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Gene Jones Collection

Accession Numbers

07-019, 08-009, 09-009, 10-009, 10-044, 10-048, 11-014, 11-038, 13-017, 14-017

Type of Material

Manuscript Materials, Books, Sheet Music, Sound Recordings, Photographs, Serials


Physical Description

7.42 linear feet manuscripts, including newspaper clippings, correspondence, books used for manuscript research, and manuscript materials on Bob Darch and James Pierpont (12 boxes total).  371 books, 313 serials, 3 trade catalogs, 663 performance documents, 1,814 sound recordings (including 1,274 audio discs, 450 audio tapes, 104 CDs), 60 video recordings, 40 photographs, 1,965 pieces of sheet music, 5 artifacts




All materials in this collection are subject to standard national and international copyright laws. Center staff are able to assist with copyright questions for this material.


Provenance and Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the Center by Mr. Gene Jones of New York City in five installments: April/May of 2008, August of 2008, August of 2009, September of 2010, September of 2011, January/February of 2012, July/August 2013, and September 2014.

Subject/Index Terms

  • Jones, Gene (Gordon Gene)
  • Jasen, David A.
  • Ragtime music
  • Ragtime music -- History and criticism
  • Broadway (New York, N.Y.)
  • Theater
  • Motion picture acting--20th century.
  • Darch, Robert R.
  • Pierpont, James, 1822-1893. Jingle bells
  • Jazz

Agency History/Biographical Sketch

Gene Jones, originally from Olla, Louisiana, is a music historian and actor now living in New York City. With David A. Jasen, he has written three books pertaining to ragtime and early jazz: Spreadin Rhythm Around, That American Rag, and Black Bottom Stomp. He is also the author of monographs The Original Dixieland Jazz Band and Tom Turpin: His Life and Music and the ragtime review, Fables in Slang. Mr. Jones acting career includes appearances in Broadway and off-Broadway shows, as well as numerous movies and documentaries. He is a member of the New York Sheet Music Society.


Scope and Content

This collection consists of research materials collected by Gene Jones and David A Jasen and used to write three books: Spreadin Rhythm Around (Schirmer Books 1998), That American Rag (Schirmer Books 2000), and Black Bottom Stomp (Routledge 2002). The manuscript papers consist of handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, articles photocopied from books, journals and magazines, correspondence, photographs and database printouts. Also included is one uncorrected advance proof copy of That American Rag. The research is divided between geographical location of the early jazz movements and specific research on individual artists, composers, and publishers. Obituaries of jazz and ragtime artists make up .42 linear feet of the collection.

Also included in the collection are books, trade catalogs, serials, performance documents, and sound recordings related to the subjects of ragtime, popular music, folklore, and early jazz. There are video recordings, artifacts, original sheet music, sheet music photocopies, photographs, postcards, mail-order catalog auction series, Remember That Song serial series, 124 New York Sheet Music Society Newsletters, and manuscript materials on Ragtime Bob Darch and James Pierpont, composer of Jingle Bells.


Collection Contents (Folder/Box List)

Box 1 Manuscripts
Folder 1 “Rag Book Helpers”
Folder 2 ”Sedalia 1994”
Folder 3 ”St. Louis 1897-1922”
Folder 4 ”Missouri – General”
Folder 5 ”Kansas City 1899-1918”
Folder 6 ”Northeast – General”
Folder 7 “Boston 1903-1929”
Folder 8 ”Williamsport, PA 1909-1914”
Folder 9 ”Washington, D.C. 1902-1915”
Folder 10 ”South – General”
Folder 11 ”Nashville 1898-11912”
Folder 12 ”New Orleans 1897-1917”
Folder 13 ”New York City – General”
Folder 14 “Ted Snyder/Seminary Music – Watterson, Berlin & Snyder”
Folder 15 “Jos. W. Stern/Edward B. Marks”
Folder 16 “Remick”
Folder 17 “Witmark”
Folder 18 “Jack Mills”
Folder 19 “Robbins”
Folder 20 “West – General”
Folder 21 “San Francisco 1905-1917; 1924-1929”
Folder 22 “WA (Washington) Composers – from Dan Grimstead”
Folder 23 “Dallas 1905-1914 – Ft. Worth & Galveston”
Folder 24 “Publishers”
Folder 25 “Introduction – General Rag”
Folder 26 “Research Tools – Websites, collections, etc.”
Folder 27 “Revival”
Folder 28 “Performers”
Folder 29 “Dance”
Folder 30 “International”
Folder 31 “Mid-America – General”

Box 2 Manuscripts
Folder 1 “Chicago 1897-1926; 1930-1936”
Folder 2 “Cincinnati 1897-1916”
Folder 3 “Cleveland 1906-1918; 1921-1929”
Folder 4 “Indianapolis 1898-1917”
Folder 5 “Louis Armstrong
Folder 6 “Eubie Blake”
Folder 7 “Spencer Williams”
Folder 8 “J. Mayo Williams”
Folder 9 “Clarence Williams”
Folder 10 “Cole and Johnson”
Folder 11 “Shep Edmonds/Cecil Mack”
Folder 12 “Gussie Davis”
Folder 13 “J. Tim Bryman”
Folder 14 “Ford Dabney/ James Reese Europe/Will Vodery”
Folder 15 “Henry Cramer/Turner Layton”
Folder 16 “Will Marion Cook”
Folder 17 “Shelton Brooks”
Folder 18 “Perry Bradford”
Folder 19 “James A. Bland”
Folder 20 “Scott Joplin”
Folder 21 “Irving Jones”
Folder 22 “James P. Johnson”
Folder 23 “Ernest Hogan”
Folder 24 “W. C. Handy”
Folder 25 “Duke Ellington”
Folder 26 “Andy Razaf”
Folder 27 “Maceo Pinkard”
Folder 28 “Jelly Roll Morton”
Folder 29 “Joe Jordon”
Folder 30 “Bert Williams”
Folder 31 “Fats Waller”
Folder 32 “Jo Trent”
Folder 33 “Willie the Lion Smith”
Folder 34 “Chris Smith”
Folder 35 “Luckey Roberts”
Folder 36 Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Box 3 Manuscripts
Folder 1 “Obituaries” A-H
Folder 2 “Obituaries” J-W
Folder 3 New York Sheet Music Society Meeting Notes 1983-1986
Folder 4 Script: Dividing the Estate
Folder 5 Fables in Slang: A Ragtime Revue based on the writing of George Ade, written by Gene Jones (also includes 2 reviews, one promotional mailer, and CD Demo of songs)
Folder 6 Song Contracts for James Brockman
Folder 7 Theatrical Play: Back from the Front
Folder 8 CD transfer copy of Legends & Songwriters: L.A. Concert, February 25, 1941 (4 CDs)
VHS tape of Gods and Monsters and Women of Tin Pan Alley

Box 4 Miscellaneous Manuscripts
Folder 1 Book Photocopies - The Music of Charles Leslie Johnson by Philip A. Stewart, The College Widow by George Ade, A Man of Many Talents: The Life and Works of Jimmy Blythe by Peter Muir
Folder 2 Performers - Newspaper Clippings (A-F)
Folder 3 Performers – Newspaper Clippings (G-P)
Folder 4 Performers – Newspaper Clippings (R-Y)
Folder 5 Subjects: Blues
Folder 6 Subjects: Broadway & Theatre
Folder 7 Subjects: Country Music
Folder 8 Subjects: Film
Folder 9 Subjects: Jazz
Folder 10 Subjects: Miscellaneous
Folder 11 Subjects: New Orleans, LA
Folder 12 Subjects: Ragtime

Box 5 Manuscripts – James Pierpont
Folder 1 “James Pierpont”

Box 6 Manuscripts – Darch, Bob
Folder 1 Manuscripts, Darch, Bob (newspaper clippings, correspondence, notes, photocopies of research, expenses for research)
Folder 2 Manuscripts, Darch, Bob (newspaper clippings, correspondence, notes, photocopies of research, expenses for research)
Folder 3 Manuscripts, Darch, Bob: Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival, 2001 and 2002
Folder 4 Manuscripts, Darch, Bob: “St. Louis Historical Darch” (photocopies)
Folder 5 Manuscript Photographs, Darch, Bob: Photographs (32 items)
Notebook Bob Darch Timeline: Manuscript Notebook with Timeline and Contracts (1920-1999; American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada contracts March 2, 1957 – 1998, indexes by year; tour contracts and bookings; scattered newspaper clippings, flyers, correspondence)

Box 7 Mail-Order Auction of Sheet Music Catalogs, Oct. 2, 1985 – Jan. 5, 2007 - 125 items

Box 8 New York Sheet Music Society Newsletter, March 1982 – Vol. 18, No. 3A, Dec. 1997 - 124 issues

Box 9 That American Rag: The Story of Ragtime from Coast to Coast, David A. Jasen and Gene Jones; uncorrected advance proof copy

Box 10 Manuscripts – Books Used for Research Materials
Black Musical Theatre in New York, 1890-1915, dissertation by Thomas Laurence Riis
Louis’ Children: American Jazz Singers by Leslie Gourse
Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazz Women by Linda Dahl
Shining Trumpets: A History of Jazz by Rudi Blesh
Anything Goes: The World of Popular Music by David Dachs
Vaudeville: From the Honky-Tonks to the Palace by Joe Laure, Jr.
A Pictorial History of Jazz: People and Places from New Orleans to Modern Jazz by Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer, Jr.
The Ziegfeld Follies by Marjorie Farnsworth

Box 11 Sheet Music Photocopies
216 copies. Photocopies of sheet music used by Mr. Jones in his various
research or theatrical pursuits. Filed alphabetically by title. [Please contact
archivist for list of titles.]

Box 12 Playbills and Artifacts
53 playbills from non-musical productions and 5 buttons

Materials Cataloged Separately

Per Center policy, certain formats are cataloged separately for accessibility. These include secondary serials, Reading Room books, rare books, sheet music, photographs, performance programs and playbills, trade catalogs, and sound recordings. The Reading Room books are searchable through the MTSU Walker Library catalog, all other materials are searchable through the Center’s website database or in-house.



Manuscripts are located with other manuscript materials on the mezzanine filed by accession number. Reading room books, serials, sheet music, trade catalogs, iconographic items, performance documents and sound recordings have been separated from the manuscripts and cataloged in CPM InMagic database and searchable through the website.


Related Materials

The Center holds other manuscript collections pertaining to jazz and ragtime, notably the Brad McCuen Collection, 97-023 and the Ray Avery Collection, 86-009. Other jazz-related manuscript interviews, lectures, and audio and video tapes may be searched in the Archives database. Special collection sheet music, performance documents, trade catalogs, photographs, sound recordings and reading room materials related to the subjects of jazz or ragtime are also held by the Center and searchable through the CPM website database or MTSU Walker Library catalog.


Center for Popular Music, Middle Tennessee State University


Jones, Gene (Gordon Gene), Jasen, David A., Darch, Robert R., Pierpont, James, 1822-1893. Jingle bells, Jazz, Ragtime music


Jones, Gene


Jasen, David A.

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