Image Source: Wikipedia

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 151-175 of 812 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2109 7-in. 3/21/1903 The 23rd Psalm Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2109 10-in. 3/21/1903 The Twenty-Third Psalm Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2110 7-in. 3/21/1903 Abe Roginsky's ball Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2110 10-in. 3/21/1903 Abe Roginsky's ball Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2111 7-in. 3/21/1903 Our little nipper Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2111 10-in. 3/21/1903 Our little nipper Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2112 7-in. 3/21/1903 The Sermon on the Mount Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2112 10-in. 3/21/1903 The Sermon on the Mount Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2113 7-in. 3/21/1903 Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2113 10-in. 3/21/1903 Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2114 7-in. 3/21/1903 Talmage on infidelity Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2114 10-in. 3/21/1903 Talmage on infidelity Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2115 7-in. 3/21/1903 Ingersoll at the tomb of Napoleon Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2115 10-in. 3/21/1903 Ingersoll at the tomb of Napoleon Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2170 7-in. 4/17/1903 Portions of the last speech of President McKinley Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2170 10-in. 4/17/1903 Portions of the last speech of President McKinley Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2171 7-in. 4/17/1903 The piccolo player's reward Len Spencer Monologue speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2171 10-in. 4/17/1903 The piccolo player's reward Len Spencer Monologue speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3374 10-in. 5/17/1901 The colored major Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3375 10-in. 5/17/1901 Coon, coon, coon Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3376 10-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-]3377 10-in. 5/17/1901 The little old log cabin Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3378 10-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-]3456 10-in. 6/11/1901 The fairy boat Len Spencer Male vocal solo and whistling, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3457 10-in. 6/11/1901 The wedding of the frog and the mouse Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Monologue, with vocal effects and male vocal duet(?) speaker  
(Results 151-175 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

Feedback

Send the Editors a message about this record.