The American Zonophone Discography: Preface and Acknowledgments

In late 2011, Mainspring Press reached an agreement to complete and publish the unfinished discographies of the late William R. Bryant. This volume of The American Zonophone Records Discography is the first in a long and important series based on Bill’s outstanding work.

Bill’s death in 1995, at the age of forty-four, marked the passing of a giant in the field of discography. Since his ’teens, Bill had collaborated with hundreds of collectors, researchers, and archivists in his attempts to document the complete output of many early record companies whose original files had been lost. He had published several important articles, had co-authored Oxford and Silvertone Records with Martin F. Bryan, and was assisting with preparation of The Columbia Master Book Discography at the time of his death. He had numerous “working discographies” in various stages of completion, but Zonophone was the farthest along.

The discography published here is from the final version of Bill’s manuscript, to which we have added the many additions, revisions, and corrections he had not yet entered. Bill held contributors to a high standard of accuracy, and he didn’t hesitate to return questionable data with a request that its contributor take a second look or supply supporting evidence. Almost invariably, he received the corrected information by return mail. When he did not, he marked a large “NO” next to the suspect data, giving us a clear indication of what not to incorporate here.

In addition to Bill’s data, we have incorporated complete data from Zonophone’s 1910 “Z-” matrix ledger, which was found in the Victor archives thanks to the efforts of John Bolig. Unfortunately, a thorough search of the archives, and even the offering of a substantial finder’s fee, failed to locate the 1911 and 1912 ledgers.

We are especially grateful to Stephen Harding for making available and granting exclusive rights to Bill’s manuscripts and archival materials; and to Tim Brooks and Kurt Nauck for initiating the contact that led to that arrangement, which ensures that this material will be preserved and that Bill’s work will be carried on. Our special thanks also to John Bolig for locating and transcribing the Z- matrix ledger in the Victor archives.

More than one-hundred collectors, researchers, and institutions have contributed their data and expertise to this project since it began in the early 1970s, including Frank Adams, E. G. Anderson, Eric Anderson, Frank Andrews, Arthur Badrock, Joe Baldwin, Thomas E. Banulski, David Barron, Ernie Bayly, John V. Beck, George A. Blacker, Frank Bridges, Tim Brooks, Martin Bryan, Richard C. Burdge, Paul Burgess, Paul Charosh, Donald W. Chichester, Don Cleary, Robert Cogswell, Jerry Cook, Dave Cotter, John Cowles, Frank Curran, Allen G. Debus, Al Dergin, Peter Dilg, Mike Eert, Tim Fabrizio, Milford H. Fargo, Aida Favia-Artsay, Robert Foote, Stanton Golding, Robert T. Gordon, Tim Gracyk, Oliver Graham, Wilfrid Graham, Russell C. Greschke, Mike Haddock, Reginald Hall, Llewellyn Harding, Howard Hazelcorn, Alvin Heckard, James Hedges, John Heliker, Mardon Hinkel, Larry Holdridge, Geoff Howl, Arnold Jacobson, David A. Jasen, Anton Johannes, Dave Jones, G. V. Jones, Albert Kuechle, Henry F. Kurtz, V. Landberg, Edward F. Lafond Jr., S. A. Langkammerer, Peter G. Leavitt, John C. Lemke, Eugene Le Veque, Hal Ljongquist, Kevin LoRusso, Gilbert Louey, Charles G. Mandrake, Rich Markow, Joseph Martel, Leigh Martinet, Earl Matthewson, Eugene McCormick, P. L. Miller, William Moran, Kurt Nauck, Don Nelson, Brevoort Odell, H. H. Patterson, John A. Petty, M. B. Pope, Barbara Prosser, Kim Rauch, Jack Raymond, Jack Read, Quentin Riggs, Norman A. Schweikert, Joesph Sedlar, Claude Seary, William G. Shaman, Henry M. Shaw, Michael Sims, Fred Smith, William J. Sorice, Brian J. Spector, Richard Spottswood, B. L. Taylor, Henry A. Tiemann Jr., Ben H. Tongue, Ray Tump, R. J. Wakeman, C. Wallenstein, Jim Walsh, Richard Warren Jr., Don Wetzell, Raymond R. Wile, and Frederick P. Williams; and staff members of the EMI Archives, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Sony Music Enterprises, and Yale University Library.

— Allan Sutton