THIS BIBLIOGRAPHIC ESSAY does not identify all sources consulted in the preparation of this book. It does, however, point readers to major primary sources and to the most significant recent secondary literature that provided factual information or influenced my interpretations during preparation. For fuller reference to the historiography, readers should look at the extensive notes to the text chapters.
ARCHIVAL SOURCES on the history of musicians and their unions are scarce. The Charles Leland Bagley Collection at the University of Southern California’s Regional History Center contains various records and newspaper clippings relevant to the rise of the National League of Musicians and its successor, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). The collection contains copies of printed union constitutions, price lists, and bylaws as well as union financial records and convention proceedings to the 1960s. Researchers interested in AFM history should consult local branches of the union, a few of which have saved their old records and trade papers. For this project I found useful material at locals in Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Various records of the local in Columbus are in the Archives–Library Division of the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. Another useful source is the American Federation of Labor Records, The Samuel Gompers Era, available on microfilm at the University of California, Los Angeles, Special Collections Library. These records include correspondence of musicians, employers, and union leaders. One of the best sources on the history of the AFM is the federation’s monthly newspaper, International Musician, available in several university and public libraries. The paper carries minutes of executive board meetings and convention proceedings as well as other union news.
Researchers should supplement union records and newspapers with industry trade journals. Broadcasting, Billboard, and Variety present in-depth looks at industrial developments and offer valuable insights into management’s view of labor relations and government-business relations. They also reveal managerial strategies for continued economic growth. More obscure journals such as Exhibitor’s Herald, Film Daily, and Film Music Notes are available at the University of Southern California’s Cinema-Television Library and at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, both in Los Angeles. The Theatre Historical Society of America in Elmhurst, Illinois, holds copies of Marque as well as other material relevant to early film history. City newspapers and the labor press helped me verify information gleaned from all of these sources.
Like a growing number of labor studies, this project relied on oral history. I learned the value of this important investigative tool when Local 47 put me in touch with Phil Fischer and John TeGroen, two former union officials who were always generous with their time and energy. Fischer and TeGroen explained more clearly how industrial change altered musicians’ lives and how the AFM responded to new business conditions. They also pointed me toward instrumentalists who generously shared their own career experiences. I contacted additional interviewees through other AFM locals and by matching names in union papers and records to those in current telephone directories. Tapes and notes from these interviews are presently in my possession, but I intend eventually to place them in a university library.
I also relied on government documents. Occupational statistics of the U.S. Census Bureau helped me estimate the number of professional musicians in America, and reports of the U.S. Department of Labor, published in Monthly Labor Review, documented the declining job opportunities in theaters during the 1920s and 1930s. Public documents were indispensable to reconstructing the history of musicians in the 1940s. The Congressional Record shed new light on industrial relations in the postwar years and showed that the AFM was a primary target in congressional efforts to roll back the power of organized labor. Published reports of hearings before the Interstate Commerce Commission and the House Committee on Education and Labor were equally informative, as were reports of the Federal Communications Commission.
LIKE PRIMARY SOURCES, the secondary literature on musicians and their unions is skimpy. John R. Commons, remembered for his institutional approach to the study of labor history, was one of the first scholars to study instrumental musicians as a labor group. “The Musicians of St. Louis and New York,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 1906, makes it clear that despite their hardships, the problems of professional musicians were minor compared with those facing other workers in industrializing America. Vern L. Countryman’s two-part essay, “The Organized Musicians,” published in the University of Chicago Law Review, Autumn 1948 and Winter 1948, looks closely at the origins, structure, and early problems of the AFM. Coping with technological change, Countryman notes, had become the union’s greatest challenge. The standard work on the AFM has been Robert D. Leiter, The Musicians and Petrillo (New York: Bookman Associates, 1953). Most important, Leiter’s work provides a general outline of industrial relations during the war and postwar years. Though Leiter recognizes that technological change transformed the musicians’ working world, his interest in the manifold actions of the union obscures the dramatic impact of that change as well as the musicians’ efforts to cope with it.
Several unpublished works of the 1950s and 1960s have made additional contributions to the story of musicians and technological change. Abram Loft, “Musicians, Guild, and Union: A Consideration of the Evolution of Protective Organization among Musicians” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1950) places the early organizational efforts of American musicians within the context of European experiences. Everett Lee Refior’s “The American Federation of Musicians: Organization, Policies, and Practices” (master’s thesis, University of Chicago, 1955) discusses the nature of the musical workforce as well as the history of the union. John Scott Kubach’s “Unemployment and the American Federation of Musicians: A Case Study of the Economic Ramifications of Technological Innovations and Concomitant Governmental Policies Relative to the Instrumental Employment Opportunities of the Organized Professional Musicians” (master’s thesis, Ohio University, 1957) demonstrates quite conclusively that technological change rather than economic cyclical variations accounted for musicians’ employment problems during the Great Depression. Robert Lee Humes’s “Labor Relations and the American Federation of Musicians: Six Locals in Pennsylvania” (master’s thesis, Pennsylvania State University, 1965) handles union activity at the local level.
More recent works flesh out musicians’ work experiences. Robert R. Faulkner’s Hollywood Studio Musicians: Their Work and Careers in the Recording Industry (Chicago: Aldine and Atherton, 1971) discusses working conditions and patterns of hiring in motion-picture studios, illuminating the daily challenges musicians faced in their efforts to establish recording careers. Sandy R. Mazzola’s “When Music Is Labor: Chicago Bands and Orchestras and the Origins of the Chicago Federation of Musicians, 1880–1902” (Ph.D. diss., Northern Illinois University, 1985) portrays musicians at work in numerous other environments. In the process, Mazzola reveals basic differences between the labor of musicians and that of other groups of workers. I also benefited from two works by Neil Leonard: Jazz: Myth and Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), which describes the speech, dress, and habits of one group of musicians; and Jazz and the White Americans: The Acceptance of a New Art Form (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), which discusses the impact of mechanization on job opportunities and musical education. Edison, Musicians, and the Phonograph: A Century in Retrospect, ed. John Harvith and Susan Edwards Harvith (New York: Greenwood, 1987), a collection of interviews with musicians who worked in the early recording industry, also shows how technological change affected musicians’ work habits. I gained additional insights from George T. Simon’s The Big Bands, 4th ed. (New York: Schirmer Books, 1981), and Clifford McCarty, ed., Film Music I (New York: Garland, 1989).
Few published works have explored matters of race, ethnicity, and gender in musical life. Donald Spivey, Union and the Black Musician: The Narrative of William Everett Samuels and Chicago Local 208 (New York: University Press of America, 1984), documents the life of an African American and AFM official in Chicago during the period under study. William Barlow, Looking up at Down: The Emergence of Blues Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989), and Susan Curtis, Dancing to a Black Man’s Tune: A Life of Scott Joplin (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1994), also explore the working lives of black musicians. Steven Loza’s Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), reveals the world of Mexican American musicians. Readers interested in the role of women in nineteenth-century music should see Michael Broyles, “Music of the Highest Class”: Elitism and Populism in Antebellum Boston (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), and Craig H. Roell, The Piano in America, 1890–1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989). Roell’s work helps explain how social expectations shaped women’s musical training.
THE LITERATURE on the film, radio, and recording industries is extensive. One of the more concise histories of the film industry is John Izod, Hollywood and the Box Office, 1895–1986 (New York: Macmillan, 1988). Tino Balio, ed., The American Film Industry (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976), and Robert Sklar’s Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of the Movies (New York: Chappell and Company, 1978) proved useful in the early stages of my research. Equally important was Douglas Gomery’s work, particularly Shared Pleasures: A History of Movie Presentation in the United States (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992), and “The Coming of Sound to the American Cinema: Transformation of an Industry” (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1975). Other important studies include Q. David Bowers, Nickelodeon Theatres and Their Music (Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal, 1986); Neal Gabler, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood (New York: Anchor Books, 1988); and David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, and Kristin Thompson, The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985). On the film industry in the postwar years, see Garth Jowett, Film: The Democratic Art (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1976).
Among the best works on the business and technological side of radio are Susan Smulyan, Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting, 1920–1934 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994); Susan J. Douglas, Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899–1922 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987); Hugh G. J. Aitken, The Continuous Wave: Technology and American Radio, 1900–1932 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985); and Aitken, Syntony and Spark: The Origins of Radio (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976). Erik Barnouw’s three-volume A History of Broadcasting in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966–70) is also useful. Michele Hilmes, Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), and Philip Rosen, The Modern Stentors: Radio Broadcasters and the Federal Government, 1920–1934 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1980), provide insights into the relationship between radio and the federal government. A newer work on this subject is Robert McChesney, Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy: The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928–1935 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). On radio programming, readers should see Smulyan, Selling Radio (cited above), and J. Fred MacDonald, Don’t Touch That Dial! Radio Programming in American Life, 1920–1960 (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1979).
Historians have shown less interest in the rise of the recording industry. For factual information I often relied on Russell Sanjek’s three-volume American Popular Music and Its Business: The First Four Hundred Years (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988). Sanjek was one of the original employees of Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) and eventually served as the company’s vice-president in charge of public relations. I also looked to Philip K. Eberly, Music in the Air: America’s Changing Tastes in Popular Music, 1920–1980 (New York: Hastings House, 1982), which traces the rise of the recording industry as well as the evolution of American music. Biographies of famous bandleaders and musicians also proved useful, including Robert Dupuis, Bunny Berigan: Elusive Legend of Jazz (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1993), and James Lincoln Collier, Benny Goodman and the Swing Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989). Readers interested in the origins of recording technology should see biographies of Thomas Edison. Martin V. Melosi, Thomas A. Edison and the Modernization of America (Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman, 1990) is a good place to start. On the origins of magnetic recording, see William Charles Lafferty, Jr., “The Early Development of Magnetic Sound Recording in Broadcasting and Motion Pictures, 1928–1950” (Ph.D. diss., Northwestern University, 1981).
A DIFFERENT BODY of literature places the history of musicians within a broader perspective. The relationship between work and technological change has long been the focus of scholarly study. Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1, published in German in 1867, maintained that capital’s relentless use of labor-saving machinery tended to displace and demoralize workers. Harry Braverman’s Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974) renewed interest in this subject. Braverman emphasizes that management deploys new technology to separate the “conception” of work from its actual “execution.” In Contested Terrain: The Transformation of the Workplace in the Twentieth Century (New York: Basic Books, 1979), Richard Edwards argues that the rise of impersonal bureaucracies as well as labor-saving machinery has increased management’s control over the workforce. Michael Burawoy, in The Politics of Production (New York: Verso, 1985), and David Noble, Forces of Production: A Social History of Industrial Automation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), suggest that the total number of new skilled jobs technical innovation creates falls far short of the number it destroys. Several valuable articles on work and technological change appear in Technology and Culture 29 (October 1988).
The question of labor’s response to technological change also has a long history. A path-breaking work in this area is David Brody’s Steelworkers in America: The Non-Union Era (New York: Harper and Row, 1960), which shows how workers have used their limited power to improve working conditions. Equally influential is David Montgomery, Workers’ Control in America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979). Montgomery focuses on shop-floor struggles to illustrate the various ways workers have been able to shape the production process. Other influential works that speak to the issue of labor response include Ronald W. Schatz, The Electrical Workers: A History of General Electric and Westinghouse, 1923–60 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983); Sean Wilentz, Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class, 1788–1850 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984); and Steven J. Ross, Workers on the Edge: Work, Leisure, and Politics in Industrializing Cincinnati, 1788–1890 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985). Patricia A. Cooper, Once a Cigar Maker: Men, Women, and Work Culture in American Cigar Factories, 1900–1919 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987), and Stephen H. Norwood, Labor’s Flaming Youth: Telephone Operators and Worker Militancy, 1878–1923 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), are more sensitive to the subject of gender and labor resistance. Recent biographies have suggested that labor leaders generally accepted innovation as inevitable but tried to supervise reorganization of the workplace to protect as many jobs as possible. For examples, see Melvyn Dubofsky and Warren Van Tine, eds., Labor Leaders in America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987).
The literature on the role of the state in labor-capital relations is as controversial as it is extensive. Among the better historiographic works on this subject are Alan Dawley, “Workers, Capital, and the State in the Twentieth Century,” in Perspectives on American Labor History: The Problems of Synthesis, ed. J. Carroll Moody and Alice Kessler-Harris (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1990), 152–200; Thomas K. McCraw, “Regulation in America: A Review Article,” Business History Review 49 (Summer 1975): 159–83; and Louis Galambos, “Technology, Political Economy, and Professionalization: Central Themes of the Organizational Synthesis,” Business History Review 57 (Winter 1983): 471–93. Howell John Harris, The Right to Manage: Industrial Relations Policies of American Business in the 1940s (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982), proved particularly valuable for this project. Harris provides insights into the ideology of business leaders and public officials intent on rolling back the power of organized labor in the 1940s. An important new work on the subject of the state and industrial relations is Melvyn Dubofsky’s The State and Labor in Modern America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994).
Finally, I have tried to place the history of musicians within the context of the sweeping cultural changes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many works have helped with this task, including Lary May, Screening out the Past: The Birth of Mass Culture and the Motion Picture Industry (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); Robert C. Allen, Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991); Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919–1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Lawrence W. Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988); and Lewis A. Erenberg, Steppin’ Out: New York Nightlife and the Transformation of American Culture, 1890–1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981). Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986); Roy Rosenzweig, Eight Hours for What We Will: Workers and Leisure in an Industrial City, 1870–1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); and Gunther Barth, City People: The Rise of Modern City Culture in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), were also useful. So too was John F. Kasson, Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978).