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 Post subject: American Premium Record Guide 4th Edition 1900-1965
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:02 pm 
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Victor IV
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While doing some antiqueing, which I do frequently. I found a used copy of the " American Premium Recrod Guide 1900-1965" 4th edition. Granted it's an out of date copy (1992), but it, at least has some usefull inforamtion for me. Such as dates for labels, as well as other inforamtion on records, and genres. Of course there is a price guide, but I don't go by those. It's just nice to have a least a copy like this. Since most guides only cover from 1950-1980's, and are for vyinl LP's and 45's. Not 78's, which this book covers.

Paul


Last edited by Edisonfan on Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Finally found a Record Guide
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:31 pm 
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Victor V
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Many of us who grew up in the vinyl LP era, or watched shellac yield to vinyl, fondly remember the Schwann Record Guide. Its founder, William Schwann, died last June. See http://tinyurl.com/c9qxq3.


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 Post subject: Re: Finally found a Record Guide
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:42 pm 
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Victor IV
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Thank you for shareing that article Henry.

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: American Premium Record Guide 4th Edition 1900-1965
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:05 pm 
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Victor IV
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Henry,

To echo Paul: thank you for pointing out the article. I found it interesting that his record shop was in Cambridge (and no doubt I have gone past where it was).

Unfortunately, I wasn’t having any luck finding the exact address of it.

— MordEth




Quoted from the New York Times:

William Schwann, 85, Founder Of the Noted Record Catalogue


By Anthony Tommasini
Published: June 18, 1998

William Schwann, an organist, musicologist and publisher who started a record catalogue in 1949 that became an indispensable resource for browsers, collectors, musicians, critics and record company executives, died on June 7 at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. He was 85.

Since his retirement in 1985, he had been living in Lincoln, Mass., with his wife, Aire-Maija, who survives him.

Mr. Schwann’s name has become as synonymous with record collecting as the name of Baedeker is to travel and Bartlett is to quotations. His reasons for starting the catalogue were eminently practical. He owned a store in Cambridge, across the street from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called simply “The Record Shop.” At the time, long-playing records, which had been introduced by Columbia the previous year, were being released so quickly that Mr. Schwann had trouble keeping track of what was available.

“I had to protect myself from my bad memory,” he said in an interview in later years. So he assembled a list of all available recordings, and typed it up, some 26 pages. “This gave me the idea of doing the catalogue,” he said. “And since I had helped organize a Boston record dealers association during the war, when shellac was unavailable and records scarce, I had an immediate market for my guide.” At the time, there were 11 record labels with some 600 titles. The first Schwann catalogue, hand-typed and mimeographed, sold 11,000 copies. Within a month it was obsolete. So Mr. Schwann realized that he would have to publish a new issue every month.

By 1953, the demands of the catalogue were so great that he had to give up his record shop. Rumford Press in Concord, N.H., was contracted to print the catalogue using an offset process. Mr. Schwann took on a staff, and eventually maintained information on a computer database. When he sold the catalogue in 1976 (although he kept running it until his retirement), it had expanded to over 300 pages with over 40,000 listings.

Compiling the catalogue was often a nightmare of information gathering, and the information kept changing. During his time, Mr. Schwann saw the long-playing disk superseded by stereophonic records, audiotapes and compact disks. Initially the catalogues included sections for jazz and Broadway musicals, but Mr. Schwann never claimed as much completeness in those listings, which were eventually published separately. Trying to get clear answers from rapidly changing record companies about what releases were in the stores and available was exasperating.

But by the 1960’s, the Schwann catalogue was invaluable. Where else, for just $1, the cost at the time, could one find a complete listing of, say, the Beethoven piano sonatas, in order, with dates of composition, opus numbers and all available recordings? As a trained musicologist, Mr. Schwann was careful about facts but not obsessive. Where scholars had formed a consensus about, say, the chronology of the Mozart piano concertos, he drew on the latest thinking. But where confusion remained, for example, the order of the Haydn string quartets, he used the traditional and, he acknowledged, questionable opus numbers.

William Joseph Schwann was born on May 13, 1913, in Salem, Ill., the son of the Rev. Henry W. and Effie A. Schwann. He attended the Conservatory of Music at the University of Louisville, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1935. During these years he worked as an organist and choir director. He later moved to Boston, where he did graduate work at Harvard and Boston University, and studied organ with E. Power Biggs.

The 30th-anniversary issue of the catalogue in 1979 was filled with congratulatory messages from luminaries like Aaron Copland and Isaac Stern. Mr. Schwann received many awards, including honorary doctorates from the University of Louisville and the New England Conservatory.

In the late 1980’s, the catalogue was sold to Stereophile. Today, the Schwann Opus catalogue, as it is called, is owned and published quarterly by Valley Media in New Mexico, and regularly runs over 1,000 pages.
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