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Manuscript Collections


THE CENTER FOR POPULAR MUSIC

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY, MURFREESBORO, TN

 

DOUG SEROFF AFRICAN AMERICAN GOSPEL QUARTET COLLECTION   10-026

            MANUSCRIPTS, PRINTED MATERIALS,                      

PHOTOGRAPHS, SOUND RECORDINGS

 

Creator:

Seroff, Doug

 

Type of Material:

Image, moving image

physical object

sound

text

event

 

Physical Description:

3.8 ft. including
324 images (b&w photos and
negatives)
52 cassette audio tapes
7 VHS
video cassettes
10 CD-R audio
recordings

 

Dates:
1876-2011

 

Abstract (Descriptive Summary):

This collection was gathered by Doug Seroff during the course of his research relating to the African American gospel quartet tradition in the South, circa 1870-2000s.

 

RESTRICTIONS:

There is a seven year restriction on the use of Fisk University Jubilee Singers interviews and related ephemera. That portion of the collection shall not be accessible to researchers during the period of restriction without the expressed permission of Doug Seroff. If CPM receives inquiries about this material, contact Mr. Seroff before replying to the request.

 

Provenance and Acquisition Information:

The majority of the items in this collection were written, recorded and assembled by historian/researcher Doug Seroff. Some of the historic Nashville images are from the collection of John Phillips. Many of the 1980s-1990s quartet photos were taken by Robert Cogswell. Most of the early Fairfield Four materials come from the collection of John Battle.

 

Subject/Index Terms:

African American gospel singers

Popular music

Fairfield Four

Spirit of Memphis Quartet

Jubilee singers

Oral history transcripts

Swan Silvertones

 

Agency History/Biographical Sketch:

Doug Seroff, born February, 21st, 1947 in Newark, NJ and currently residing in Greenbrier, TN, has been involved in recording, researching and promoting African American vernacular music since the 1970s. He has written a number of books on the subject as well as many liner notes for reissues of older music. Mr. Seroff has also been a consultant with TV and radio documentaries about the gospel quartet tradition as well as producer of gospel quartet concert events.

 

 

Scope and Content:

The collection is comprised of 3.8 linear feet of materials. 52 audio cassette tapes (circa 1980s) contain recordings of interviews, rehearsals and performances of important gospel quartets and their individual members. 10 CD-R audio discs (circa 1940s-1980s) contain similar material as well as digitized historic recordings of gospel radio performances and unissued test pressings. 7 VHS cassette video tapes (circa 1970s-1990s) contain historic clips, quartet rehearsals, performances and TV appearances. 324 images (photo prints, negatives and photocopies of negatives for which there are no prints. These photocopies identify persons in images) dating 1870s-2000s contains historic promotional, performance, formal and informal pictures of gospel quartet performers. The remainder of the collection is manuscripts, placards, notebooks and booklets. This set of materials ranges from personal datebooks and notebooks from John Battle (Fairfield Four) as well as interview transcriptions (transcriptions for all recorded interviews in collection as well interviews not preserved in audio) not, historic newspaper articles, ticket stubs, business cards, performance programs and booklets, obituaries, correspondence etc. The collection remains in the organizational scheme as presented by Mr. Seroff.

 

 

Series Description:

Box #1 Gospel quartets of Tennessee
Box #2 Nashville/Memphis gospel quartets
Box #3 Audio and video recordings of Tennessee gospel quartets
Box #4 John Battle/Fairfield Four notebooks
Box # 5 Fisk material (restricted)

 

 

Collection Contents (Folder/Box List):

 

Box 1

 

(folders 1-4 in Fisk restricted box 5)

 

Box 1: Folder #5 “Obituaries-Memphis incl. Spirit of Memphis”
 Obituaries and funeral programs for gospel singers spanning the 1980s-90s with particular focus on former members of the Spirit of Memphis gospel quartet.

 

Folder #6 “Memphis Miscellaneous Commemorative Booklets”
 Collection of 3 booklets spanning the 1980s-90s with historical, musical and biographical information about the gospel groups The Pattersonaires and the Harps of Melody. There is also a booklet for “Observe Willie L Gordon Night”. Gordon was the organizer of the Pattersonaires.

 

Folder #7 “Memphis Miscellaneous”
Collection of materials spanning-1950s-2000s relating to gospel singing groups and individuals from the Memphis, TN area.
Folder contains event ticket stubs, program notes/reviews by Doug Seroff, newspaper articles, personal correspondence/Christmas cards, photocopies of radio station bulletins (WDIA) and local magazine articles.

 

Folder #8 “Miscellaneous-Spirit of Memphis”
Collection of materials spanning 1960s-2000s relating to the Spirit of Memphis Quartet.
Folder contains ticket stubs, photocopied newspaper articles, posters for anniversary performances, list of current and former members of the Spirit of Memphis, correspondence to and from Mr. Seroff and his notes regarding the Spirit of Memphis Quartet’s 50th anniversary program in 1980.

 

Folder #9 “Memphis Gospel Quartet Interviews (Various groups)”
Transcriptions of in-person and phone interviews with Memphis quartet singers conducted by Doug Seroff in the 1970s-1980s.
Contains detailed information on quartet personnel, histories, repertoire, performance and practice techniques, recording, radio appearances, etc.
Interview transcripts include:
Nathaniel Peck-1/31/81, 4/28/81
Grover Blake-4/23/81
Julia Anderson Todd, Tommie Todd 2/1/81
Mary L. Thomas, Doris Jean Gary 2/3/83
Nina Jai Daugherty 5/7/81, 5/12/81
Jack Franklin 4/25/81, 8/79

Folder #10 “Spirit of Memphis oral histories”
Transcriptions of in-person interviews with members of the Spirit of Memphis Quartet conducted by Doug Seroff in the 1970s-1980s. Contains detailed information on the quartet’s personnel, history, performances, recordings, radio performances, instrumentation etc.
Interview transcripts include:
Robert Reed 6/79
Essie Wade 4/24/81, 4/26/81
Jet Bledsoe 1/31/81
Earl Malone 8/5/79
Robert Reed and Earl Malone 10/11/80

Folder # 11 (in Fisk restricted box 5)

 

Box 1: Folder #12 “Fairfield Four programs and advertising”
Folder contains programs, ticket stubs and announcements spanning 1980s-1990s for a variety of events (festivals, lectures, concert series etc) that featured the Fairfield Four. Some of the program sheets contain notes by Mr. Seroff about songs performed by the group at the event.

 

Folder #13 “Fairfield Four-Obsequies & Obituaries”
Folder contains funeral programs and obituaries for Fairfield Four members spanning 1990s-2000s. Some programs contain detailed notes by Mr. Seroff about the funerals (attendance, singers, songs etc) maps of grave locations and copy of John Battle’s birth certificate.

 

Folder #14 “Fairfield Four Miscellaneous”
Folder contains personal correspondence to Mr. Seroff, ticket stubs, event announcements, brochures, Mr. Seroff’s performance notes/reviews, 1980s era history and biographies, copies of newspaper articles/announcements all relating to the Fairfield Four spanning 1940s-1990s.

 

Folder #15 “Nashville Miscellaneous”
Folder contains material relating to gospel quartets in Nashville, 1980s-2000s. Collection includes quartet business cards, Mr. Seroff’s notes for his 1988 presentation at the Conference of Afro-American Culture and History, newspaper clippings, press releases, Mr. Seroff’s performance reviews, and interview report forms and research notes, quartet anniversary programs etc.

 

Folder #16 “Fairfield Four Clippings”
Folder contains original and copied newspaper and magazine clippings related to the Fairfield Four 1980’s-1990s.

 

Folder #17 “Fairfield Four Interviews”
Folder contains transcriptions of interviews of Fairfield Four members by Doug Seroff spanning 1970s-2000s. Also contains release/permission note from Isaac Freeman.
Interview transcripts include:
James Hill, Isaac Freeman 5/9-10/1988 (Gospel Arts Day)
Robert Hamlett 2/18/88
Harold Carrethers/Caruthers 4/10/88, 7/6/82, 7/5/82
Willie Love 5/16/82, 6/2/82
Wilson “Lit” Waters 3/7/88
Isaac “Dickie” Freeman 8/25/06, 9/30/06, 5/16/82, 7/18/80
Fairfield Four (McCrary, Freeman, Love, Hill) 10/11/80
James Hill 5/4/82, 5/4/88
Rev. Sam McCrary late 1977

Folder #18Hebb Family/Bobby Hebb File-Includes transcript of interview with Helen Hebb
Folder contains material spanning 1960s-2000s relating to the Hebb Family collected by Doug Seroff. Collection includes Helen Hebb interview transcription, Mr. Seroff’s research notes and event reviews/notes, newspaper clippings (original and photocopies), ticket stubs etc.
Interview transcripts include:
Helen Hebb 4/30/88

 

Box 1: Folder #19 (in Fisk restricted box 5)

 

Folder #20 “Nashville Gospel Quartet Interviews-Various”
Folder contains transcripts of in-person and telephone interviews conducted by Doug Seroff circa 1970s-1980s. Interview subjects include members of the Fireside Singers, Zion Harmonizers, Sons of Glory, Voices of Nashville, The Relief Four, Harps of Zion etc. Also includes an interesting interview with Wesley Copeland that has information about African American string band music in the Nashville area.
Interview transcripts include:
Fireside Singers 4/12/88, 2/17/86
Thomas Gilbert 7/6/82, 4/16/88, 6/7/82
Wesley Copeland and Mamie Wells 3/8/88
William Burney, Sandis Cooper, Joseph Thompson 4/18/88
Willie Love, Tom Smith, John Phillips 4/30/83
John Phillips 3/10/88
Rev. Morgan Babb 3/5/86
Doris Gill 4/23/88
Delton Manley 6/8/88
Rev. O. D. Travis 12/19/78
Rev. F.M. Spence 12/12/78

Interview tapes cassette tapes (38 tapes in box #1) (Tapes missing in order are in Fisk restricted box)

 3-Interview with Wilson “Lit” Waters, March 7, 1988 90min
 4-Fireside Singers Interview April 12, 1988 90min
 5-Harold Caruthers 7/5/82 90min
 6- (Side 1)Nathaniel Peck-April,1981 (Side 2) Essie Wade- April, 1981 90min
 7-(Side 1)Nathaniel Peck 1-31-81 (Side 2) Jet Bledsoe 1/31/81 90min

 12-Thomas Gilbert Interviews April 22, 1988 both sides 90min
 13-Thomas Gilbert 6/7/82 90min

 16-(Side 1)Harold Caruthers 6/6/82 (Side 2) Bill Woodruff/Willie Love-6/2/82 90min
 17-Harold Caruthers April 10 1988 90min
 18-Henry Jack Franklin 90min
 19-Willie Love, Tom Smith, John Phillips 5/1/83 90min
 20-Interview w/ Wesley Copeland, Mamie Hall, Nashville March 7, 1988 -side only- 90min
 21-Robert Reed interview June 1979 60min

 23-(Side A) ACP George Rooks 11/27/82 (Side B) Doris Jean Gary & Mary Thomas 60min
 24-(Side 1) Sam Johnson 6/30/83 (Side B) Nathaniel Dickerson 9/26/83
 25-April 18th, 1988 Interviews with Billy Burney, Sanders Cooper & Joe Thompson 90min
 26-Doris Gill interview 4/24/88 90min

28-Delton Manly June 8, 1988 90min

 30-James Hill interview May 4, 1988 60min
 31-Helen Hebb interview (both sides) 4/30/88 90min
 32-Julia Anderson Todd and Tommie Todd 90min

 35-John Phillips interview Nashville March 10th, 1988 90min
 36-W. Lawrence Richardson 4/7/82 Richardson #2 60min
 37-Grover Blake 1/31/81 90min
 38-Robert Hamlett interview 2/18/88 90min

 

 

Box 2

 

Folder #1 “Photos, Performance placard”
Folder contains large photograph of reunited Fairfield Four for Jefferson County Quartet Reunion, 1980, contact sheet of images shot by Robert Cogswell of gospel singers, large photo of Claude Jeter of Swan Silvertones and performance placard for the Southernaires female quartet of Murfreesboro and Fairfield Four quartet. (Circa early 1940s)

 

Folder #2 “Documentation and Inventories of Material Previously Deposited in Libraries and Archives by Doug Seroff
Folder includes a list of materials from Doug Seroff’s collection that were microfilmed by the Tennessee State Archive (this is also a detailed list of items in the Battle collection). Also includes paperwork for donation of materials to the Nashville Public Library, Hogan Jazz

Archive and Archive of Alabama Folk Culture.

 

Folder #3 “The Nashville Globe-Folder #1”
This folder contains a large selection music-related materials copied from microfilms of the newspaper The Nashville Globe. Mr. Seroff has created an index of the materials in this collection for the years 1907-1910. There is also a set of notes regarding Mr Seroff’s review of this material making note of highlights from the newspaper articles. Important sections of text are often highlighted.

 

Folder #4 “The Nashville Globe-Folder #2”
This folder contains a large selection music-related materials copied from microfilms of the newspaper The Nashville Globe. Mr. Seroff has created an index of the materials in this collection for the years 1907-1913. There is also a set of notes regarding Mr Seroff’s review of this material making note of highlights from the newspaper articles. Important sections of text are often highlighted.

 

Folder #5 “The Nashville Globe-Folder #3 (1917)”
This folder contains a large selection music-related materials copied from microfilms of the newspaper The Nashville Globe. Mr. Seroff has created an index of the materials in this collection for the year 1917. There is also a set of notes regarding Mr. Seroff’s review of this Box 2 continued

material making note of highlights from the newspaper articles. Important sections of text are often highlighted.

 

Folder #6 “The Nashville Globe-Folder #4 (1918)”
This folder contains a large selection music-related materials copied from microfilms of the newspaper The Nashville Globe. Mr. Seroff has created an index of the materials in this collection for the year 1918. There is also a set of notes regarding Mr. Seroff’s review of this material making note of highlights from the newspaper articles. Important sections of text are often highlighted.

Folder #7 “The Nashville Globe-Folder #5”
This folder contains a large selection music-related materials copied from microfilms of the newspaper The Nashville Globe. Mr. Seroff has created an index of the materials in this collection for the year 1946 although there are materials in the collection dated 1939/40. There is also a set of notes regarding Mr. Seroff’s review of this material making note of highlights from the newspaper articles. Important sections of text are often highlighted.

 

Folder #8 “The Memphis World review-folder #1”
This folder contains a large selection music-related materials copied from microfilms of the newspaper The Memphis World. Mr. Seroff notes that Mr. Lynn Abbott reviewed the microfilm and has created the index of the materials in this collection for the years 1931-32, 1943-49 and some of 1950-53. Important sections of text are often highlighted.

 

Folder #9 “The Memphis World review-Folder #2”
This folder contains a large selection music-related materials copied from microfilms of the newspaper The Memphis World. Mr. Seroff notes that Mr. Lynn Abbott reviewed the microfilm and has created the index of the materials in this folder. The index for this material is in the previous folder. Collection spans 1948-1960. Important sections of text are often highlighted.

 

Folder #10 “Photos: Nashville groups-Ross Brothers, Skylarks, Watson Grove Gospel Singers, Mme. L.M. Wilson.
Separate folders for each group. Skylarks (4 photos, 3 4x5 negatives): Contains glossy promotional photos with singer’s names on back. Also contains three envelopes with 4x5 negatives of the promotional photos. Madame L.M. Wilson (2 photos): Two photos of Mme Wilson. Watson Grove Gospel Singers: One image on folded paper (from magazine?). Ross Brother (2 photos)s: Two photographs of the original (circa 1960s), damaged photograph from the John Phillips collection. Singer’s names noted on back of photo. Total of 9 images. 8 photos, 1 magazine image. Also includes 3 negatives in this folder.

 

Folder #11 “Photos: Nashville Gospel Groups-Fireside Singers/Fairfield Four Juniors, Gospel Tones, Hall Harmonizers, Harmony Kings, Rev Odie Hoover
  Separate folders for each group. Fireside Singers/Fairfield Four Juniors (3 photos, 1 4x5 negative): Contains business card, 4x5 negative in envelope of promotional photo, photographs and copies of photographs. Singers named on back of photo. Gospel Tones (1 photo): Contains one glossy promotional photo with names of singers on the back. Rev Odie Hoover Jr. (1 placard image): One single small cardboard placard (circa 1940s-50s?) with phone and address of singer. Harmony Kings (1image): One photo on cardboard (from poster/placard?) singers names noted on back. Hall Harmonizers (2 photos): Two photographs of the same original photo held in the John Phillips collection. Singers names noted on back. Folder also contains one set of negatives dated 5/9/88 of shots of singers taken by Robert Cogswell for the TN Arts Commission. Total of 8 images. 6 photographs, 2 images. Also includes 1 negative and one folder with a full roll of 35mm negatives.

 

Folder #12 “Photos: Nashville Groups. Gospel Stirrers, Nashville Jubilee Singers, Princely Players, 1989 Gospel Arts Day Reunion Quartet, Voices of Nashville/Voices of Love”
 1989 Gospel Arts Day Reunion Quartet (17 photos): Series of photographs taken by Robert Cogswell of singers posing and performing. One photo has the singers identified on the reverse side. Princely Players (5 photos): Series of photographs taken by Robert Cogswell of singers performing at the 1989 Gospel Arts Day. One photo has the singers identified on the reverse side. Voices of Nashville/Voices of Love (5 photos): Two photos are copies of images of the Voices of Nashville (circa 1950s) from the collection of John Phillips. Singers identified on reverse side. Two 8 1/2x 11” promotional photos (circa 1980s) of the Voices of Nashville with singers identified on reverse side. 1 Performance photo of the Voices of Love (1995) taken by Robert Cogswell. Singers identified on reverse side. Gospel Stirrers (2 photos): Two photos are copies of images of the Gospel Stirrers of Nashville (circa 1970s) from the collection of John Phillips. Singers identified on reverse side. Total of 32 photos in this folder.

 

Folder # 13 “Photos: Misc Nashville Groups-Bright Star Harmonizers, Chimes of Canaan, Israelite Travelers, Silvertone Mixed Quartet of Nashville, CBS (McCrary), The Psalms”
The Psalms (1 photo): The photo is a promotional shot of the Psalms quartet of Nashville (circa 1970s) from the collection of John Phillips. Singers identified on reverse side. CBS (McCrary) (13 photos): CBS stands for “Cousins, Brothers and Sisters” (group was formed of relatives of Rev. Sam McCrary). Series of photographs (circa 1980s-1990s) taken by Robert Cogswell of singers posing and performing. Some photos have the singers identified on the reverse side. Israelite Travelers (1 photo): Promotional photo of the group (circa 1950s) with singers identified on the back side. Chimes of Canaan (7 photos): These promotional photos of the group are copies of images of the Chimes of Canaan (circa 1950s-1970s) from the collection of John Phillips. Singers identified on reverse side. Bright Star Harmonizers (1 image): One single cardboard promotional image (circa 1940s?) of the group with names of singers, manager and telephone contact information. Silvertone Mixed Quartet of Nashville (1 image): One single cardboard promotional image (circa early 1940s) of the group with names of members and mailing address contact information. Total of 24 images in this folder.

 

Folder #14 “Spirit of Memphis photos”
Spirit of Memphis Quartet photo negatives (9 negatives): Negatives of photos of the quartet. Spirit of Memphis Quartet #1 (25 photos): Photos of the group in performance and casual settings (circa 1980s-2000s). One grouping of performance photos also has the 35mm negatives included in the collection (photo credit-Cheryl Evans Thurber). Also contained are photographs of older (1930s) promotional images. Many of the images have names of singers on the reverse side. Spirit of Memphis Quartet photos #2 (21 photos, 3 photocopies) Contains group and individual performance and promotional photos of the singers along with other important Memphis personalities (B.B. King, WDIA DJs Ford Nelson and Nat Williams, boxer Jersey Joe Walcott) circa 1940s-1990s. Folder also includes a number of original 8x10 promotional glossies for the group circa 1950s. Many of the photos include singer’s names on the backside. The folders also contain three photocopies of photographs of group and individual members of the quartet. Some photos appear to be originals while others seem to be photo reproductions. Total of 58 images in this folder.

 

Folder #15 “Photos: Memphis Gospel Groups-Gospel Writers, Songbirds of the South/Gospel Writer Girls, M.N. Gospel Singers, Sunset Travelers”.
Gospel Writers (1 photo, 2 photocopies): Promotional images of the group circa 1930s-1960s with member’s names included. Songbirds of the South/Gospel Writer Junior Girls (3 photos, 4 negatives, 1 placard): Promotional images of the group circa 1950s. The photos are photographic copies of the original images (negatives are included). There is one original cardboard promotional photo of the group. Singers are identified on the backside of the photos. Sunset Travelers (3 photos, 1 negative): Promotional images of the group circa 1950s. Two photos are photographic copies of the original images and one 8x10 appears to be an original copy. (Negative is of this image) M.N. Gospel Singers of Memphis (1 photo): Contains one photographic copy of original image of promotional photo circa late 1940s. Singer’s names are listed on photo. Total of 15 images in this folder.

 

Folder #16 “Photos: Memphis Gospel Groups-Brewsteraires, Dixie Nightingales, Harps of Melody/Golden Stars, Pattersonaires, Silvertone Gospel Singers, Southern Wonders, Zion Hill Spirituals”
Brewsteraires (1 photo, 1 negative): Promotional photo of the group (circa 1965) with names of members on back. Negative is for this image. Dixie Nightingales (1 photocopy of image on negative for which photo print does not exist): Promotional photo of the group (circa 1960s) with names of members on front. Zion Hill Spirituals (1 cardboard image): Appears to be an original (circa 1950s-1960s) cardboard promotional photo of the group. No names are included. Southern Wonders Religious Singers (2 negatives, 1 performance poster, 4 photographs, 1 photocopy of image on negative for which photo print does not exist): Folder contains original performance poster (1979), four (circa 1940s-1950s) promotional photos, one photocopy of promotional photograph and two negatives for included images. Silvertone Gospel Singers female group (1 photograph): Includes one photographic copy of original promotional photo of the singers. Harps of Melody (2 photographs): Photographic copies of promotional photos of the group (circa 1945) with names of members on back. Pattersonaires (1 negative, 2 photographs): One photo is a group shot circa 1957 the second photo shows two men in radio studio. Negative is for group image. Names included on back of images. Total of 18 images in this folder.

 

Folder # 17 “Photos: Tennessee Gospel Groups-Dixieland Singers of Jackson, Dixie Travelers of Dickson, Harps of Zion Quartet of Murfreesboro, Major Harmonizers of Springfield, Southernaires Gospel Singers of Murfreesboro, Swan Silvertones of Knoxville”
Various Tennessee Gospel Groups (3 photos): Photographic copies of originals held in the John Phillips collection. Subjects are the Major Harmonizers, Dixie-Land Singers of Jackson, TN, and the Dixie Travelers of Dickson, TN. Southernaires Gospel Singers of Murfreesboro, TN female group (1 cardboard placard): Folder contains one original placard for the group with singer’s names and contact information included. Swan Silvertones (1 photocopy, 1 promotional sheet, 3 photographs): Folder contains one photocopy of early (1930s-1940s) photo of the group, Specialty Records promotional handout with photo and biographical information, performance photo, promo photo and informal shot of Rev Dewey Young. Harps of Zion Quartet of Murfreesboro, TN female group (1 image): Contains one image of the quartet (circa 1940) Total of 9 images in this folder.

 

Folder # 18 “Fisk Photos also Mrs. James A. Myers’ Famous Jubilee Singers”
Envelope Mrs. James A Myers photos #1 (3 photos, 1 4x5 negative):  Personal photos featuring Mrs. James A Myers and others in Germany circa 1920s-1930s. Individuals are named on the back with post-it notes and the photos also have original pencil captions on back. Also contains 1 4x5 negative. Envelope Mrs. James A Myers and Famous Jubilee Singers #2 (30 photos): Photo set (circa 1919-1980s) of Mrs. James A Myers and the Famous Jubilee Singers. Contains promotional, performance, travel (trip to India) related images. Many photos have captions and identification on back sides. Folder Mrs. James A Myers and Famous Jubilee Singers #3 (13 photos): Wide variety of large photos (circa 1871-1980s) and original promotional photos that feature the Original Fisk Jubilee Singers/Club, The Jubilee Singers, and various offshoots. Also contains photo reproductions of performance posters from the U.S. and Swedish tour (1895) and various images of Dr. Rawn Spearman. Total of 47 images in this folder.

 

Folder #19 “Fairfield Four-photos and placards”
Envelope Fairfield Four Photo Negatives (31 negatives-14@ 4x5, 17@ 35mm): Envelope contains negative images of the Fairfield Four (circa 1930s-1980s). Envelope Fairfield Four Photos #1 (11 photos): Contains snapshots of the Fairfield Four (circa 1980s-1990s). Mostly casual images but also contains Grammy Award ceremony and history conference shots. Names of singers and photographer credits included on back sides of photos.  Envelope Fairfield Four Photos #2 (17 photos): Photo set of the Fairfield Four (circa 1980s) with singers names and photo credits on the back sides of photos. Majority of shots are of performances but also contains photo of John Battle’s gravesite, Fairfield Church, early Fairfield Four record. Folder Fairfield Four Photos #3 (2 photos): Two large promotional photos of the Fairfield Four. Folder Fairfield Four Photos # 4 (24 photos, 4 placards): Collection of historic placards (with photos, song lyrics, contact information, singer’s names, advertising etc) promotional materials/photos, performance photos (circa 1930s-1980s). One contact sheet with photos of singers, 1980s era performance photos. Most images have information about singers, events, photographer credits and locations on the back. Total of 106 images in this folder.

 

 

Box 3

 

Box 3:  VHS Video tapes

“Clips for Doug”
T-120 VHS Cassette. Contains various video clips of The Fireside Singers (featuring Willie Frank Lewis circa 1970s), Jordanaires, Phil Harris and Jubilee 4, outdoor meeting/baptizing etc.

 Box 3: Song/scene list:
 Phil Harris and Jubilee Four, children tap dancing, Daddy Grace Baptizing, children singing, unidentified male quartet skit, outdoor meeting and baptizing
 Fireside Singers-Before This Time Another Year, Out Of The Depths (lead W.F. Lewis, I Shall Not Be Moved (Ben Vaughn-lead)
 Deep River Boys with Kate Smith
 Jordanaires-Something Within Me, Shadrack, My Journey to the Sky, Clancy Lowered the Boom, Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho, Dig A Little Deeper

“Canaan Band Pre Anniversary 1992” HQ-120 VHS video cassette. Voices of Love w/Margaret Spence. “The Lord Loves Me” around 1:40

“Interview with John Phillips by Tony Ward c. 2003” HQ-120 VHS video cassette. Interview with John Phillips.

 

Box 3:  Cassette Audio Tapes

1-Interview with Gordon Stoker-Brentwood, TN. Nov 19, 2008. 60min

2-Willie Love’s 50th Anniversary at St. Mark’s M.B.C. March 20, 1989. 90min
 Song list side A:
 Congregational singing-Swing Low Sweet Chariot/My Lord’s Getting us Ready
 Gospel Lights-Lord, You’ve Been So Good
 Sister Mattie Lloyd-You Must Be Born Again/How I got Over
 Billie Joe and the Gospel Jubilees-Just Like He Said He Would/Sending up my Timber (short portion only) Low Down Chariot
 Song list side B:
 Van Trees Family-Lord Show Me the Way
 Sons of Glory (lead, Rev. Shannon)-He Looked Beyond My Faults/Glory, Glory (lead, Frank   Newsome)
 Parran (?) Choir-Stumbling Over Me
 Chosen Five (of Mobile)-I’ll Fly Away
 Willie Love and Voices of Nashville-The Lord Loves Me

 3-Fireside Singers 45th Anniversary program 11/13/88 (also features the Fairfield Four). 90min
 Song list side A:
 Fireside Singers-I Want to Rest, Noah, My Heavenly Father Watches over Me, Dr. Jesus, He’s So Good To Me
 Fairfield Four-Jesus, Hallelujah
 Song list side B:
 Fairfield Four-(in progress) Dig A Little Deeper

 Gospel Jubilees(Rutherford, TN)-Just Like He Said He Would, Stand By Me, See About Me, When the Gates Swing Open

 

4-Isaac Freeman interview 8/25/06. 90min

5-Earl Malone interview. 60min

6-Interview w/Isaac “Dickie” Freeman. Nashville, September, 29th 2006. 90min

7-The Fairfield Four (with unknown guitar accompaniment circa 1983-84. Unknown source. Short recording (demo?)
 Song list:
 Be What You Are (Richardson)
 Sign Me Up For the Christian Jubilee (Freeman)
 Dig A Little Deeper (Hill Freeman, Richardson)
 Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around (McCrary)
 Love Like a River (McCrary)

8-The Fairfield Four-WRLT 2/7/93. 90min (no song list with tape)

9-Side A: Harps of Melody practice in December, 1983. At the Memphis, TN home of Clara Anderson.
 Song list side A:
 Harps of Melody-Lord Bless the Weary Soldier in Vietnam, He’s My Everything, I’m a Soldier, Old Time Religion, Job, Remember Me
 Pattersonaires-I Need Thee, I Don’t Feel No Way Tired, I Shall See Him Face to Face (lead, Al Davis), How Great Thou Art (lead, James Shelton)
Side B: Pattersonaires program at the New Salem Baptist Church, Memphis, TN. Detailed performance notes included on separate sheet in cassette case. 90min.
 Song list side B:
 Holding On (Willie Neal-lead), He’s Worthy, He Took the Time To Save My Soul, The Old  Landmark, Amazing Grace

10-Princely Players at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 3/20/93. Recorded for the “Wade in the Water” series. Contains detailed performance notes on separate sheet in cassette case.
 Song list:
 Ride on King Jesus, Go Down Moses, We Shall Walk Through the Valley, I’m A-Rollin’, Go In  The Wilderness, Rise Shine, Ain’t That Good News, I’ve Been Buked and Scorned, Roll Jordan
 Roll, “Slave Auction”, “Slave Sermon” w/There’s A Meeting Here Today, Amazing Grace

12-Smithsonian Field Tape (1986). This cassette contains field recordings made by Doug Seroff in preparation for the Festival of American Folklife in 1986. Contains Fireside Singers rehearsal and performances by Rev. Morgan Babb and the Voices of Nashville. Detailed notes enclosed in cassette case. 90 min.
 Song list side A:
 Fireside Singers-Lift Every Voice and Sing, Shepherd Feed My Sheep, Run On, Everybody Ought to Love Their Soul, In My Savior’s Care, Wade In the Water, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow, Gonna Live By Your Word, Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray
 Rev. Morgan Babb-What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Soon Will Be Done, Pray for Me, Move On Up A Little Higher
 Song list side B:
 Voices of Nashville-Cool Down Yonder (lead: John Phillips), I Shall Know Him (lead: Willie Love), Let It Be Me (lead: Love), Peace In the Heaven Above (lead: Huey Brown), Release Me (lead: Love), The Lord Loves Me (lead: Love)

 13-Label title information crossed out. Detailed liner notes enclosed in cassette case. Side A: California Jubilee Singers (not TN group). This is a dub of an East German LP recorded in 1964. No song list for side A. Side B: Famous Jubilee Singers under the direction of Mrs. James A. Myers. Recorded during South American tour circa 1956. Personnel includes Starling Hatchett (tenor). 90 min.
 Song list side B:
 Famous Jubilee Singers-Live A-Humble, Good News, Climbing Up the Mountain Children, Unknown Title, Deep River, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, I Got A Robe, Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho, Unknown, Unknown, King Jesus is A-Listening, Every Time I Feel the Spirit, Little David, Soon Will Be Done,
 Remaining tracks are by unidentified mixed group-Live A-Humble, Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray, Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.

14-Princely Players at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, March 20th, 1993. Detailed liner notes with song titles and orders enclosed in cassette case. Songs recorded for the “Wade in the Water” radio series.
Song list:
Princely Players-Oh Freedom (Odessa Settles), Roll Jordan Roll, Steal Away, Heaven, We Shall Walk Through the Valley, Get On Board, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Ride On King Jesus

15-Fisk University Jubilee Singers-10/6/91. Performance tape of the group recorded at Meharry Medical College. Card insert has song list and order of performance. 60min.
 Song list side A:
 Rise Shine, Fare the Well Everybody (at City Cemetery), Gonna Journey Away, Done Opened My Mouth to the Lord.

16-Doug Seroff 1-27-93 2nd Quartet Interview
No track listing or details included.

17-Doug Seroff on the Fisk Jubilee Singers, 5-11-93
Wade In The Water. Bernice Johnson Reagon interviews. Doug Seroff on the Fisk Jubilee Singers, 5-11-93

18-Princely Players Sing Spirituals for WADE IN THE WATER
Performance recording of the Princely Players.

Song list:
Ride on King Jesus, Go Down Moses, Go In The Wilderness, Rise, Shine Light is a Coming, Ain’t That Good News, I’ve Been Buked, Roll, Jordan Roll, Slave Auction, Amazing Grace, Oh Freedom, I Got Shoes, Gospel Train.

19-Doug Seroff Golden Gates/Fisk 10-14-92
Cassette insert has the note “Transcribers-Doug Seroff ends this interview by identifying himself after his chat with Bernice. Chat is not related to interview. We need this final I.D. Please transcribe all”. 60 min.

20-Gospel Harmonettes Anniversary Concert. December 13, 1992
Cassette of Gospel Harmonettes performance.
Copyright, National Public Radio. No track listing. Side 3 and 4.

21-Gospel Harmonettes Anniversary Concert. December 12, 1992
Cassette of Gospel Harmonettes performance.
Copyright, National Public Radio. No track listing. Side 5 and 6.

22-Gospel Harmonettes Anniversary Concert. December 13, 1992
Cassette of Gospel Harmonettes performance.
Copyright, National Public Radio. No track listing. Side 7 and 8.

 

Box 3: Compact Disc Recordings

1-CD-R recording of two groups, Fairfield Four and Harps of Melody. Fairfield Four recorded by Bruce Nemerov at the 8th Annual TN Grassroots Days Festival, 9/25/83 and Harps of Melody recorded at home of Clara Anderson during rehearsal, 8/20/84. Detailed song list in case. Volume and audio condition is good.
Song list:
Fairfield Four-God Shall Wipe All Tears Away (lead McCrary), Roll Jordan Roll (Freeman), I’ll Rise Again (Freeman), Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around (McCrary and Hill), Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land (Freeman), I Know the Lord Will Make a Way (Richardson)
Harps of Melody-I’m Going to Sing and Make Melody, I Need Thee, The Lord Knows What I Need, I’m In His Care, Who Is That Knocking, What A Time, Jesus Will Roll All Burdens Away, Tonight, Roll Jordan Roll, Old Time Religion, I’m A Soldier.

2-CD-R of various field recordings by Doug Seroff. Recording features the Harps of Melody rehearsal (8/20/84), Nashville Jubilee Singers in concert at John Wesley Church in Nashville (3/23/83) and the Fisk University Jubilee Singers sound check and convocation performance for Jubilee Day Commemoration at the Fisk University Chapel (10/6/88). Sound quality and volume is good. Detailed song list in case.
 Song list:
 Harps of Melody-He’s My Everything, Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread, Walk in Jerusalem
 Nashville Jubilee Singers-They Led My Lord Away, Were You There, He Never Said a Mumbling Word, God So Loved the World.
 Fisk University Jubilee Singers-Steal Away, Great Day, Rise Shine, Steal Away, I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray, The Gold and the Blue, Steal Away, Every Time I Feel The Spirit, Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray, Rock My Soul.
 

3-CD-R of live recordings of the Fairfield Four. Performances include “Home of the Heroes” concert in Bessemer, AL Civic Center Auditorium (9/30/90), Nashville Summer Lights Festival (6/3/83) and a rehearsal recording in Brighton, AL (early 1984) for the “On the Battlefield” film. Sound quality and volume is good. Detailed song list in case.
 Song list:
 Today, Hallelujah, Shadrach, Dig A Little Deeper, Remember Me, Hallelujah, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Jesus Is Ready, I’ll Rise Again, Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around, Be What You Are, Remember Me, Hallelujah, Roll Jordan Roll, Don’t You Let Nobody Turn You Around, Be What You Are.

4-CD-R re-recording of cassette of “The Fairfield Four…ExpandedDig A Little Deeper/Back to Basics (Vortex #101, 1989). CD case has photocopy of original cassette insert card with song list and names of singers. Volume is good. Sound quality varies. Detailed song list in case.
 Song list:
 Hallelujah, I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray, His Love Is Like a River, Talk to the Man Above,  Noah, Walk This Road to Glory, Dig A Little Deeper, Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around, Leaning and Depending, You Can’t Beat God Giving, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, I Thank You Jesus, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, Roll Jordan.

5- CD-R of various field recordings by Doug Seroff. Recording features performances of The Voices of Nashville (2/16/86), Way Plain Travelers of Knoxville (3/1/86), The Fairfield Four rehearsal (4/30/88) and Spirit of Memphis rehearsal (7/30/83). Volume and sound quality good. Detailed song list in case.
 Song list:
 Way Plain Travelers-God Is Coming Back, Your Tears, Don’t Forget to Remember, God Rode in a Windstorm, The Lord Will Make a Way, Jesus Will Fix It, Lord I Just Want to Thank You, Please Be Patient, Lord Help Me to be Strong.
 Fairfield Four-My Life Will Be Sweeter Someday, I Know I’ve Been Changed, What Could I Do.
 Spirit of Memphis-You Better Run, Happy in the Service of the Lord, Jesus Traveled This Road Before.

6-CD-R recording contains air checks of performances by the Fireside Singers from radio station WAMB-Donelson circa 1982-83. Also contains two recordings of the Fireside Singers from WLAC-Nashville (circa 1950s). Tracks 8, 9 are of good quality and volume. Detailed song list in case.
 Song list:
 Nearer My God to Thee, Closing Theme, Theme, Daniel Saw the Stone, Have You Got Good Religion, Everybody Ought to Love Their Soul, Wade in the Water (incomplete) Gospel Train, When the Roll is Called.

7-CD-R recordings of air checks of performances by the Fireside Singers on WAMB-Donelson Sunday morning radio shows 1982-85. Tracks 17-24 are of good quality and volume. Detailed song list in case.
 Song list:
 Theme, In My Saviors Care, Does Jesus Care, On My Way to Heaven Anyhow, Theme, Jesus Met the Woman at the Well, Steal Away, Theme, Before This Time Another Year, Everybody Ought to Love Their Soul, I’ve Got a Witness in Heaven, Closing Theme, Does Jesus Care, Run On, Shadrach, Gonna Live By Your Word, I Made a Vow To The Lord, Lift Every Voice and Sing, Noah, Everybody Ought to Love Their Soul, I Made a Vow To The Lord, Anyhow, In My Saviors Care. 

8-CD-R recordings of air checks of performances by the Fireside Singers on WAMB-Donelson Sunday morning radio shows 1982-85. Detailed song list in case.
 Song list:
 Theme (When I’ve Sung My Last Song), Daniel Saw the Stone, I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray, Nearer My God to Thee, Theme, Lord, I’ve Tried, Shepherd Feed My Sheep, I Shall Not Be Moved, Theme, Daniel Saw The Stone, I Trust in God, Come in the Room, Nearer My God to Thee, Theme, Daniel Saw the Stone, I Shall Not Be Moved, Theme, Packing Up Getting Ready, I’ll Rise Again, Farther Along, Theme. 

9-CD-R re-recording of 78rpm acetates that were originally recorded for airplay on WDIA-Memphis circa 1950s. Performers include the Dixie Nightingales, Spirit of Memphis, Queen C. Anderson and Brewster Singers, Southern Wonders, Sons of Jehovah, Songbirds of the South and the Brewsteraires. Detailed song list in case. Mr. Seroff mentioned that some of the recordings in this set are available on a reissue LP of gospel music titled Bless My Bones: Memphis Gospel Radio. One is on the P-Vine label (#9051) and the second on Rounder (#2063)
 Song list:
 Dixie Nightingales-Music in the Air, In My Saviors Care, Living For Jesus
 Spirit of Memphis-Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread, Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit, Sending Up Material, Walk of Life, The Lord Will Make a Way, Milky White Way, Savior Don’t Pass Me By, I Don’t Know Why.
 Queen C. Anderson & Brewster Singers-Bank in the Sky, Walk Thru the Water
 Southern Wonders-Anyhow, Lord Stand By Me
 Sons of Jehovah-John the Revelator, On Calvary
 Songbirds of the South-He is Able
 Brewsteraires-So Glad

10-CD-R “Unissued Material (Tennessee Gospel Artists)” Disc features recordings by Rev. W.M. Anderson and the Jordan River Singers, RCA Victor test pressing of Pattersonaires, Famous Jubilee Singers, Sun test pressing of Southern Jubilees, Sun test pressing of Prisonaires, and air check recording of the Fairfield Four. Recordings circa late 1940s. Recordings are of good quality and volume. Detailed song list in case.
 Song list:
 Rev. W.M. Anderson and the Jordan River Singers-Jesus on the Mainline, When We Get Over
 Pattersonaires-I Found the Answer, The Old Landmark
 Famous Jubilee Singers (Dir. Mrs. James A. Myers)-Walkin’ on the Green Grass
 Southern Jubilees-There’s A Man In Jerusalem
 Prisonaires-Frank Clement, My God Is Real
 Fairfield Four-Lord I’ve Tried, What Could I Do

 

 

Box 3:  Paper/correspondence etc.

Folder #1 “Souvenir Books”
 Folder contains four souvenir booklets. Two are from the Nashville Gospel Arts Day (1988, 1989) one copy of the Birmingham Quartet Scrapbook from the Jefferson County quartet reunion in Birmingham, AL on October 12, 1980 and one copy of the booklet for the Program in Black American Culture presented by the Smithsonian in 1981. Booklet articles about the quartets were researched and written by Doug Seroff. Each has detailed information on the groups, individual singers, histories and many historic and current photographs of the quartets and their personnel.

Folder # 2 “The Tennesseans” 
 This folder contains information pertaining to The Tennesseans (aka Donavin’s Famous Tennesseans/The Original Tennesseans. Materials include: Photo copy of contents of “Selections of Plantation Songs” (circa 1880s) with song lyrics, melody notation, description of group etc. Includes photo copy of an account of the first commencement of Meharry Medical College (circa 1876-79) at which the Tennesseans performed. There are two pages from the Walden College Catalog (1921-22) with a history of the Tennesseans fund raising tour to raise money for a school building. One page from the Nashville Daily American (Feb. 23rd, 1883) describes a performance of the Tennesseans. Two pages of a performance review of the Tennesseans from the Chicago Evening Journal, February 17th 1874 (reprint is from February of 1941). Photocopy of Donavin’s Original Tennesseans performance ad from 11/13/1880. There is also a small set of correspondence to and from Mr. Seroff regarding the history of the Tennesseans. All reprints have been highlighted to emphasize the text related to the Tennesseans.

Folder #3 “Additions to Prior Delivery”
 Miscellaneous items that were delivered after initial consignment of items from Mr. Seroff.
Folder contains: John Phillips funeral program/obituary (January 8, 2011), NEA Folk Arts Program Site Visit Report for the 1988 and 1989 Gospel Arts Day at Fisk University, transcript of interview of Gordon Stoker by Doug Seroff and Alan Stoker (November, 2008) about the Jordanaires, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Golden Gate Gospel Quartet and Elvis Presley. Also contains Mr. Seroff’s draft for the notes included with the booklet for the 1989 Gospel Arts Day.

Folder # 4 “Negatives, Archival Information”
 Negatives: Envelope contains five negatives of promotional images of the Dixie Nightingales, Gospel Writers, Gospel Writers/Elijah Jones, James Darling and the Southern Wonders. Also contains a collection of papers describing other gospel quartet related papers, photos etc that Mr. Seroff donated to the Nashville Public Library special collections. Also contains cover letter explaining contents of this folder.  Total of 5 images in this folder.

 

 

Box 4

 

Envelope #1 “John Battle Datebook”
 Envelope contains John Battle’s datebook for 1947 with names, addresses and performance dates and locations.

Folder #2 “Fairfield Four Notebook/Bylaws”
 Official notebook of the Fairfield Four (circa 1940s) Containing detailed notes about song arrangements, bylaws, fines for member’s infractions, song lyrics, finances/treasury numbers, early histories, stage introductions, minutes of meetings and news clippings on a variety of subjects (The Fairfield Four, current news, sports-boxing, poetry etc. )

Folder #3 “John Battle Notebook”
 John Battle’s personal notebook containing song lyrics, “thoughts for the day”, Ten Commandments, poems etc.

 

 

Box 5 (restricted Fisk Jubilee Singers material)

 

 

Materials Cataloged Separately:

The photographs contained in this collection have been digitized and as of August 2011 are awaiting cataloging in the CPM InMagic database.

 

Arrangement: The collection maintains the original order as presented by the creator, Doug Seroff.

 

Location:

All of the materials are currently stored in the 5 boxes that comprise the entire collection and are housed with other manuscript collections by accession number.

 

Related Materials:

The recording “Bless My Bones-Memphis Gospel Radio in the 1950s” (Rounder 2063) is held in the LP collection.
Doug Seroff Country Music Collection 10-034

Doug Seroff collection of Negro harmony singing 89-031

Doug Seroff Film Collection  95-055

Doug Seroff black gospel disc collection 89-009
Audio recordings located in    X:\AudioVisualFiles\Doug Seroff
Bruce Nemerov 1989 Gospel Arts Day recording

 

MARC:  yes

 

Finding aid written by John Fabke, April 2011