Artie Matthews

Artie Matthews (November 15, 1888 – October 25, 1958) was an American songwriter, pianist, and ragtime composer.

Artie Matthews was born in Braidwood, Illinois; his family moved to Springfield, Illinois in his youth. He learned to play piano, mostly popular songs and light classics, until he heard ragtime played by a pianist named Banty Morgan about 1905. Matthews was fascinated and immersed himself in ragtime and started playing and writing numbers in the style. In 1908 he moved to the ragtime center of St. Louis, Missouri, which would be one of his bases, frequently alternating with Chicago, Illinois. He worked as a pianist, arranger, and wrote music for local theater productions.

In early 1913 music publisher John Stark heard Matthews and offered him 50 dollars each for any original rags he submitted for publication. Matthews also worked as an arranger for Starks.

In 1916 Artie Matthews moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he first worked as a church organist. In 1921 Matthews and his wife Anna Howard founded the Cosmopolitan School of Music, a music school for African Americans, where Matthews taught until his death. Among Matthews students was Frank Foster, who would become the principal arranger for the Count Basie orchestra.

Some rank Artie Matthews with Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb, and James Scott as one of the finest and most sophisticated ragtime composers. His most famous rags are the "Pastime Rags", numbered 1 to 5, the latter of which was performed at one point by Lu Watters, with the Yerba Buena Jazz Band. His 1912 Baby Seals Blues was one of the first published Blues. His Weary Blues remains a standard by Dixieland and New Orleans jazz bands.

Birth and Death Data: Born November 15, 1888 (Braidwood), Died October 25, 1958 (Cincinnati)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1921 - 1938

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-95142 10-in. 9/26/1935 Weary blues Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-026859 10-in. 9/12/1938 Weary blues Erskine Hawkins Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-030321 10-in. 11/28/1938 Weary blues Tommy Ladnier Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia 80114 10-in. 12/21/1921 Birmingham blues Johnny Dunn’s Original Jazz Hounds Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia 80151 10-in. 1/20/1922 Birmingham blues Edith Wilson Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W142003 10-in. 4/12/1926 Weary blues Parenti's Liberty Syncopators Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W144761 10-in. 10/14/1927 Weary stomp Dixieland Blue Blowers ; Curtis Mosby Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh S-70949 10-in. Oct. 1922 Birmingham blues Thomas Waller Piano solo composer  
OKeh S-71528 10-in. May 1923 The weary blues Clarence Williams Piano solo composer  
OKeh W80863 10-in. 5/11/1927 Weary blues Louis Armstrong ; Hot Five Jazz/dance ensemble composer  
Brunswick C791-C793 10-in. 4/22/1927 Weary blues Black Bottom Stompers ; Johnny Dodds Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick C1152-C1153½ 10-in. 10/2/1927 Weary blues Hotel Gibson Orchestra ; Ray Miller Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick A20-A22 10-in. 5/7/1924 The weary blues Vic Meyers Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Matthews, Artie," accessed April 20, 2024,

Matthews, Artie. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from

"Matthews, Artie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 20 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier


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