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The Music Division's Clipping File: The Scandals


Last week I introduced Melissa, a volunteer with the Music Division, who began a series of three blog posts on the newly available inventory of the Music Division's Clipping file.  Here is part two of Melissa's observations about the Music Division's Clipping File.

I hope you enjoyed the first part of the mini series where you read about a woman USO singer signing a bomb to be delivered to Hitler, a woman writing music for the suffragist movement in England, a piano manufacturer who was running to become mayor of Brooklyn as a prohibitionist, and a music critic who had a barbed pen and was not afraid to use it.

On to part two, the scandals!

The music world is not devoid of its share of scandals.  Here is a sample from the “S” boxes of juicy tabloid-worthy articles spanning from 1912–1952.  This first article is not exactly a scandal but most musicians in NYC can relate to this problem of practicing in their apartment. 

from the New York Times, August 8, 1952

This next article is about a pianist who robbed a bank and played the piano in jail to earn him less jail time in NYC.

From Music Trades, January 24, 1925

Paternity issues arose in 1946:

From an unidentified newspaper, May 10, 1946

This is what happens when you lie about knowing your music to the Metropolitan Opera:

From the New York Times, February 14, 1912

We may not have people performing their way out of jail (or maybe we do, as we see in the musical The Producers), but even in 2015, people have sound wars with their neighbors over practicing their instruments, paternity issues, and being called out for not knowing their music.  History does repeat itself.

If you are interested in more scandalous music articles, please come down to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and have a look at the collection.

Stay tuned for the final blog post of this three-part mini-blog series: Performers and Performances: from the politically incorrect, to just plain weird, to a really cool twist.

Inventory of Music Division Clipping File: Names

Melissa captures images of fascinating clippings


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