Vim Records

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Vim Record Obverse
Vim Company Letterhead – 1901
Vim Company Ad – 1903

Vim Records was a short-lived American record label that was active during the early 1900s. Vim discs include issues of ragtime banjo music recorded by Vess L. Ossman.


The Vim Company was founded in 1896 in Chicago, Illinois, and it was active in labeling records in the first decade of the 20th century.[1] Vim was primarily a sporting goods store but also sold bicycles and electrical goods. Record Research newsletter categorizes the firm as a "Department Store Label", meaning the owners entered an agreement with an already established record company, and "... they proceeded to have their own records pressed with the name of the department store prominently printed on the label."[2]

Vim Records were single-sided lateral cut disc records. Vim was recorded and manufactured by the International Talking Machine Company and Leeds & Catlin.

The company offices were moved between 1901 and 1903. Known address are:[3]

  • 56-60 Fifth Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
  • 68 E. Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois (1903); after street renumbering this was 10 Lake Street
  • 39 S. Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois; Company Headquarters

A branch office was opened in late 1903 at 704 West Walnut Street, Des Moines, Iowa.[4] In 1906 the branch was moved to 808 West Walnut Street,[5] and in 1907 it was moved to 204 7th Street.[6] This location remained open until late 1908 when the firm of Harger & Blish, an established firm from Dubuque, Iowa, were appointed the jobbers in Des Moines.[7]

The last listing for the firm producing records in Chicago was in the Edison Phonograph Monthly January 1910 issue.[8]

The owner and president of the company was Leon Atwell Olmsted, a native of New York who moved to Chicago in the 1890s. After opening his first store in 1896, he eventually expanded to seven stores in Chicago and another seventeen throughout the nation.[9] It was reported that he died in a fire at his home in Minocqua, Wisconsin, at the age of 63, but it was soon learned that he died of exhaustion after fighting the blaze.[10][11] At the time of his death in 1936 the stores were being managed by his son Leslie B. Olmsted.

Record numbers[edit]

The record numbers on Vim labels can be broken down into multiple series. The following companies are known to have produced records for Vim.

  • Leeds & Catlin: V-prefixed records are from Sun and associated labels
  • International Record Company (IRC): X-prefixed records are from Excelsior and associated labels

All unprefixed record numbers in the chart below appear to have been produced by IRC. Every artist and recording name matches up with the IRC catalog numbers.

Record labels[edit]

The word "Vim" in stylized cursive text appears on all of the record labels along with a double lined border, the company name, "Chicago, Ill.", and the words, "For Any Disc Talking Machine". The background color for all labels is beige, but in some photos the coloring appears to be white, light yellow, or mint green. Aging and years of handling have caused some labels to become dark beige in appearance.

Some labels have the recording details (record number, artist, etc.) printed in black ink while others are in red ink. It is unknown if there is any significance to the printing color of the recording details.


All recordings in this chart must be verified by seeing the information on a Vim Record label or in a Vim Company catalog. A Leeds & Catlin or International Record Company catalog that do not specifically state "Vim Record" are not sources for adding new records to this chart.

Unconfirmed information in any row must have an asterisk symbol (*) placed beside the information. This may happen because the label is not readable or the information was not printed on the label. The International Record Company[12] recording catalog is useful for obtaining Vim Records information, but unless actually seen on a Vim label, all such information should be marked with an asterisk symbol.

All information in the chart must be placed in order by the "Record Number."

Record Number Artist(s) Recording Name Type Year Recorded & Notes
Frederichs and Strange Jesus Lover of My Soul Duet This is likely baritone William Frederichs and soprano Ellen Strang, but the title is not in the IRC catalog. Spellings of their names differ.
316 Metropolitan Band Coax Me Medley Two Step
343 Metropolitan Band Washington Post March March
604 Peluso's Orchestra Grand March from "Faust" (Soldier's Chorus)
1560 Frank Stanley In Dear Old Georgia Baritone Solo
1575* Frank Stanley The Old Church Bell Baritone Solo*
1604 Frank Stanley When the Mocking Birds Are Singing in the Wildwood Baritone Solo
1621 Joe Brown So Long Mary Baritone Solo
1640 Arthur Collins Orchestra Accompaniment You Look Awfully Good To Father Baritone Solo
2050 Billy Murray* Give My Regards to Broadway Tenor Solo
2054 Billy Murray I've Got a Little Money, and I Saved it All For You Tenor Solo
2098 Billy Murray You're A Grand Old Rag Tenor Solo
2099 Billy Murray Cheyenne (Shy Ann)* Tenor Solo
2105 Billy Murray How Would You Like to Spoon With Me? Tenor Solo
2707 Spencer & Jones Every Little Bit Helps Vaudeville Sketch
3003 Vess L. Ossman The Gay Gossoon Banjo Solo
3006 Metropolitan Band Free Lance March (Sousa)
3009 Metropolitan Band of New York* The Flag of Victory March Band*
3040 G. P. Watson Hi Le, Hi Lo (German Hunter Song) Yodel Song
3059 Metropolitan Band of New York* Stradella Overture Band*
3063 Metropolitan Band of New York* Hero of the Sea March
3098 (Possibly 3070?) Vess L. Ossman So Long Mary, Intro. "Mary's a Grand Old Name" Banjo Solo
3105 Collins & Harlan It's up to You to Move Baritone and Tenor Duet
3113 Metropolitan Band of New York* Royal Italian March (Gambetti) Band
V-2 Harold Eisenberg Traumerei (Reverie) Violin Solo
V-11 Henry Burr Silver Heels Tenor Solo
X304 Metropolitan Band of New York* Merry Makers Band
X317 Metropolitan Band of New York* First Kiss Waltz Band*
X323 Metropolitan Band of New York* At The Race Track Band
X336 Metropolitan Band of New York* The Forge in the Forest Band
X617* Orchestra The Jolly Coppersmith With Vocal Solo and Chorus Only a partial record number was visible so this could by just "617".
X620 Peluso's Orchestra* Love's Dreamland Waltz Orchestra
X635 Peluso's Orchestra, with calls* Metropolitan Lanciers Band
X638 Peluso's Orchestra, with calls* Recreation quadrille Band
X642 Peluso's Orchestra* Miesrere from "Ill Trovatore Orchestra
X 1523* Arthur Collins* The Preacher and the Bear" Baritone and Orchestra Accompaniment
X 1532 Frank C. Stanley* Where the Sunset Turns to Ocean's Blue to Gold Baritone Solo with orchestra accompaniment
X 1572 Frank C. Stanley Old Man Moon Baritone Solo with Orch. Accom.
X2087 Byron G. Harlan* Somebody's Sweethart I want to be Tenor Solo (w. orchestra accompaniment)
X2163 Henry Burr & George Gordon My Old Kentucky Home Tenor & Baritone Duet

Other labels[edit]

There are at least two other record labels that use/used the acronym "VIM."

  • Variety In Music (VIM), in New York City, approximately 1959–1964
  • Very Important Music (V.I.M.), in Thessaloniki, Greece, established in 2007

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vim company, Chicago, Ill". Catalogue of Title Entries of Books. 26 (1): 990. January 3, 1901. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  2. ^ Kunstadt, Leonard (April 1955). "An Introduction to the Department Store Labels". Record Research. 1 (2): 5–6. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  3. ^ "Jobbers of Edison Phonographs and Records". Edison Phonograph Monthly. Orange, New Jersey: The National Phonograph Company. 1 (2): 11. April 1903. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  4. ^ "Among the Jobbers". Edison Phonograph Monthly. Orange, New Jersey: The National Phonograph Company. 1 (9): 9. November 1903. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  5. ^ "Among the Jobbers". Edison Phonograph Monthly. Orange, New Jersey: The National Phonograph Company. 4 (5): 5. July 1906. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  6. ^ "Among Jobbers". Edison Phonograph Monthly. Orange, New Jersey: The National Phonograph Company. 5 (2): 8. April 1907. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  7. ^ "Among Jobbers". Edison Phonograph Monthly. Orange, New Jersey: The National Phonograph Company. 6 (11): 13. November 1908. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  8. ^ "Jobbers of Edison Phonographs and Records". Edison Phonograph Monthly. Orange, New Jersey: The National Phonograph Company. 8 (1): 32. January 1910. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  9. ^ "Fire Injuries Are Fatal To L. A. Olmsted". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. April 25, 1936. p. 14.
  10. ^ "Will of L. Atwill Olmsted Gives Wife $175,000 Estate". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. May 3, 1936. p. 30.
  11. ^ "Beg Your Pardon". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. May 11, 1936. p. 7.
  12. ^ "International Record Company".