The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Mississippi Historical Music Scores
Collection Number: M332
Volume: 2 items
American music publishing, which began in earnest during the 1890's, is considered to be one of the first industries to use market research and marketing to define their products and to increase sales. The commercial center of the music publishing industry and popular songwriting began in Manhattan, NY. "Tin Pan Alley" was the nickname given to the area between West 28th Street and 6th Ave., where many newly established popular music publishers had their offices. Eventually, Tin Pan Alley became the vernacular for all publishers of popular American sheet music, regardless of their geographical locations.
The number of copies of sheet music sold or, otherwise disseminated, determined a song's popularity. As a result, publishers began to take great care with the graphic design of the cover art. At the turn of the century, a song's front cover became a significant element in the marketing and selling of sheet music to the populace. Furthermore, it was the publishing houses who directed many composers as to the style of music to compose. As a result, music composing and lyric writing became recognized as legitimate occupations, rather than art forms exclusively. Print remained the chief mass medium for music until the mid-1920's when wax cylinder recordings superseded sheet music as the principal home entertainment.
Among the composers and lyricists included in this collection are:
Over the course of his career, lyricist Ballard MacDonald (1882-1935) also worked with George Gershwin and is credited with writing the original lyrics to "Beautiful Ohio,"(1918) the official song of the state of Ohio.
Carroll & Fields:
Composer Harry Carroll (1892-1962) began his career as a self taught pianist in movie theaters, cafes and vaudeville. He also found work as an arranger in Tin Pan Alley. In 1912, the Schuberts hired him to supply songs for some of their shows. He collaborated with Arthur Fields on his first hit "On the Mississippi" which was featured in the show The Whirl of Society. He wrote several Broadway stage scores and a popular favorite, "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows." He was elected a member of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame. Carroll & Fields were also a performance team as well as songwriters. No biographical information is available for Arthur Fields at this time.
Polish born Jack Yellen (1892-1991) started out writing songs for Sophie Tucker and eventually ended up as co-owner of Ager-Yellen-Bernstien Music Company. Yellen is credited for the creation of the popular song, "Happy Days Are Here Again." Yellen also wrote the song "Ain't She Sweet" and numerous screenplays for Hollywood. His songwriting relationship with Sophie Tucker lasted until the 1960s.
Abe Olman (1888-1984) started out as a song demonstrater before becoming a composer and publisher. He established La Salle Music Company and also wrote early movie musicals. He is credited for writing the song "Oh, Johnny, Oh."
This collection contains two pieces of sheet music from early popular music publishing from 1912 and 1921 respectively. These two songs are representative of nostalgic and romantic themes typical of that era such as the Mississippi River, the riverboat, and Mississippi life.
Item one is sheet music titled "On The Mississippi." (1912) The words are attributed to Ballard MacDonald and the music composition to Carroll & Fields. The cover artist was "Starmer." The publisher is listed as: Shapiro Music Publishers, Cor[ner of] Broadway and Thirty Ninth Street, New York. The cover also provides a photo of the "Mitchell Girls."
Item two is sheet music for "Mississippi Cradle." (1921) Listed as a waltz, Jack Yellen is credited for writing the lyrics and Abe Olman is credited as composer for the song. The cover artist was "Van Doorn Morgan." The publisher is listed as Forster Music Publisher Inc., 235 South Wabash Ave., Chicago.
This collection would be of interest to vocalists, musicians, music historians, or those researchers interested in songs representing perceptions of historical Mississippi or the history of graphic arts, advertising and music publishing.
Dates: 1921, 1922, 1926, 1929
Volume: 4 items
Provenance: Materials in this accession were given by Clint Correll, via Nancy Kaul.
Form of Material:
Four music scores, with lyrics:
1. “Swanee River Moon” (Words and music by H. Pitman Clarke, 1921)
2. “Mississippi Ripples” (by James F. Hanley and Mary Earl, 1922)
3. “The Little White House at the end of Honeymoon Lane” (Book, lyrics, and music by Eddie Dowling and James F. Hanley, 1926)
4. “I’m Hopin’ to Open an Old Garden Gate, Down in Dixie Land” (Words by Mel Brewster & Hyman Cheiffetz; music by Hymon Cheiffetz, 1929)