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Hartford Music Company collection

Hartford Music Company collection

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Finding aid for the Hartford Music Company collection


Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
100 Rock Street
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201
(501) 320-5700

May 21, 2015

Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Creator:Gibson, Thelma J.
Title: Hartford Music Company collection
Dates: 1908-1974
Quantity: 4.39 Linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains hymnals, photographs, and other materials related to the Hartford Music Company (Hartford, Ark.) and other related materials.
Identification: BC.MSS.14.22
Language: English
Permanent URL:


Hymnals in this collection are arranged by publishing company and then chronologically. Other materials are arranged my material type and chronologically.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains hymnal published by the Hartford Music Company, Eureka Publishing Company, Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Company and other publishing companies as well as photographs and miscellaneous materials from Hartford Music Company.

Biographical Information

The Hartford Music Company, located in Hartford (Sebastian County), was founded in 1918 by Eugene Monroe (E. M.) Bartlett, a businessman from Waynesville, Missouri, who wanted to publish gospel music. Specifically, he was interested in teaching people how to sight read a song, using shape notes, which would enable them to read music and sing with or without an instrument.

Bartlett, president of the Hartford Music Company, printed from electrotype plates for his songbooks, published semiannually. The books were shipped all over the United States and were used at singing conventions and schools.

The forerunner of the Hartford Music Company was the Central Music Company, owned by songwriter Will M. Ramsey and David Moore. When Ramsey moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1918, Bartlett persuaded Moore and John A. McClung to partner with him in establishing the Hartford Music Company, with Moore as business manager. The companies merged in 1931 under the Hartford name. By 1931, the company was printing and shipping more than 100,000 books a year to thirty-five states and two foreign countries. A branch plant was established in Nacogdoches, Texas, where 20,000 books were published each year. Other branches were in Fort Smith (Sebastian County); Powell, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Cullman, Alabama; and Houston, Texas.

Bartlett wrote most of the songs, though familiar hymns were added as fillers or by popular request. His most famous song that is still published today is "Victory in Jesus." Bartlett formed the Hartford Music Institute to coincide with the Hartford Music Company, hiring instructors to teach voice, piano, piano tuning, rudiments, harmony, and stringed instruments.

When Bartlett retired in 1931, John McClung became president and sole owner of the company. He had co-owned it in the 1920s and bought it outright on February 20, 1931.

After McClung died in 1942, the company was sold to Floyd Hunter, Waldo Pool, Otis Echols, and Oliver Cooper, who moved it to Hot Springs (Garland County). Albert E. Brumley (who wrote "I'll Fly Away") bought the company in 1948 and moved it to Powell, Missouri.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Bartlett, E. M. (Eugene Monroe), 1885-1941
Central Music Company.
Gospel music -- Arkansas -- History and criticism
Hartford (Ark.)
Hartford Music Company.
McClung, John A. (J.A.), 1891-1942
McClung, Minnie, 1904-2001
Music -- Arkansas
Music publishing -- Arkansas -- History
Shape-note singing -- Arkansas
Stamps-Baxter Music Company.


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating, in-house use only.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Hartford Music Company collection, MSS.14.22, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute

Acquisition Information

Donated by Thelma J. Gibson, 2014

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