Columbia Master Book - Acknowledgements
Columbia Master Book, Volume I,
U.S. matrix series, 1 through 4999, 1901-1910
This unique discography was reconstructed largely from surviving catalogs and records, and many collectors and researchers have contributed to the listings that you see. No doubt some names have been lost in the twenty-five-plus years this work has been "in progress"; to them the author apologizes.
First and foremost, we must recognize two people without whose work the discography, if it existed at all, would be a shadow of what you see: Helene Chmura, who provided the starting point for the project, and William R. Bryant, who gathered information from the discs. Chmura’s name is well known to researchers, though little is known about her.1 She was born ca. 1924-1925 and first worked for Columbia at its Bridgeport, Connecticut, headquarters as a teenager in the late 1930s, when it was still part of the American Record Corporation. She served as the company librarian for many years, moving with the label to New York in the early 1960s. Chmura began the compilation of lists of early recordings about 1954-1955, in response to numerous inquiries from collectors and producers, and continued the project more or less on her own initiative until her retirement around 1964. Despite an unhappy personal life, she was known as an open, helpful person, and was well liked by those who dealt with her. She is believed to have died ca. 1969.
Bill Bryant was born in Portland, Maine, on October 25, 1950, and worked for much of his life as a computer programmer (ironic for someone who disliked computers). However, his real passion was early recording history, and he assembled one of the premiere collections of pre-1930 cylinders and discs in the U.S. (now dispersed). He did extensive research on early labels and artists, which was almost never published under his own name but given freely to others who were working in the field. A prolific correspondent, he was known as one of the most helpful and knowledgeable people in early record research. His sudden death of a heart attack in September 1995, at the age of 44, came as a shock to all who knew him.
We are also extremely grateful to many others who have contributed information along the way. They include Peter Adamson, Walter C. Allen, Frank Andrews, Harry Avery, John V. Beck, Joel Berger, Dr. Michael Biel, John Black, George Blacker, Martin Bryan, Paul Charosh, Jerry Cook, George A. Copeland, Dave Cotter, John Cowles, George Creegan, Frank Curran, H. Custer, Allen G. Debus, Peter Dilg, Dave DiZinno, John Doulou, [end p. ix] Albert Durgin, Tim Edwards, Michael Eert, David Egan, Mott Elfström, Todd Emery, Charles R. Ewg, Tim Fabrizio, Milford Fargo, Robert Foote, Bill Frase, Steven A. Garcia, Steve Gilman, David Giovannoni, Neil Gladd, Bob Gordon, John Gradinger, Oliver Graham, Wilfred Graham, Glen Gurwit, Jim Hadfield, David Hamilton, Joe Hamilton, Lewellyn Harding, Tom Hawthorn, Howard Hazelcorn, James F. Hedges, John Heliker, Warren Hodgdon, W. F. Hodge, Lawrence Holdridge, Charlie Hummel, Bob Jenkins, Anton Johannes, Dave Jones, Eli Kaufman, Bill Kocher, Allen Koenigsberg, Ross Laird, Victor Landberg, A. F. R. Lawrence, Peter Leavitt, Robert Long, Kenneth Lorenz, Kevin LoRusso, Don Lukowski, Jerry Madsen, Frank Mare, Richard Markow, Joseph Martel, Richard Todd Martin, Leigh Martinet, David Milefsky, Walter Mitchell, Frank Moon, William R. Moran, Christian Müller, Myers/Leavitt, Kurt Nauck, Don Nelson, The Old Tyme Music Scene, Arthur S. Paré, Henry Patterson, John Petty, Douglas Pomeroy, Bill Praster, James E. Prohaska, Louis Pyritz, Jack Raymond, David Alan Reiss, Quentin Riggs, Yves Rouchaleau, John Rutherford, Glenn Sage, David Sager, John Schira, Norman Schweikert, Claude Seary, Joseph Sedlar, Floyd Seiter, William (Bill) Shaman, Henry Shaw, Nobu K. Shishido, Floyd Silver, Fred Smith, Steven Smolian, Richard Spottswood, Stan Stanford, Allan Sutton, Mac Tavares, Byron Taylor, Ben Thatcher, Brian Towne, Ray Tump, Dennis Valente, Craig Ventresco, Crandall Wallenstein, Jim Walsh, Don Wetzell, J. David White, Raymond R. Wile, Fred Williams, George Wilson and Wally Wood.
To all the record dealers who sent me lists of old records for sale, only to get a note in return that said "I don't want to buy anything, but could you please tell me the matrix numbers on the following discs…": thank you for your patience.
Institutions providing information included the Library of Congress (Sam Brylawski, Edwin Matthias); the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound, New York Public Library (Don McCormick, director); the Historical Sound Recordings Archive at Yale University (Richard Warren, director); Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive at Syracuse University (Susan T. Stinson); the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound (Barbara Sawka); the Swedish Radio Archives; and the Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (J. Michael Hunter). A special note of thanks to Martine McCarthy and Nathaniel Brewster at the Sony/Columbia Records Archives, who have been a joy to work with for, lo, these many years. My gratitude also to the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, for a grant to help defray the costs of data entry.
Two collector/researchers deserve special acknowledgment for their help during the final phase of this compilation: Rich Markow, "the phrenologist discographer" (who can recognize a take number by the bumps under a label), who did much of the data entry; and WordPerfect wizard David Giovannoni, who helped format the listings for publication.
A special note of thanks to Paul Charosh. His friendship, encouragement and wise counsel over more years than either of us would like to count was more helpful than he may sometimes have believed.
1. Extensive inquiries have turned up little about Chmura. My thanks to George Avakian, Frank Driggs, Harry and Rita Fein, Dan Mahony, Bert Whyatt and others who offered their reminiscences about her. The only published item found was a short piece in the July 23, 1960 Melody Maker (U.K.), concerning her visit with discographers in that country. [end p. x]" [Return]
Columbia Master Book, Volume II,
Principal U.S. matrix series, 1910-1924
Compiled by Brian Rust
In continuing the documentation of Columbia records from 1910 to 1924, when the five-digit matrix series was replaced by a six-digit one, I must first offer my sincerest thanks to my colleague Tim Brooks, who has given so much practical help and advice regarding its production, supplying catalogs and monthly supplements so that I could include many details of composers and other information not shown on the original file cards in the first decade and a half of the period covered.
It was the late Helene F. Chmura, of CBS Records, who sent me, quite without my asking, a massive set of duplicated typewritten pages copied from the original files as long ago as 1954, and later, in 1975, there came microfilms of the artists and matrix cards at the behest of the late John Hammond, which filled in much detail. To their memory, these volumes should be dedicated; without their generosity, the work simply could not even have been considered.
My old friend John R. T. Davies also contributed much useful help and advice, and in the indexing department, I must offer deepest thanks to my son Victor and his wife Jane for enthusiastically offering to set up the artists’ index, while my elder daughter Angela and her husband Ian—computer experts all—took on the parallel work of the titles, without my asking, as soon as they heard of the accident that overtook my friend Cynthia Panton, of Mentor, Ohio, who had volunteered to do both from the start, and my wife Mary, who patiently gave up time to preparing much of the index in its initial stage. With loyalty like this from friends like these, there can be few errors indeed; if there are any, they are mine, and mine alone.
Columbia Master Book, Volume III,
Principal U.S. matrix series 1924-1934
Compiled by Brian Rust
This volume covers the documentation of Columbia records from 1924 to 1934, when the six-digit matrix series was abandoned, and the one in use by the American Record Corporation that had absorbed Columbia was substituted. My thanks are due once more to my colleague Tim Brooks for his continued help and advice in the production of this volume, and to the following assistants for their indispensable help.
It was the late Helene F. Chmura, of CBS Records, who sent me, quite without my asking, a massive set of duplicated typewritten pages copied from the original files as long ago as 1954, and later, in 1975, there came microfilms of the artists’ and matrix cards at the behest of the late John Hammond, which filled in much detail. To their memory, these volumes should be dedicated; without their generosity, the work simply could not have been even considered.
My old friend John R. T. Davies also contributed much useful help and advice, and in the indexing department, I must offer deepest thanks to my son Victor and his wife Jane for enthusiastically offering to set up the artists’ index, while my elder daughter Angela and her husband Ian—computer experts all—took on the parallel work of the titles, without my asking, as soon as they heard of the disaster that overtook my dear friend Cynthia Panton, of Mentor, Ohio, who had volunteered to do the work from the start. With loyalty like this from friends like these, there can be few errors indeed; if there are any, they are mine, and mine alone.
Forward to Introductions to the Columbia Master Book
The Columbia Master Book Discography, 4 Volumes, Complied by Brian Rust and Tim Brooks. Reprinted by permission.