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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 101-125 of 812 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1383 10-in. 5/10/1902 Independence bell Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]1383 12-in. 5/10/1902 Independence bell Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1384 7-in. 5/10/1902 Kyarolina Jim Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1384 10-in. 5/10/1902 Kyarolina Jim Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]1384 12-in. 5/10/1902 Kyarolina Jim Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1385 7-in. 5/10/1902 Ole laughin' Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1385 10-in. 5/10/1902 Ole laughin' Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]1385 12-in. 5/10/1902 Ole laughin' Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1386 7-in. 5/10/1902 Old Ironsides Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1386 10-in. 5/10/1902 Old Ironsides Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]1386 12-in. 5/10/1902 Old Ironsides Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1685 7-in. 11/3/1902 Making the fiddle talk Len Spencer Monologue, with violin speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1685 10-in. 11/3/1902 Making the fiddle talk Len Spencer Monologue, with violin speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1710 7-in. 10/25/1902 On Emancipation Day Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1710 10-in. 10/25/1902 On Emancipation Day Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1711 7-in. 10/25/1902 My girl from Dixie Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1711 10-in. 10/25/1902 My girl from Dixie Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1827 10-in. 12/12/1902 Having fun with the orchestra Minstrels [Victor Records group] Minstrels performer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1900 7-in. 1/16/1903 C-H-I-C-K-E-N! That's the way to spell chicken Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1900 10-in. 1/16/1903 C-h-i-c-k-e-n, dat's the way to spell chicken Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1901 7-in. 1/16/1903 I want to be an actor lady Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1901 10-in. 1/16/1902 I want to be an actor lady Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1902 7-in. 1/16/1903 My friend from home Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1902 10-in. 1/16/1903 My friend from home Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1903 7-in. 1/16/1903 I take things easy Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
(Results 101-125 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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