Royalty Agreement for "Walking Blues"

Royalty Agreement for "Walking Blues"

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Description (Brief)

This printed, typed, and hand-written document is the Chicago Music Publishing Company's royalty agreement for the song "Walking Blues" by composers Gertrude "Ma" Rainey and Lovie Austin. The document was signed by the composers and witnessed and signed by the A&R (Artists and Repertoire) representative, J. Mayo Williams, on December 12, 1923. As per the agreement, Rainey and Austin would receive “two cents for each printed pianoforte copy of the said work sold by the PUBLISHER in the United States and Canada only,” as well as “a sum equal to one-fourth of any and all royalties that the PUBLISHER shall actually receive from the use of said musical composition for mechanical reproduction less ten per cent (10%) for cost of collection in the form of all player rolls, records, discs, or other mechanical reproduction of the musical composition.”

Gertrude"Ma" Rainey (born Gertrude Pridgett, 1886-1939) was a pioneering African American blues singer and entertainer, who became known as "The Mother of the Blues." Early in her career, Rainey was popular on the theatrical circuit known as TOBA (Theater Owners Booking Association). Between 1923 and 1928, she made more than 100 recordings for her record label, Paramount. Rainey continued to tour and record up to her retirement in 1935.

Object Name
date made
Rainey, Ma
Austin, Lovey
Chicago Music Publishing Company
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 11 in x 8 1/2 in; 27.94 cm x 21.59 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Music & Musical Instruments
Popular Entertainment
Entertainment Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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