Today was an exciting milestone for two of our student assistants working on inventorying sheet music from the John Arpin Archives. In collaboration with librarians and staff from Bibliographic Services, the 1000th piece of sheet music was entered into the cataloguing system. It won’t appear for another few weeks in the online catalogue, but we marked the event with a small celebration. A special thanks goes out to our two diligent student assistants Sabira and Alana!
The sheet music catalogued as JAC 01000 is Notoriety by Kathryn L. Widmer. A one step, this was published by Jerome H. Remick in 1910.
According to Ragtime historians Reginald Pitta and Bill Edwards, Widmer was born in Barton, New York to a professional sign painter Adolphus Rudolf Widmer (originally from Switzerland) and Pennsylvania-born mother Kathryn Widmer. In the 1900 census of New York City, Widmer was listed as working as a musician. By 1910 the census identified her as a music clerk, possible working for Jerome H. Remick, who would publish “Notoriety” in 1913.
According to Edwards, Notoriety:
[u]nlike many of the Tin Pan Alley pieces of simple construction that were flooding the market at that time, Notoriety represented a great deal of skill and thought, and actually was fairly progressive in its makeup. It was a good seller and popular enough to find its way onto many piano rolls.
In 1914, Widmer published another piece “Buenos Dios” in the Maxixe dance genre popular at the time. She died relatively young at the age of 37, contracting the Spanish Flue during the 1919 pandemic.
A 1914 recording of the Notoriety Rag can be found here, courtesy of the Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings and the Library of Congress.
A current list of catalogued material from the John Arpin Sheet Music Collection can be found here.
Bill Edwards. Kathryn L. Widmer (August 9?, 1881 to January 8, 1919). Ragtime composers : Female Ragtime Composers. Available at: http://www.ragpiano.com/comps/kwidmer.shtml
Van Eps Trio. Matrix B-14420. Notoriety rag. Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings Available at: http://victor.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/matrix/detail/200014697/B-14420-Notoriety_rag
Maxixe (dance). Wikipedia.org. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxixe_%28dance%29