Collection Items

  • Biography
    Scott Joplin, 1868-1917 Biography. Biography. Scott Joplin's is the name perhaps most associated with ragtime. Born sometime between the summer of 1867 and mid-January 1868, Joplin's career took him from a modest homestead on the Texas-Arkansas border to New York's Tin Pan Alley New York City, where he would eventually try his luck with composers like a young Irving Berlin. Although he continued composing until just before...
  • Biography
    Ben Harney, 1872-1938 Biography. Biography. Ben R. Harney has been credited as the musician who did the most to introduce ragtime to audiences throughout the world. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1871, Harney's racial origins have long been debated. Some people, among them Eubie Blake, claimed that he was a black man passing as white. Others maintained that Harney was a white man so thoroughly inspired by...
  • Biography
    John Stark, 1841-1927 Biography. Biography. John Stillwell Stark was born in Kentucky in 1841. His family moved to Indiana, where he grew up on a farm.
  • Biography
    Joseph Lamb, 1887-1960 Biography. Biography. Joseph Lamb was born in Montclair, New Jersey, in December 1877. A family man who was an anomaly in the contemporary music world, Lamb shunned the ups and downs of show business for a steady job in business. Nevertheless, Lamb is remembered alongside Scott Joplin and James Scott as one of the three great ragtime proponents.
  • Biography
    James Scott, 1885-1938 Biography. Biography. Born in Neosho, Missouri, in February 1885, James Scott was the son of former slaves. After taking music lessons as a boy, he was given his first piano at the age of 16. Scott spent the next several years playing in bands and saloons and working as a song-plugger for the Dumars Music Company in Carthage, Missouri. This relationship led to Dumars'...
  • Biography
    May Aufderheide, 1888-1972 Biography. Biography. The participation of women in the world of ragtime should not come as a great surprise. May Aufderheide was perhaps the most famous woman to pen rags. A finishing school graduate, she was born in Indianapolis in May 1890. She learned to play the classics on the piano from her aunt May Kolmer, a noted musician, and was treated to the best...