scale. During the Korean War, the company contracted to make helicopter blades for the Kaman Corporation of Bloomfield, Conn., and this partnership lasted for fourteen years. In l958, Pratt, Read transferred all of its piano action manufacturing operations to a newly built plant in Central, S.C. This move was made primarily in order to modernize production facilities at a lower cost than would have been possible through continued renovation of the Ivoryton plant.

With the election of Peter H. Comstock (a great grandson of one of the founders of Comstock, Cheney & Company) as President in 1954, the firm began an ambitious plan of diversification. The Cornwall & Patterson Company of Bridgeport, Conn., manufacturer of piano hardware, was purchased in l957. In 1959, Pratt, Read joined with six British Commonwealth firms to acquire British Piano Actions, Ltd., of Wales. Keyboards, Inc., a Chicago based producer of keyboards for electronic organs, was acquired in 1960. The Tech Art Plastics Company of Morristown, N.J., a custom molder of plastics materials especially for the piano industry, was acquired in 1961. The F. Kelly Company of Derby, Conn., which specialized in the production of small metal parts, was acquired in l964, and operated as a division of Cornwall & Patterson. In l966, Pratt, Read purchased the Allen Rogers Corporation of Laconia, N.H., which produced wooden furniture and piano components.

MERGER WITH VOCALINE COMPANY. In February l968, Pratt, Read & Company, Inc., was merged into the Vocaline Company of America, Inc., of Old Saybrook, Conn. Peter H. Comstock became chairman and chief executive officer of Vocaline Corporation, while remaining president of Pratt, Read. Vocaline was then organized into two major divisions the Vocaline Division and the Pratt, Read Division. The Pratt, Read Division concentrated on the production of piano keys and actions. It operated three subdivisions: the Ivoryton Division (keyboards, wooden and plastic moldings, and unfinished furniture); the Action Division (piano actions); and the Lund Division, formerly Keyboards, Inc., (electronic organ components). Both of the latter divisions operated out of the Central, S.C., plant. The Lund Division was known as the Electronics Division by 1970.

The Vocaline Division produced and sold electric motors, timing devices, and other small electromechanical mechanisms through its Electronics Section and its Bristol Motor and Timer Section. Another subsidiary of the Vocaline Division Altron, Inc., based in Westerly, R.I. produced wire coils. Through its Research and Development Center in Waldboro, Maine, Vocaline conducted antisubmarine warfare research for the U.S. Navy. By 1970, the Vocaline Division had been streamlined into four divisions: the Allen Rogers Corporation (small shaped wood products); Altron, Inc. (wire coils); the Bristol Division, later known as the Bristol Saybrook Company (electric motors and timers); and the Cornwall & Patterson Company (piano hardware and small tools). In addition, research for the Navy had been expanded and combined with other oceanographic research under the control of a subsidiary company, VAST, Inc., with operations in both Maine and the Caribbean.

PRATT READ CORPORATION. In October 1970, the Vocaline Corporation changed its name to the Pratt Read Corporation. This was done partly to increase identity with its oldest traditions and partly to reflect a shift away from the early emphasis on the Vocaline side of the corporation. The new corporation continued to refine its interests under the direction of Peter H. Comstock, who became company president in February 1970. The Tech Arts Plastic Company was sold off in May 1972, although it remained a source of supply for custom molded parts. In 1974 Pratt Read purchased the Atlas Plywood Company of Morrisville, Vt., in order to use its mill and kilns in the preparation of lumber for the Ivoryton factory, whose own facilities were overburdened. This company was operated as a subsidiary of Pratt Read.

By 1976, the Pratt Read Corporation was organized into five operating divisions. The Allen Rogers Corporation produced toys, golf tees, spools, knobs, and other turned and shaped wood products. Altron, Inc., produced bobbins and coils of copper wire. The Bristol Saybrook Company produced small electric motors and timers. The Cornwall & Patterson Company produced piano hardware parts, screwdriver blades, and other small hand tools. Pratt, Read & Company produced wooden components for pianos and other musical instruments. The company's ownership of VAST, Inc., was sold off in March 1976. Later that year, the company acquired Sight Line Corporation, a Freehold, N.J., manufacturer of golf clubs. This subsidiary, operated as the Sounder Sports Division, was sold in May 1979.

In October of 1979, James H. Tucker replaced Peter H. Comstock as president of Pratt Read; Comstock remained chairman of the board and chief executive officer. His nephew, Harwood B. Comstock, became the next president in October 1982. In June 1982, the Ivoryton factory was severely damaged by flooding after two dams burst upstream during a torrential rainstorm. Although the administrative offices were destroyed and the plant filled with several feet of mud and debris, the facility was back in production within two weeks. In August 1982, Pratt Read acquired the Sohmer Piano Company, a 111 year old Long Island based manufacturer of pianos, and in December 1982 Sohmer's production facilities were moved into the Ivoryton factory. By July 1983 Sohmer was producing about six upright pianos a day in its new location.

By the early 1980s, the American piano industry had entered a period of decline and even Peter Comstock's diversification efforts could not keep it out of trouble. A major blow came in 1984 with the loss of a large contract to manufacture keyboards for Mattel Electronics's Intellivision home video system. This was exacerbated by a slump in the piano industry in mid year. The increased import of Japanese and Korean pianos further undercut the American industry, resulting in slowdowns and profit losses for Pratt Read. Attempting to compete on the same basis with this foreign competition, Pratt Read joined with the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company in May 1985 to establish the Pratt Win Corporation. This joint venture resulted in the closing of Pratt Read's Central, S.C., piano action manufacturing plant and the transfer of its operations to a new Baldwin plant in Juarez, Mexico. Pratt Read sold its interest in Pratt Win to Baldwin in October 1986.

Piano sales continued to decline, however, and Pratt Read continued to suffer losses. In March 1986, the company was acquired by Crescent & Company, a corporation controlled by Harwood B. Comstock, president of Pratt, Read & Company. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of Crescent & Company, but retained the name Pratt Read Corporation. In April 1986, the company sold its Sohmer piano subsidiary together with the Ivoryton factory where it was housed; Sohmer & Company continued to produce upright pianos under independent ownership in Ivoryton until December 1988. In December 1986 the Bristol Saybrook Company was sold off. By 1990, the company had sold off all remaining assets except for a sawmill in Vermont and the Cornwall & Patterson Company in Bridgeport, Conn., where the remaining corporate staff relocated.

Sources

Deep River Historical Society, Inc. A History of Pratt Read & Co. 1973.

1899 Souvenir of Essex, Connecticut. Rpt., The Ivoryton Public Library, 1979.

Johnson, Curtiss S. "From Ivory Combs to Carnegie Hall and Today:The History of the Pratt Read Corporation." [Unpublished history in the collection.]

Moore, Ernst D. "History of Pratt, Read & Company." [Unpublished history in the Ernst D. Moore Collection, Archives Center Collection #321.]

Newspaper Clippings in the collection.

Pratt Read Corporation. Annual Reports.

Vocaline Corporation. Annual Report, 1970.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Records relating to Pratt, Read and to Comstock, Cheney can be found in a number of other collections, both within the Archives Center and in other repositories. The Wood & Brooks Company Records (Archives Center coll. #457) contain significant information on Pratt, Read's operations and an important record of production statistics gathered by George Wood while he was factory superintendent and taken with him when he set up a rival firm in Buffalo. While the Ernst Moore Collection (Archives Center coll. #321) primarily documents the purchase of ivory in Africa (much of which was ultimately used by Pratt, Read), it also includes a history of Pratt, Read written by Moore while he was employed by them. The Sohmer & Company Records (Archives Center coll. #349) document the piano manufacturing firm that Pratt Read acquired in 1982.
Separated Materials:
The Pratt Read Corporation also donated a number of objects to the National Museum of American History at the same time as their 1988 donation of archival records. Included were combs and letter openers and other examples of products made from ivory; piano components, such as gauge boards, key actions, and keys; and such diverse items as tools used in the factory, World War II employee I.D. badges, and a uniform from the company sponsored basketball team.
Provenance:
Donated by Pratt, Read Corporation in 1989. In addition to the papers donated by the company, several individuals donated Pratt, Read materials in their possession.
Restrictions:
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Piano  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
Ivory  Search this
Gliders (Aeronautics)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Financial records
Employee records
Advertisements -- 20th century
Minute books
Sales records
Design drawings
Manufacturing Records
Legal documents
Annual reports
Publications
Photographs -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Labels
Stock records
Citation:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records, 1839-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0320
See more items in:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0320
Online Media:

Jake Jacobson "Heart & Hands" Color Iris Photoprints

Creator:
Northlight of Colorado, Inc.  Search this
Jacobson, Jake  Search this
Extent:
8 Framed print
3.42 Cubic feet (2 boxes, 1 map-folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Framed print
Photographs
Sound recordings
Inkjet prints
Iris prints
Ink jet printing
Compact discs
Digital images
Cd-roms
Color prints (photographs)
Date:
1996-2000
Summary:
Collection consists of photoprints and other materials created by Jacob Jacobson for the "Heart & Hands: Musical Instrument Makers of America" exhibition circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), from April 2000 to early 2004.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of photoprints and other materials created by Jacob Jacobson for the "Heart & Hands: Musical Instrument Makers of America" exhibition circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), from April 2000 to early 2004. The materials are arranged into two series.

Series 1: Iris (Inkjet) Digital Photoprints, dates, consists of eighty six color Iris (inkjet) items. The subjects are primarily individual musicians and craftsmen, although several instrument companies are included, notably the venerable Selmer Company of Elkhart, Indiana, which has manufactured band instruments for many decades. These digital prints were made from Jacobson's 35mm color transparencies (although print number one is monochrome, rather than full color). The prints are from a limited edition of 350, and are signed by the photographer in the lower right beneath the image, and numbered on the lower left. Some prints bears Northlight Atelier blind stamp in the margin and an identifying label with the print number and subject's name is affixed to each print on the verso at the bottom. Most of the prints have an image size of 20" in the long dimension and from approximately 13-1/4" to 14-1/4" on the short side; on heavy, textured archival paper, ranging in size from about 16"x 23" to 19"x 24". Eight larger prints, with image sizes of approximately 21-22" x 31-32" in size, were received matted and in 28" x 40" frames. Some representative image and print sizes are included. Most prints are in one large flat box; prints in the "folder" are stored separately because the paper is slightly too large for the box. The large framed prints are necessarily stored separately and are less accessible.

Series 2: Other Materials, dates, includes a loose-leaf notebook containing inventory of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES) exhibit prints with titles and thumbnail images for identification (except item 55, which is omitted), plus a CD-ROM containing the images in pocket. Note that the images for numbers 81 and 85 in the notebook are reversed. There is also a compact disk in plastic jewel case of the same name ("Heart & Hands: Musical Instrument Makers of America"), which contains sixty tracks of instrument makers playing their instruments and interviews with some of them. Compact disk in plastic jewel case, "Heart & Hands: Musical Instrument Makers of America; Music and Interviews Recorded Live; Taken from the Book..." (produced by Northlight). Containing music and selected interviews with instrument makers, produced for commercial distribution by Northlight Atelier; 60 tracks. Compact disk in plastic jewel case, "Heart & Hands: Musical Instrument Makers of America; Music and Interviews Recorded Live; Taken from the Book..." (produced by Northlight). Containing music and selected interviews with instrument makers, produced for commercial distribution by Northlight Atelier; 60 tracks.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into two series.

Series 1, Iris (Inkjet) Digital Photoprints

Series 2, Other Materials
Biographical / Historical:
"Heart & Hands: Musical Instrument Makers of America" was an exhibition of photographs by Jake Jacobson, circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), from April 2000 to early 2004 to at least fourteen venues. The first site was April 8, 2000, at the Georgia Mountains History Museum, and the last venue for the show was the Elkhart County Historical Museum, Bristol, Indiana, ending April 6, 2004. Selections from the exhibition were on view from June 4 to 8, 2001, in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building, and it was shown in the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries building, March 2-April 28, 2002.

The field work for the project was begun in 1996, culminating in 1998. "Traveling coast to coast, in an extensive two-year journey across the United States, Jake Jacobson and research collaborator Trisja Malisoff recorded the images, words, and music of over 300 contemporary musical instrument makers. Documenting the diversity of American music, Jacobson's photographs reveal a complex, living tradition-a heritage that draws upon Latin, Native American, European, African and Asian music influences."

Following this project, Jacobson engaged in a related photographic documentation, "Heart & Hands: Musical Instrument Makers of China." He has established a "Heart & Hands Foundation." Music has been an important part of Jacobson's life throughout his career as a photographer, printmaker, and jazz musician. During the mid-1960s he operated a backyard print shop, producing rock concert posters. As an advertising and editorial photographer, he pioneered new techniques for special effects and printmaking. His continuing passion for photographing musical artists is evident in the portraits in the "Heart & Hands" project.

A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography, Jacobson has taught photography at UCLA and Cypress College in Orange County. A longtime practitioner and teacher of Yoga, he is the owner of the Center for Yoga in Los Angeles. He operated a "state-of-the-art" photography, printmaking, and video production studio, Northlight of Colorado, in the mountains near Telluride, Colorado, before relocating the Northlight Atelier to Santa Barbara, California, in 2003.

Another project of Jacobson's is entitled, "Oh, Baby--Celebrating Birth Rites around the World."
Provenance:
Collection donated by Mr. Jacobson.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.

Technical Access: Do not use original
Rights:
Jake Jocobson retains copyright. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical instruments -- 20th century  Search this
Musical instrument makers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- Inkjet prints -- 1990-2000
Sound recordings -- Compact disks
Inkjet prints
Photographs -- Digital prints -- 20th century
Iris prints
Ink jet printing
Compact discs
Digital images
CD-ROMs
Color prints (photographs)
Citation:
Jake Jacobson "Heart & Hands" Color Iris Photoprints, Archives Center, National Museum of American History,
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0866
See more items in:
Jake Jacobson "Heart & Hands" Color Iris Photoprints
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0866
Online Media:

Sohmer & Co. Records

Author:
Falcone Custom Grand Pianos  Search this
Collector:
Musical Instruments, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Musical Instruments, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Donor:
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Creator:
Sohmer & Company  Search this
Names:
Sohmer & Company  Search this
Kuder, Joseph  Search this
Sohmer, Harry J.  Search this
Sohmer, Harry J., Jr.  Search this
Sohmer, Hugo  Search this
Sohmer, William  Search this
Extent:
43 Cubic feet (82 boxes and 11 map-folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Sales catalogs
Photographic prints
Advertisements
Scrapbooks
Clippings
Journals (accounts)
Ledgers (account books)
Place:
Ivoryton (Conn.)
New York (N.Y.) -- Musical instruments industry
Date:
1872-1989
Scope and Contents:
The records of Sohmer & Co., date from 1872 through 1989. They fall into fourteen series based primarily on function. Legal, financial, inventory & appraisal, manufacturing, marketing, advertising, and sales are the major series. Photographs, awards, family papers, publications about Sohmer, general publications, "miscellaneous" and correspondence are the remaining series. The records are especially strong in the areas of advertising, finances, and marketing. The collection does not contain corporate records, articles of incorporation, executive records, minutes, annual reports, or personnel records such as payrolls or job descriptions.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into 14 series.

Series 1: Stock and Legal Records, 1882-1985

Series 2: Financial Records, 1887-1962

Series 3: Inventory & Appraisal Records, 1891-1980

Series 4: Manufacturing Records, 1872-1967

Series 5: Marketing, 1901-1989

Series 6: Advertising Records, 1880-1983

Series 7: Sales Records, 1923-1982

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1920-1964

Series 9: Awards, 1876-1976

Serioes 10: Sohmer Family Papers, 1945-1970

Series 11: Publications about Sohmer, 1883-1986

Series 12: General Publications, 1912-1985

Series 13: Miscellaneous Records, 1894-1983

Series 14: Correspondence, 1892-1987
Historical:
When Sohmer & Co. was founded in 1872 by Hugo Sohmer and his partner Joseph Kuder, it became one of 171 piano manufacturers in New York City. Over the next 110 years, Sohmer & Co. was one of the few active and successful family-owned and operated piano-making ventures in the United States. Nationally known for tonal quality and fine craftmanship, the firm's product, in the music trade, came to be referred to as "The Piano-Maker's Piano."
Biographical:
Born to an eminent physician in Dunningen, Wurtemberg, Germany on November 11, 1846, Hugo Sohmer enjoyed a first class education. Riding the last major wave of German immigration, which had brought piano makers such as Albert Weber, George Steck, John and Charles Fischer, and Henry E. Steinway to America, Hugo arrived in New York City in 1862. He became an apprentice in the piano making house of Schuetze & Ludolf. To learn more about European piano making, Hugo returned to Germany in 1868 and travelled extensively throughout Europe. In 1870 he returned to New York and by 1872 the 26 year old Sohmer and his partner, Josef Kuder, began manufacturing pianos in the 149 East 14th Street factory previously utilized by J.H. Boernhoeft and most recently by Marschall & Mittauer.

Josef Kuder, originally from Bohemia, Austria Hungary, learned piano making in Vienna between 1847 and 1854. Kuder arrived in New York in 1854 and became a pianomaker with Steinway & Sons which had been founded in 1853. In 1861 he returned to Vienna; he worked there until returning to New York in 1864, where he worked for Marschall & Mittauer until joining Sohmer.

Concentrating on tonal quality and response, Sohmer & Co. began producing pianos which were recognized in 1876 by an award from the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. In the waning years of the nineteenth century Sohmer & Co. received other awards including a diploma from the Exposition Provinciale in Montreal, Quebec in 1881, the gold medal at the Great New England Fair in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1889, and an award from the World's Columbian Commission in 1893 in Chicago.

By 1883 additional factory space, located on East 23rd Street and formerly used by Carhart & Needham, was occupied to accomodate increased production. In three years this space proved inadequate and forced the renting of an extension to the original factory. The main office and salesrooms were located at 31 West 57th Street in New York City. Meanwhile, in 1884 Sohmer invented the first five foot "baby" grand piano which was applauded for its musical brilliance and depth of tone. In the early 1900's Sohmer produced grand pianos in four sizes: Concert, Parlor, Baby & Cupid.

Limited space and increased production soon became issues again, and in 1887 the company moved its factory and special machinery to Astoria, Long Island. This factory, located at 31st Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, remained in continuous operation until 1982, when the Adirondack Chair Co. bought the building and Pratt Read acquired the company.

During the 1880s a number of letters patent were granted to Sohmer for such piano improvements as the agraffe bar for tone augmentation, and the aliquot string, which were auxiliary strings "arranged in conjunction with the regular strings for the purpose of giving forth reverberatory or sympathetic waves of sound, thus augmenting the general tone results of each unison." (Spillane, History, 256.)

In 1894 Hugo Sohmer took competitor Sebastian Sommer to court for stenciling the name "Sommer" on the fallboard of his pianos. Sohmer declared that "Sohmer" was a trademark used as an emblem to distinguish the piano from others, especially the Sommer piano which he considered inferior. The court in this equity case dismissed the case on the grounds that Sohmer had not proven damages accruing from the advertising and sale of the Sommer piano.

By 1907 Sohmer & Co. was producing 2,000 pianos per year. Additionally, with Farrand & Co. of Detroit, Sohmer was making the Sohmer Cecilian player piano. On June 8, 1913 Hugo Sohmer died in Scarsdale, N.Y.; 20 days later, Josef Kuder died as well. Hugo was survived by his wife, Elizabeth; a daughter, Adelaide S. Weber; and a son, Harry J. Sohmer, born in 1886. Company leadership was assumed by Harry J. Sohmer after Hugo's death.

During the 1920s Sohmer began a special department in its plant for the manufacture of period pianos. According to Harry Sohmer, the 1930s were difficult. He recalled that, once only one piano in 29 days was shipped. The number of American piano manufacturers dropped from 140 to 22 during this time. It was during this time that Harry's cousins, Frank and Paul Sohmer joined the company as consultants. However, through its pioneering efforts in the introduction of a console vertical piano known as a "Spinet," Sohmer revitalized the industry. (Taylor, "Piano Family.") This console vertical piano has been called "The Musicians' Console.

Primarily because of its concentration on the console vertical pianos Sohmer & Co. never cultivated famous performers in the way that Steinway and Baldwin did. While publicly acknowledging that it never entered into the competition for artistic endorsement (an acknowledgement which perhaps worked to its favor), Sohmer & Co. relied upon a most comprehensive and innovative advertising strategy stressing integrity, quality and craftsmanship in the pursuit of the ideal tone and touch.

In 1940 Harry incorporated the company as Sohmer & Co. and led it, with his sons Harry J. Sohmer, Jr., (born 1917) as production manager and Robert H. Sohmer (born 1920), as process engineer. By 1969 Harry Jr. was vice president in charge of production and Robert was production engineer/ treasurer. In 1971 Harry Sr. died and Harry Jr. became president.

In 1982 Pratt Read Corporation, a long established manufacturer of piano keyboards, acquired Sohmer & Co. for an undisclosed amount, and moved the operations to its Ivoryton, Connecticut factory, while retaining the Sohmer name. The Sohmer brothers retained their positions in the company. At the time of its purchase Sohmer & Co. employed 120 people, produced 2500 pianos yearly, and grossed $5 million in sales. Harry J. Sohmer, Jr., grandson of the founder, in expressing his feelings about the move and the Sohmer piano, compared his piano to old New York beers saying that "they were strictly New York products and in a way so were we." He concluded by saying, "We were always identified with this city. Sohmer was a New York piano." (Prial, "Sohmer Piano.")

By July 1983 under Pratt Read's management Sohmer was producing 6 pianos per day, only 50% of the expected capacity according to H.B. Comstock, president of Pratt Read. In 1986 the Ivoryton factory was sold to a group of investors organized as Sohmer Holding Co., who continued to make pianos there until a lack of skilled workers and financial losses forced its closing in December 1988. In an effort to fill the backlog of orders, Sohmer president Tom Bradshaw opened a new facility in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. A retail showroom was maintained in Ivoryton. In 1989, the Sohmer company was sold to the Falcone Custom Grand Piano Company of Haverhill, Massachusetts.

References

Cox, Erin. "Labor Woes a Main Factor in Sohmer Closing," The Pictorial Gazette West, 3 (December 8, 1988), 1, 22.

Dolge, Alfred. Piano and their Makers. 1911; rpt. New York: Dover Publications, 1973.

Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos: A Social History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1954.

Musical Merchandise Review. "Sohmer Pianos Underway at Conn. Pratt Read," July 1983, 91.

The Music Trades. "Pratt, Read Acquires Sohmer & Co. Piano Maker,"August 1982, 18.

Piano and Organ Purchaser's Guide, 1907, 1930. Prial, Frank J. "Sohmer Piano, and 110 Years of Craft, will leave Astoria," New York Times, August 13, 1982, B1, B4.

Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries. 1956, New York: The Music Trades, 1956, 58 60.

Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte: Its Technical Development, and the Trade. 1890; rpt. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969.

Taylor, Carol. "Piano Family Stays in Tune," New York World Telegram & Sun, August 15, 1958.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Pratt Read Corp. Records (AC0320)

Chickering & Sons Records (AC0264)

Steinway Piano Co. Collection (AC0178)
Provenance:
Collection donated by Pratt Read Corporation, August 11, 1989.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical instrument manufacturing  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
advertising -- History  Search this
Keyboard instruments  Search this
Piano  Search this
advertising  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 20th century
Sales catalogs
Photographic prints
Advertisements
Photographs -- 1850-1900
Scrapbooks
Clippings
Journals (accounts)
Ledgers (account books)
Citation:
Sohmer & Co. Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0349
See more items in:
Sohmer & Co. Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0349
Online Media:

Advertising Records

Names:
Lake Placid Club  Search this
Sohmer, Hugo  Search this
Sohmer, William  Search this
Collection Author:
Falcone Custom Grand Pianos  Search this
Collection Collector:
Musical Instruments, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Collection Creator:
Sohmer & Company  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Clippings
Proof sheets
Sheet music
Reprints
Advertisements
Date:
1880-1985
Scope and Contents:
The Advertising, dating from 1880 to 1989, are by far the most comprehensive records of the collection. They are reflective of Sohmer & Co.'s heavy dependence on advertising to get its product before the people. The company advertisements represented range from the colorful cartoon advertisements featured in the magazine Puck in 1888 1890, to an undeveloped sketch by Harry Sohmer entitled: "New York Oddities, New York Certainties." [Series 7: Boxes OS 16 and OS 55 respectively.] Generally, all the ingredients for an advertising campaign from start to finish are present in these records. From the Art Work (i.e., photographs and sketches), to the Mechanicals (represented by the assemblage of art work, text, captions, layouts, and overlays), the concepts behind a campaign can be seen in the process of design development. Proof Sheets show the finished advertisement before publication, while Trade Paper and Newspaper Reprints and clippings show the advertisement as it appeared in print.

The Scrapbooks of Sohmer Advertisements include advertisements clipped from newspapers (primarily New York) and trade papers from 1883 through 1983. There are none for the years 1942 1945. Occasionally included within these scrapbooks are also the latest Sohmer catalog or booklet and clippings of editorial comments about the company's latest advertisements.

The scrapbooks of the years 1883 to 1903 primarily contain newsclippings relating to New York City politics and the 1897 nomination of Hugo Sohmer's brother William as mayoral candidate of the German faction of Tammany Hall. Other clippings relate to New York municipal elections, William Sohmer's political activities, and his appointment as city clerk in 1898. Interspersed with these articles, many of which are from German language publications such as the New York Plattduettsche Post, are clippings of Sohmer piano advertisements. Although all the scrapbooks are in very brittle condition and require careful handling, the earliest scrapbooks should be handled with particular caution due to their extremely critical condition.

The scrapbooks of the early 1900's continue to include news clippings about Sohmer & Co., e.g. regarding the move of their salesrooms in 1909, along with advertisement clippings. After c. 1922 scrapbooks primarily contain wholesale and retail advertisements, and fewer or no news clippings.

One undated scrapbook contains information for dealers about the Sohmer Piano Company. Sohmer also followed the advertisement campaigns of its competitors, as scrapbooks of competitor advertisements [OS FLDR 6 8] and a scrapbook with competitor ads and news clippings [OS 48] demonstrate.

The Scrapbooks covering the years 1953 through 1966 include schedules for advertisements, which are organized by the name of the newspaper in which the advertisement is to run, when it is to run, how many lines, and the cost per line; there are total costs and agency fees for each newspaper. The scrapbooks also include coupon advertising statistics and analyses, which are organized by media (i.e., newspaper or magazine), and in the following categories: number of inquiries, number of units sold, sale cost in dollars, advertising dollars spent, and advertising cost per sale.

Statistics on the pianos used as prizes on television game shows, such as "The Price is Right" and "Say When," can be found in the scrapbooks from 1959 through the 1960s. They include the date of broadcast, whether it was an evening or daytime show, the piano model, and whether it was purchased or contributed to the show.

The Scrapbook of Sohmer Advertising Mail Follow ups of 1935 include typed letters of thanks, testimonials, and marketing booklets. The trade paper reprints of advertisements are arranged numerically by piano model number, then alphabetically by name of campaign. Newspaper Reprints are arranged alphabetically by name of campaign. The Proof Sheets for dealer use, arranged numerically by their assigned numbers, were utilized by dealers to promote their store as well as Sohmer pianos. On these proofs was a request for copies of the advertisements as they appeared in print. A sampling of these is found in the Dealer Advertisements of 1948 1954.

The promotional campaign organized between Sohmer and pianist Edward J. McGinley in 1955 represents advertising in a microcosm. Included are letters to McGinley setting up a public demonstration entitled "Piano Playing Made Easy," preliminary design sketches of the advertisement, clippings of the advertisement, and a "Book of Official Record of Inquiries" about the demonstration.

The series also includes several items of miscellaneous advertisements such as a recording of a Sohmer commercial, a map of New York City, and gift wrapping paper with Sohmer advertisements.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Television  Search this
Municipal Election, New York City  Search this
Game shows  Search this
Sound -- Recording and reproducing  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Clippings -- 1880-1910
Proof sheets
Sheet music
Reprints
Advertisements -- 20th century
Advertisements
Collection Citation:
Sohmer & Co. Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0349, Series 6
See more items in:
Sohmer & Co. Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0349-ref133

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