W. C. HANDY
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Copyright Law & Acknowledgements
In 1957, as part of Northeast Missouri State Teacher’s College’s 90th
Anniversary, Dr. P.O. Selby contacted famous persons in all walks of life asking
them to contribute a signed card or photograph to an Anniversary Autographs
Collection which, when completed, would be placed in the College Archives.
One of those who responded to his request was composer W.C. Handy and his signed
card is in Volume I of the Collection. Handy also sent Dr. Selby some
other signed items which Selby donated separately to the Library’s manuscripts
collection on September 30, 1958.
William Christopher Handy (1873-1958) was one of the originators of the music
form known as the “Blues” and one of his most famous compositions was “The Saint
Louis Blues”. Written in 1914, the piece was based on Handy’s experiences
in 1893 when he tried for a time to find work as a musician in St. Louis, MO.
Unable to find work at first, he slept on the streets and in chairs in pool
halls. He later began to find odd jobs and eventually enough music gigs to
make his way as a musician. In one of his letters to Dr. Selby, he recalls
playing Kirksville with a traveling show “back in the nineties”.
The collection contains the following items:
Two letters to Selby from Handy on the letterhead of
Handy Brothers Music Co., Inc., 15 Feb and 4 Nov 1957
Autographed* black & white 8x10 photo of Handy
Archives No. OS.0013]
Sheet music for four of Handy’s songs published by the
Handy Brothers Music Company*
The Memphis Blues,
The Saint Louis Blues,
They That Sow in Tears
(Shall Reap in Joy), ©1950
Opportunity by Walter
Malone and W. C. Handy, ©1934
Two Christmas cards: one with picture of Handy & his wife
with his 83rd birthday party cake on front, from Mr. and Mrs.
William C. Handy; and one with same picture (Mrs Handy cropped from the
shot), from William C. Handy and the Staff of Handy Brothers Music Co
“W.C. Handy Dies; Father of the Blues” clipped from
unknown newspaper; dateline New York, March 28, 1958
Five issues of
The Handy News (Vols. 8-12), “published every now and then by the Music
House of Handy”
Three sales flyers from Handy Brothers Music Co
*All autographed items have the same inscription: “P.O.
Selby / William C Handy / 2-15-57”
For information concerning this collection contact: