Autographs, Celebrity

Included here are autographs of various celebrities who are not otherwise represented in this archive. An autographed sheet music of Al Jolson is included within his entry and there is another in the Harry Carroll entry. Some of the autographs collected on the music are not from vaudeville stars:

DAVIS, EDDIE, SHE CAME ROLLIN’ DOWN THE MOUNTAIN 1932 – (two different signed pieces) First is signed “Sincerely EDDIE DAVIS” and the second is “Best Wishes EDDIE DAVIS”. Cover of each shows EDDIE DAVIS smiling as cartoon pig-tailed girl falls down a mountain. Eddie Davis co-owned Leon and Eddie’s in New York, a night club that featured vaudeville on West 52nd Street, and was considered a great New York City landmark, finally closing in 1953. It had begun as a speakeasy and the gravel-voiced comic owner Davis used to lead the audience nightly in joining in this, his signature song. The rather sleazy club in its heyday was a place where you entertained garment industry bigwigs and people from out of town that you wanted to show a wild “insiders” New York time to, complete with booze, strippers and what have you. As the cover suggests Eddie Davis was outgoing and glad-handed and his club thrived for some thirty years.

GRAINGER, PERCY 1919 – COUNTRY GARDENS in BRITISH FOLK-MUSIC SETTINGS. Published by G. Schirmer, Inc., New York. Inscribed “To Betty Chadwick with friendly greetings from Percy Grainger”. Percy Aldridge Grainger (8 July 1882 – 20 February 1961) was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist. He played a prominent role in the revival of interest in British folk music in the early years of the 20th century. He also made many adaptations of other composers’ works. Although much of his work was experimental and unusual, the piece with which he is most generally associated is his piano arrangement of the folk-dance tune Country Gardens which is our piece and on which we have his autograph.

LEONARD, DUKE – SO IS MY LOVE FOR YOU 1944 – Sheet music by Duke Leonard (1901-1961), Bob Cavanaugh, Lew Cobey. Featured by DICK HAYMES who appears on the cover. Inscribed “To Savitz Family, Best of Luck, Duke Leonard. Leonard is best known for his 1946 hit tune Josephine, Please No Lean On The Bell recorded by Eddie Cantor with Rafael Mendez’ Orchestra. That song also had good success for Italian comedian and orchestra leader Louis Prima who termed it Josephina Please No Leana On The Bell. Other minor hits included Light a Candle in the Chapel, recorded by many artists including Frank Sinatra.

MARTUCCI, EMILIO and QUINTILIA BELLEVOICE MARTUCCI (double autograph), DON’T KEEP ME WAITING and LET ME DREAM OF YOU (OH SWEETHEART) 1926 – From the sheet music archive of Martucci Songs at 598 Union St., San Francisco. The latter song was introduced by VINTON LA FERRERA, Leader of the the St. Francis Hotel Orchestra. The “2 songs in 1” music was autographed on bot
h sides by the composer of the words and music (Emilio) and the lyric soprano. She was usually accompanied by the composer at the piano. So far as can be determined they never achieved major fame.

MORSE, ELLA MAE, THE BLACKSMITH BLUES 1952 – by Jack Homes. Recorded by ELLA MAE MORSE for Capitol Records. Dedicated “L
ove to Paul Biesehard Ella Mae Morse”. Ella Mae Morse (September 12, 1924 – October 16, 1999) was an American popular music singer of the 1940s and 1950s who performed with Freddie Slack and His Orchestra and who introduced a great deal of African-American styled up-tempo rhythm and blues music to white audiences. She is considered a significant forerunner of rock and roll with songs such as The Blacksmith Blues. Born in Mansfield, Texas, she was already a big band singer with Jimmy Dorsey by age 14 and hit record maker with Slack at age 17 with the phenomenally successful Cow Cow Boogie and the hip swinging tune Mr. Five by Five. Thus, she represents a bridge between big band singing, r and b and early rock. Slack’s style and Don Raye’s compositions were basically white music in a black style and were often covered by black artists instead of the other way around. Ella Mae never became a huge star but her amazing versatility from boogie woogie to pop ballads to proto-rock to country has made her a cause celebre among historians of rock.

ROTH, LILLIAN, BELOVED 1928 – by Gus Kahn, Joe Sanders. Cover photo LILLIAN ROTH. Actual autograph says “To Trossy, My best always, Lillian”. Published by Irving Berlin. Lillian Roth (December 13, 1910 – May 12, 1980) was an American singer and actress. She was the subject of the film biography I’ll Cry Tomorrow, in which she was portrayed by Oscar-nominated Susan Hayward. Performing in movies and on stage from the age of 6 she became a duo with sister Anne known as the Roth Kids and they and Lillian will eventually have their own listing in our vaudeville archive when their profile is finished. Her most famous song hit, introduced by her, was When The Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along. She became a major film star and vaudeville performer even headlining at the Palace Theatre, the nadir of show business venues, but her career became overshadowed by personal misfortune and alcoholism. She was married at least five times.

John Sylvanus Thompson, Famous Piano Teacher and Methods Book Composer, who spent his last years in Tucson, Arizona


THOMPSON, JOHN SYLVANUS – FOLK TUNE SONATA 1960. John Sylvanus Thompson (1889-1963) was a famous teacher of piano pedagogy and a promising American concert pianist and composer in the 1910s, born in Williamstown, Pennsylvania. His American and European tours brought him considerable renown but were also grueling tours de force that severely taxed the fragile health of the young performer. His talent was such that despite his delicate health he was able to head music conservatories in Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Kansas City. His piano teaching methods booklets: Modern Course for the Piano, Teaching Little Fingers to Play and Easiest Piano Course are published by The Willis Music Company as is t
his book, a collection of traditional folk compositions. Thompson moved to Tucson, Arizona for his health ca. 1957 and the gentle climate but kept up his productivity and teaching, passing away in 1963. This booklet of songs from 1960 is accompanied by a hand-written collection of two halves of a recital that he organized, most likely for his students. A collection of songs for the recital is written on his personal stationery which is headed John Thompson, 7033 Via Pisa, Route 6, Box 267B, Tucson, Arizona. This is an address in the Tucson Foothills, near Tohono Chul Park, the ca. 1900 square foot home having been built in 1957. The composition is dedicated “To Pat for some fun on the keyboard. John Thompson”. Thompson’s “method” books influenced thousands of students in America and made him one of the most respected piano teachers in the country for teaching concert techniques and blending his own compositions with traditional and composed works.

VOORLIS, BABE, BACK IN THE LAND OF A MILLION SMILES 1945- Babe Voorlis was, we believe, an ice skater with the show Spinning World of Ice, held at the music hall in the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The song was coposed by Elisabeth Chandler, both words and music, and she published the piece in New York City at 26 E. 95th St. The star of the show was HERTHE GARON, “Poetess of the Ice” . Dedication reads “To Faye, My very best Skating Wishes, Babe Voorlis, 1945”. Back
cover features Alis and Patty Foster, Youngest Professional Figure Skaters in the World. Herthe or Hertha Garon became Austria’s junior ladies champion.

WILLIS, FORREST L., YOU’VE FORGOTTEN 1927 – Composer FORREST L. WILLIS simply signed this piece of music published by The Empire Music Co. at 562 Broadway in Albany, New York. It was featured by JACK SYMONDS AND HIS HOTEL VAN CURLER ORCHESTRA broadcasting from WGY, Albany. His accomplishments as a composer are not otherwise known.

Topics: Autographs