Fred Hager’s Scraps and Scribbles

In the field of collecting acoustic era recordings, many scholars carry on their research and listening with the idea that items like diaries and scrapbooks are non-existent. These items do in fact exist, they are most often kept within the families of these recording folks, as they ought to be. When these items are rumored to exist, researchers can spend years to decades searching for them, as most often they contain the most valuable and unique information about the field, taken directly from a figure involved. Around half a decade ago, the papers and record collection of bandmaster and composer Fred W. Hager went up for sale on eBay. The records were split up from the paper materials, and the records continued to be split up more as the collection was auctioned off. The records included everything from test pressings to some of the rarest labels of the first decade of the twentieth century, and the papers included a scrapbook and several booklets of typewritten stories and recollections. Last year, the paper materials resurfaced, and now each page of the scrapbook and the rest have finally been examined one by one by this author. Back in the late 1940s, researcher Jim Walsh became acquainted with old man Fred Hager, who had become revitalized by Walsh’s interest in his long and distinguished career. Hager wrote up several dozen letters to Walsh, and handed him important documen
You've read three articles this month! That makes you one of a rare breed, the true jazz fan!

The Syncopated Times is a monthly publication covering traditional jazz, ragtime and swing. Our writers are paid to bring you the best coverage of the scene possible. Advertising will never be enough to keep these stories coming, we need your SUBSCRIPTION. Get unlimited access for as little as $3 a month or $30 a year.

Not ready yet? Register a Free Account to view five articles a month without nags or pop ups.

Already Registered? Log In

If you shouldn't be seeing this because you already logged in try refreshing the page.

R. S. Baker has appeared at several Ragtime festivals as a pianist and lecturer. Her particular interest lies in the brown wax cylinder era of the recording industry, and in the study of the earliest studio pianists, such as Fred Hylands, Frank P. Banta, and Frederick W. Hager.

Or look at our Subscription Options.