Acknowledgments: Berliner Gramophone

Berliner Gramophone Records: American Issues, 1892-1900, compiled by Paul Charosh

 The first entries in this discography were made during the late 1960s from a small group of discs in my own collection, and I hoped to complete the project by inspecting company catalogues, supplements, and other contemporary paper materials. My plans to work in this manner were abandoned when it became evident that such available items were few in number and dated largely from the later period, 1897-1900. So, I turned for help to archives whose holdings included specimens of the discs and to private collectors. I am still not able to present a complete discography, and concluded years ago that such a goal is unrealistic. With about seventy percent of the universe of data at hand, I think it is time to publish what I have and thank those who provided it.

The acknowledgement section of a book is often brief, serving to recognize those among the friends, family, and assorted associates who played even a superficial role in its creation, and who would be offended were their names omitted from the volume. These names might be preceded by the phrase “… without whom this book would not have been possible.” In this case, however, the acknowledgements are not made for ritual reasons, but to thank, most earnestly, more than one hundred people who contributed information and helped in other ways over the years. Indeed, without their assistance this book would not exist.

Some collectors, themselves very busy people, were willing to be drawn into extensive correspondence. Strangers invited me into their homes and spent hours with me while I examined their discs personally and took notes. Others spent tedious hours compiling lists and endured long telephone calls. Invariably there were questions about data supplied. Is there a dagger at nine o’clock? Is the “M” of “Mar”[ch] really an “N”? Is the “a” actually an “o”? Is the “r” a “v”? Is it November? Are you sure it is take “Z”? Does it really say “Sousa’s Band” or is “Sousa” simply a composer credit in parentheses, and the performance by an anonymous group? Sometimes I went on like this for an hour.

Tim Brooks, a wise man and fine friend, took photographs, scrutinized the pages of this manuscript with a critic’s eye, and offered suggestions. Martin Bryan gave space to the project in The New Amberola Graphic. For more than twenty years, Bill Bryant sent postcards with data on every specimen he encountered personally or saw on a dealer’s list. Samuel Brylawski of the Library of Congress made it possible to obtain an enormous amount of data from its holdings and patiently answered questions. Years ago, Bob Colton and Leonard Kunstadt of Record Research gave me access to a catalogue I have never seen elsewhere. Lawrence Holdridge included a call for help on his auction lists. Charlie Hummel encouraged collectors who did not know me and were not familiar with this project to provide data. Allen Koenigsberg sent numbers and titles on an obscure (and perhaps unique) list about which I knew nothing. Kurt Nauck, who worked hard gathering data for his own purposes, shared his information with me. Lawrence Schlick spent hours transcribing the text of a spoken record. William Shaman edited my spelling and punctuation in German and the Romance languages, corrected titles garbled on discs and in catalogues, and listened to tapes of music not clearly identified on the disc. Richard Warren of the Historical Sound Recording Archive at Yale University went to great lengths to help identify a piece of music. Ray Wile rifled his bulging files and came up with documents I had not imagined existed. And John Behrens reviewed the final manuscript and found errors that had evaded my own eyes.

The full list of contributors appears below. I wish that all who helped with this project might see their names, but some data were provided over twenty years ago and their contributors are now deceased. Others are not currently active as collectors and no longer care about such things. But my appreciation of their assistance has not diminished. Like screen credits for a film with an all-star cast, the list is arranged alphabetically.

Bob Adams, Peter Adamson, Lynn E. Andersen, Charles Arnhold, William Ashbrook, Michael Bartholomew, John Behrens, Gregor Benko, John Bennett, Oliver Berliner, Paul E. Bierley, Ken Blazier, Tim Brooks, Albert Brouse, Martin Bryan, William R. Bryant, Sam Brylawski and the Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress, R. C. Burdge, N. C. Cannon, Tom Casey, Harold Chambless, Don Chichester, Tim Christen, Chris Clawson, Tom Cobb, Robert Colton, James Cooprider, Jason Coppernoll, John Corcoran, Edward Craig, Aaron Cramer, Lloyd Davis, Allen Debus, J. Dennis, Michael Devicka, Peter Dilg, Jerry Donnell, Mike Eert, Tim Fabrizio, Ted Fagan, Harold Farnsworth, Aida Favia-Artsay, Dave Fletcher, Peter Fort, Al Gerichten, Steve Gilman, David Goldenberg, Lew Green, Arthur S. Greenwood, Andrew H. Guzik, Hiroyasu Haseqawa, Larry Hawes, H. W. Hawley, Tom Hawthorne, David C. Heitz, John Hilitzer, Neil Hinchman, Mardon Hinkle, Warren Hodgdon, Lawrence Holdridge, Gordon Hott, Charles L. Hubbard, Charlie Hummel, David Jones, Elias Kaufman and the American Banjo Fraternity, Brad Kay, Michael Kiefer, George Kipper, Allen Koenigsberg, John Kovach, Leonard Kunstadt, Ross Laird, Lester Lamondo, Dr. A. F. R. Lawrence, L. W. Lazar, Peter Leavitt, Eliot B. Levin, David Lomax, Kenneth Lorenz, Kevin Lorusso, R. G. Macy, Neil Maken, Richard Markow, Joe Martel, Earl Matthewson, Eric Mattson, Don Maxwell, J. R. McCarter, Don McCormick and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound of the New York Public Library, Francis Merancy, Minette, William R. Moran, Kurt Nauck, Don Nelson, John Newton, Jr., Brevoort Odell, Doug Olds, Preston Onstad, John Petty, James Pruett, Jr., Steven Ramm, Jack Raymond, Dan Reed, John D. Reid, Doug Ridgeway, Quentin Riggs, David Rocco, Robin Rolfs, Brian Rust, David Sager, L. Schira, Lawrence Schlick, Jacob Schneider, Frank J. Scimonelli, Gene Scranton, Joseph Sedlar, Vijay Seth, William Shaman, Peter Shambarger, Michael Sherman, L. C. Sloan, Arthur Soffer, Arnold Sposato, Richard Spottswood, John Steiner, Jay Tartell, Byron Lloyd Taylor, Raymond Tump, R. J. Wakeman, David Hudson Wallis II, Richard Warren and the Historical Sound Recordings Archive of Yale University, Charlie Weatherbee, Walter Welch, Don Wetzell, Fred Wheeler, Samuel B. White, Raymond Wile, Fred Williams, Jack Winkler, and Carl Zimm.

I may have omitted your name. Such an oversight is possible, given the number of years spent compiling this discography, the quantity of correspondence it generated, and the varying surfaces my field notes have covered. These included a carefully maintained notebook but also the backs of envelopes, pieces of paper bags and one occasion my right arm. I hope you will accept my apologies.

Forward to Introduction: On the Gramophone

Berliner Gramophone Company Table of Contents

Berliner Gramophone Records in America: A Discography. Compiled by Paul Charosh. Reprinted by permission.