HANDY, WILLIAM CHRISTOPHER, 1873-1958

Biography:

Jazz musician, composer. Born– November 16, 1873, Florence. Parents– Charles Bernard and Elizabeth (Brewer) Handy. Married– Elizabeth Virginia Price, 1898. Teacher in Birmingham for two years; laborer in Bessemer iron works, itinerant bricklayer and music teacher. Organizer and leader of a band which he took to the Chicago World’s Fair; leader and cornetist for Mahara’s Colored Minstrels. In the 1909 mayoral election in Memphis, Tennessee, Handy’s band was hired by candidate Edward Crump. Handy’s campaign song, “Mr. Crump,” was slightly changed to become “Memphis Blues.” Writer of “St. Louis Blues,” “Beale Street Blues,” “Mississippi Blues,” and more than sixty other songs. Known as “Father of the Blues.”

Source:

Current Biography, 1941 and 1958.

Publication(s):

Father of the Blues. New York; Macmillan, 1941.

Negro Authors and Composers of the United States. New York; Handy Brothers Music Co., 1938?

Editor:

Blues, an Anthology. New York; A. C. Boni, 1926.