Manuscript Collection





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, 15-014     



Jones, Gene (Gordon Gene)


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.)


Motion picture acting--20th century.

Darch, Robert R.

Pierpont, James, 1822-1893. Jingle bells



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):

[All labels in quotation marks are original to Gene Jones.] 12 boxes total


Box #  Folder #          Description

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.  [For a complete list of separated materials, please contact the archivist at



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. 


LPC  June 2008. Revised RKM  May 2011, November 2011, March 2012, April 2012; LPC February 2013; RKM  July 2013; RKM April 2014; RKM September 2014; RKM December 2017.