James Whitcomb Riley
James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916) was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet" for his dialect works and his children's poetry. His poems tend to be humorous or sentimental. Of the approximately 1,000 poems Riley wrote, the majority are in dialect. His famous works include "Little Orphant Annie" and "The Raggedy Man".
Riley began his career writing verses as a sign maker and submitting poetry to newspapers. Thanks in part to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's endorsement, he eventually earned successive jobs at Indiana newspaper publishers during the late 1870s. He gradually rose to prominence during the 1880s through his poetry reading tours. He traveled a touring circuit first in the Midwest, and then nationally, appearing either alone or with other famous talents. During this period Riley's long-term addiction to alcohol began to affect his performing abilities, and he suffered financially as a result. However, once he extricated himself from a series of poorly negotiated contracts that sought to limit his earnings, he began to accumulate wealth and eventually became a financial success.
By the 1890s, Riley had become known as a bestselling author. His children's poems were compiled into a book illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy. Titled Rhymes of Childhood, it was his most popular and sold millions of copies. As a poet, Riley achieved an uncommon level of fame during his lifetime. He was honored with annual Riley Day celebrations around the United States and was regularly called on to perform readings at national civic events. He continued to write and hold occasional poetry readings until a stroke paralyzed his right arm in 1910.
Riley's chief legacy was his influence in fostering the creation of a Midwestern cultural identity and his contributions to the Golden Age of Indiana Literature. With other writers of his era, he helped create a caricature of Midwesterners and formed a literary community that produced works rivaling the established eastern literati. There are many memorials dedicated to Riley, including the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children.
Birth and Death Data: Born 1848 (Greenfield), Died 1916 (Indianapolis)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1910 - 1939
Roles Represented in DAHR: author, speaker, lyricist, composer
Recordings (Results 51-75 of 90 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||BVE-19180||10-in.||11/12/1926||Our hired girl||Sally Hamlin||Recitation||author|
|Victor||B-19181||10-in.||2/14/1917||Little orphant Annie||Sally Hamlin||Recitation||author|
|Victor||BVE-19181||10-in.||11/15/1928||Little orphant Annie||Sally Hamlin||Recitation, unaccompanied||author|
|Victor||B-20090||10-in.||6/26/1917||The prayer perfect||Alma Gluck||Soprano vocal solo, with harp and orchestra||author|
|Victor||B-20303||10-in.||6/27/1917||There, little girl, don't cry||Evan Williams||Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra||author|
|Victor||C-20304||12-in.||6/28/1917||Her beautiful hands||Evan Williams||Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra||author|
|Victor||B-30019||10-in.||4/25/1924||Little orphant Annie||Louise Homer||Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra||author|
|Victor||CVE-35199||12-in.||6/22/1926||When evening shadows fall||Northeastern Saengerbund of America||Male vocal chorus, unaccompanied||author|
|Victor||CVE-39493||12-in.||9/1/1927||The bear family||Mary Barbara||Recitation||author|
|Victor||CVE-39494||12-in.||9/1/1927||Little Mandy's Christmas tree||Mary Barbara||Recitation||author|
|Victor||CVE-39495||12-in.||9/1/1927||Little orphant Annie||Mary Barbara||Recitation||author|
|Victor||BVE-67795||10-in.||1/14/1931||On the way to school||Anna Howard||Female vocal solo, with piano||author|
|Victor||BS-75511||10-in.||3/13/1933||The prayer perfect||Richard Crooks||Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Victor||BVE-[Unnumbered 1927-09-01-02]||10-in.||9/1/1927||The happy little cripple||Mary Barbara||Recitation||author|
|Victor||BS-042788||10-in.||10/4/1939||The prayer perfect||Margaret Speaks||Female vocal solo, with piano||author|
|Victor||[Trial 1915-02-10-02]||Not documented||2/10/1915||A song of singing||H. L. Hunt||Vocal solo, with piano||author|
|Victor||[Trial 1915-03-22-02]||Not documented||3/22/1915||The man with his leg shot off||Grenville Kleiser||Recitation||author|
|Victor||[Trial 1916-07-31-12]||Not documented||7/31/1916||Portia's speech from 'Merchant of Venice'||Mrs. Arthur Phillips||Recitation||author|
|Victor||[Trial 1917-07-28-02]||Not documented||7/28/1917||Old October||John Payne||Recitation||author|
|Victor||[Trial 1922-12-28-01]||10-in.||12/28/1922||Little orphant Annie||Lydia Leighton||Female vocal solo||author|
|Victor||[Trial 1925-12-20-02]||10-in.||12/20/1925||Little Red Riding Hood||Marion Chase Schaeffer||Recitation||author|
|Victor||[Trial 1927-06-16-02]||10-in.||6/16/1927||Little orphan Annie||Ruth E. Carlsson||Recitation, unaccompanied||author|
|Columbia||38956||10-in.||7/18/1913||The raggedy man||Harry E. Humphrey||Recitation||author|
|Columbia||39003||10-in.||8/29/1913||The happy little cripple||Harry E. Humphrey||Recitation||author|
|Columbia||39047||10-in.||10/16/1913||An old sweetheart of mine||Harry E. Humphrey||Recitation||author|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Riley, James Whitcomb," accessed April 21, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102458.
Riley, James Whitcomb. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102458.
"Riley, James Whitcomb." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 21 April 2021.
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