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Len Spencer

Leonard Garfield Spencer (February 12, 1867 – December 15, 1914) was an early American recording artist. He began recording for the Columbia Phonograph Company, in 1889 or 1890. Between 1892 and 1897 he recorded extensively for the New Jersey Phonograph Company and its successor the United States Phonograph Company. He specialized in vaudeville sketches and comic songs, but also sang sentimental ballads popular at the time. He returned to Columbia in 1898 for an exclusive contract then began recording for Berliner Gramophone (disc) records in 1899 and continued with Victor and Columbia as discs became the dominant format in the early 1900s.

He began performing with banjoist Vess L. Ossman in 1901 and with Ada Jones in 1905. He is best remembered today for his vaudeville-style comic sketches, such as the "Arkansaw Traveler", combining clever turns of phrase, ironic elocutionary delivery, sound effects and music to create colorful dialogues featuring itinerant Southerners, auctioneers, circus barkers, and Irish, Jewish or Black Americans.

As the popularity of Len's style of humor waned in the latter part of the decade, he opened a booking agency called "Len Spencer's Lyceum" in New York. He died of a heart attack while working at the Lyceum on December 15, 1914.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1867 (Washington, D.C.), Died 1914 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1896 - 1925

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker, author, baritone vocal, performer, composer, adapter

Recordings (Results 51-75 of 812 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]818 7-in. 5/17/1901 That minstrel man of mine Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]818 10-in. 10/25/1902 That minstrel man of mine Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]819 7-in. 5/17/1901 The little old log cabin in the lane Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]819 10-in. 10/25/1902 The little old log cabin in the lane Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]820 7-in. 5/17/1901 Hot times on the levee Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]820 10-in. 6/26/1902 Hot times on the levee Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]820 12-in. 10/25/1902 Hot times on the levee Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]853 7-in. 6/11/1901 The fairy boat Len Spencer Male vocal solo and whistling, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]853 10-in. 6/11/1901 The fairy boat Len Spencer Male vocal solo and whistling, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]854 7-in. 6/11/1901 The wedding of the frog and the mouse Len Spencer Monologue, with vocal effects speaker, composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]855 7-in. 6/11/1901 Vilkins and his Dinah Len Spencer Male vocal solo and vocal effects vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]855 10-in. 6/11/1901 Vilkins and his Dinah Len Spencer Male vocal solo and vocal effects vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]856 7-in. 6/11/1901 The fable of the goat and the fox Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Recitation, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]856 10-in. 6/11/1901 The fable of the goat and the fox Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Recitation, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]857 7-in. 6/11/1901 Auction sale of household goods Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]857 10-in. 5/9/1902 Auction sale of household goods Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]857 12-in. 5/9/1902 Auction sale of household goods Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]858 7-in. 6/11/1901 A trip to the circus Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]858 10-in. 5/9/1902 A trip to the circus Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]858 12-in. 5/9/1902 A trip to the circus Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]859 7-in. 6/11/1901 Mother Goose and other rhymes Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Recitation, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]859 10-in. 5/8/1902 Mother Goose and other rhymes Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Recitation, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]859 12-in. 5/8/1902 Mother Goose and other rhymes Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Recitation, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]860 7-in. 6/11/1901 Scene at a dog fight Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Monologue, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]860 10-in. 4/12/1902 Scene at a dog fight Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Monologue, with vocal effects speaker  
(Results 51-75 of 812 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Spencer, Len," accessed October 22, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197.

Spencer, Len. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197.

"Spencer, Len." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 22 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197

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