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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 201-225 of 812 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-455 10-in. 9/25/1903 Sing hallelujah! Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor A-456 7-in. 9/25/1903 Just kiss yourself goodbye Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor B-456 10-in. 9/25/1903 Just kiss yourself goodbye Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor B-457 10-in. 9/25/1903 School of acting S. H. Dudley ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor A-458 7-in. 9/25/1903 The Arkansaw traveler Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with banjo speaker  
Victor B-458 10-in. 9/25/1903 The Arkansaw traveler Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with banjo speaker  
Victor B-459 10-in. 9/25/1903 The piccolo player's reward Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Monologue, with banjo speaker, author  
Victor A-531 7-in. 10/9/1903 Tingelingeling Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor B-531 10-in. 10/9/1903 Tingelingeling Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor B-532 10-in. 10/9/1903 Nothing new under the sun S. H. Dudley ; Len Spencer Male vocal duet vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor A-533 7-in. 10/9/1903 Auction sale of a music store Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Monologue, with violin, piano, banjo, and ocarina speaker, author  
Victor B-533 10-in. 10/9/1903 Auction sale of a music store Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Monologue, with violin, piano, banjo, and ocarina speaker, author  
Victor A-633 7-in. 11/5/1903 Banjo 'Lize Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal, author  
Victor B-633 10-in. 11/5/1903 Banjo 'Lize Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal, author  
Victor C-633 12-in. 11/5/1903 Banjo Lize, from New Orleans Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal, author  
Victor B-1025 10-in. 2/6/1904 Clancey's prize waltz contest Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with orchestra speaker, author  
Victor C-1025 12-in. 2/6/1904 Clancey's prize waltz contest Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with orchestra speaker, author  
Victor B-1026 10-in. 2/6/1904 Rehearsal of the Squashtown orchestra Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with orchestra speaker  
Victor C-1026 12-in. 2/6/1904 Rehearsal of the Squashtown orchestra Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with orchestra speaker  
Victor B-1072 10-in. 3/3/1904 The flogging scene Len Spencer Dramatic scene, with orchestra speaker  
Victor C-1072 12-in. 3/3/1904 The flogging scene Len Spencer Dramatic scene, with orchestra speaker  
Victor B-1160 10-in. 3/24/1904 Pumpernickel's silver wedding Len Spencer Monologue, with orchestra speaker, author  
Victor C-1160 12-in. 3/24/1904 Pumpernickel's silver wedding Len Spencer Monologue, with orchestra speaker, author  
Victor B-1197 10-in. 4/7/1904 Con Clancey and the whistling newsboy Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with banjo speaker, author  
Victor C-1197 12-in. 4/7/1904 Con Clancey and the whistling newsboy Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with banjo speaker, author  
(Results 201-225 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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