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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 76-100 of 812 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]860 12-in. 5/9/1902 Scene at a dog fight Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Monologue, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1101 7-in. 11/23/1901 The Arkansaw traveler Charles D'Almaine ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with violin speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1101 10-in. 11/23/1901 The Arkansaw traveler Charles D'Almaine ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with violin speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1102 7-in. 11/23/1901 The stuttering monologist Charles D'Almaine ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with violin speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1102 10-in. 11/23/1901 The stuttering monolougist Charles D'Almaine ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with violin speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1103 7-in. 11/23/1901 Marty Maloney's wake Charles D'Almaine ; Len Spencer Monologue, with violin speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1103 10-in. 11/23/1901 Marty Maloney's wake Charles D'Almaine ; Len Spencer Monologue, with violin speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1104 7-in. 11/23/1901 Con Clancy's christening Charles D'Almaine ; Len Spencer Monologue, with violin speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1104 10-in. 11/23/1901 Con Clancy's christening Charles D'Almaine ; Len Spencer Monologue, with violin speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1105 7-in. 11/23/1901 The newsboy's Christmas Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Monologue, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1105 10-in. 11/23/1901 The newsboy's Christmas Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Monologue, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1106 7-in. 11/23/1901 The night before Christmas Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Recitation, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1106 10-in. 11/23/1901 The night before Christmas Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Recitation, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1107 7-in. 11/23/1901 Auction sale of Christmas toys Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1107 10-in. 11/23/1901 Auction sale of Christmas toys Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1148 7-in. 12/14/1901 Auction sale at a bird and animal store Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1148 10-in. 12/14/1901 Auction sale of a bird and animal store Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]1148 12-in. 5/8/1902 Auction sale at a bird and animal store Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1149 7-in. 12/14/1901 The bouncer at the Blazing Rag Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with comic vocal solo and piano speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1149 10-in. 12/14/1901 The bouncer at the blazing rag Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with comic vocal solo and piano speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]1149 12-in. 5/8/1902 The bouncer at the Blazing Rag Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with comic vocal solo and piano speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1381 10-in. 5/9/1902 Daybreak at Calamity Farm Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1382 10-in. 5/9/1902 The passing of a circus parade Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]1382 12-in. 5/9/1902 The passing of a circus parade Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1383 7-in. 5/10/1902 Independence bell Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
(Results 76-100 of 812 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Spencer, Len," accessed October 24, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197.

Spencer, Len. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 24, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197.

"Spencer, Len." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 24 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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