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Guide to the Bob Arnold Collection ARS.0080
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Box 9, Box 2

1. Research Correspondence

Scope and Contents

Includes communication with the Association of Recorded Sound Collections (and its Northern California chapter), George Blacker, Ralph J. Gleason, John Hammond, Bill Hebden (Swingtime Records), Roger Kinkle, Len Kunstadt, Muzzy Marcellino, Brian Rust, Tom Tsotsi, and Bozy White.

2. Research Projects

Box 3

A-Z subject research folders

Physical Description: 41 folders

Scope and Contents

Includes correspondence with artists, songwriters, family members, associates, record dealers, researchers, archives, vital records offices, etc. Folders are labeled as follows: "Betty Coed" ; Biltmore Trio ; Ernie Birchill ; Werner Bochmann ; Neil Buckley ; Coakley Orchestra ; Bernie and Walter Cummins ; Gladys DuBois ; Ben Ellison ; English Songwriters ; European Personalities ; Emil H. Flindt ; Jack Fulton ; Eddie Gale ; Bill Grantham ; James Harkins ; "I'm Confessin'" ; Stan Jacobsen ; Grace Johnston ; Loretta Lee ; Everett Marshall ; Jack Miller ; Mills Brothers ; Bill Moreing ; Jacques Renard ; Revere Sisters (aka Rhythm Girls) ; Roy Ringwald ; Milt Shaw ; Nathaniel Shilkret ; Paul Small ; Soundies ; "Star Dust" ; Philip Steele ; Harold Stern ; Bert Stock ; Tamara ; Three Girl Friends ; Paul Tremaine ; Vera Van ; Jane Vance ; Sox Wilson and Coot Grant.
Box 9

Composer/Song notes

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

Midge Williams, Williams Quartette Roger Segure


After receiving and enjoying a tape of rare Midge Williams recordings in the mid-1980s, Arnold was drawn to find out more about her. This was quite a challenge, given the paucity of available information at the time. Virginia Louise "Midge" Williams was born in Portland, Oregon in 1915, but was raised in Allensworth and later Berkeley, California. By the mid-1920s, Midge was performing with her brothers John Lewis, Jr., Charles, and Robert as the Williams Quartette on the Fanchon and Marco circuit. The collection contains original promotional photographs of the group. By the early 1930s, the group, then known as the Williams Four, was managed by Roger Segure, a pianist and composer who is known for his arrangements for Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Lunceford, Andy Kirk, John Kirby, Mary Lou Williams, Red Allen, and Alvino Rey. Segure also worked with Langston Hughes, and a photocopy of a Hughes letter to Segure is included here. In 1933, Segure booked a tour of Asia for the Williams. Midge Williams made a few (now very rare) records in Japan, including a version of St. Louis Blues partially sung in Japanese that was to gain some notoriety in later years. There are playbills, contracts, catalogs, record labels and correspondence from this trip in the collection, which came to Arnold by way of Segure's widow.
Midge Williams might well be best known for her association with Louis Armstrong from 1938 to 1941. Although she never recorded with him, they toured around the country and she received a good deal of press (which Arnold compiled). Having moved to New York in 1936, Williams established her reputation through many radio engagements, including Rudy Vallee's Fleischmann's Hour, Al Jolson's Shell Chateau, and on several NBC sustainers (short, unsponsored programs). Besides the Japanese Columbia recordings, she also made records with Teddy Wilson, Frank Froeba (with Bunny Berigan on the session), Miff Mole (with Harry James and Glenn Miller), Lil Armstrong, and with a revolving unit known as The Jazz Jesters (with members at various times including Raymond Scott, Edmund Hall, Frankie Newton, Buster Bailey, John Kirby, and Charlie Shavers). She also recorded under her own name in 1940. Sadly, her career stalled in the early 1940s, and her last appearance was on San Francisco radio station KFRC's Jack Webb Show in 1946, delivering a version of "Cow Cow Boogie." Midge Williams, alone and impoverished, died of tuberculosis at San Francisco General Hospital in 1952. Arnold was able to track down the only surviving member of the Quartette, Robert Williams, in 2000, and uncovered enough information to pen the liner notes to a reissue of Midge Williams. Arnold appears to have been working on a full-length biography, but only a few draft chapters survive.

Scope and Contents

Book typescript drafts, chapters 2-6 ; Segure original files (correspondence, contracts, etc.) ; Original photographs ; Various photocopies ; Gloria Segure correspondence ; Allensworth history ; Photocopied press clippings ; CD-R of Midge Williams' Nipponophone (Columbia Japan) recordings

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Segure, Roger, 1905-2000
Williams, Midge
Box 11

Photographs - 78 rpm labels

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 9

Research by others (essays, discographies ,etc.): Chick Bullock, Freddie Martin, Jan Peerce, Kate Smith, Art Hickman

Physical Description: 5 folders
Box 11

Review for ARSC Journal of Black Entertainers in African-American Newspaper Articles (published?) 2003

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 2

Song Hits 1936-1953, and other lists of hit songs

Physical Description: 1 folder

3. Scrapbooks

Physical Description: 18 folders

Scope and Contents

Mostly obituaries and criticism from the entertainment world. Majority taken from the San Francisco Chronicle, including columns by Ralph Gleason, Phil Elwood, Joel Selvin, Herb Caen, etc. Both photocopies (all pre-1964 are copies) and original clippings.
Box 4

Scrapbooks I - VII 7/1926-1/79 1926-1979

Box 8

Scrapbooks VIII - XIV 12/1979-12/93 1979-1993

Box 9

Scrapbooks XV - XVII 1/94-12/04 1994-2004

Box 9

4. Program Notes

Physical Description: 15 folders
Box 9

Contents listing for tape compilations: 1924A-1952B, SP and HR series, etc.

Box 11

Thematic compilation folders

Scope and Contents

Russ Morgan ; The Ink Spots ; Reinald Werrenrath ; Dixieland Flavor ; WWI ; Love and Romance ; Hit Parader 1941, 1942, 1943 ; New York ; Memories (for Gray family) ; The Acoustic 20s ; The 20s ; The Early 30s.

5. Indexes

Box 12

Current Projects

Box 13, Box 12

Records by Song Title A-Z

Box 11

Scrapbook index


6. Tapes (open reel)

Box 15

Acoustic 20s, Electric 20s

Physical Description: 9 7" open reel tapes
Box 5


Physical Description: 38 7" open reel tapes
Box 6

1940A2-1952B plus misc

Physical Description: 41 open reel tapes 36 7" ; 5 3-5"
Box 7

SP-001-10, SP099-101, HR-2, HR-A-Y, Misc.

Physical Description: 37 open reel tapes 30 7" ; 7 3-5"
Box 10


Physical Description: 26 7" open reel tapes
Box 15

7. Tapes (audiocassettes)

Physical Description: 94 audiocassettes

Scope and Contents

Includes six on Midge Williams ; Tom Coakley private recording from 1975 ; Interviews 1990-2001 with Max Herman, Harry Bluestone, Peter Henderson, Rabbi John M. Sherwood, Sally Henderson Maxwell, June Shafer Ellis, Mrs. George Ward (Vera Van), Stella Friend Harris, Walter Cummins, Ron Harris, Bernard J. Cummins, Jr., Dick Webster, Harris, Ellis and Maxwell, Glora Segure, Robert Williams, Penny Eldridge, Philip John Steele, Bonnie Anderson/Geraldine Sour, Dorothea Civitarese, Dorothy Grantham, Mary Miller, Altman, Sherwood, Perkins, Laura Clark, Leon and Virginia Green.
Box 10

8. Videocassettes (miscellaneous)

Physical Description: 17 videocassettes