Musicians Off the Record: 1900s

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1903. John Lang Sinclair, a student poet at the University of Texas, recalls one of college president William L. Prather's frequent remarks to students and fits these to the folk tune "I've Been Working on the Railroad."He titles his composition "The Eyes of Texas."

1909. John A. Lomax, a Texas folklorist and ballad researcher raised in Bosque County, co-founds the Texas Folklore Society with University of Texas professor Leonidas Payne and establishes a Texas branch of the American Folklore Society.

1910. A body of American folklore is gathered by John A. Lomax and published as Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads. In 1932, he undertakes an anthology of American ballads and folksongs (10,000+ field recordings) with his son Alan. Today these are housed in the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress.

Photo of John Lomax sitting with Uncle Billy McCrea
Ruby Terrill (Lomax) photo of  John A. Lomax (center) with Uncle Billy McCrea (right) and friends, at Billy's home in Jasper, Texas, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-120994

1914. Fort Worth-born Euday Louis Bowman’s "Twelfth Street Rag" is an instant ragtime classic. The song, written in a shoe-shine parlor, is echoed in jazz music for generations.