Wallie Herzer

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Wallie Herzer
Born Walter Henry Herzer
(1885-04-15)April 15, 1885
San Francisco
Died October 15, 1961(1961-10-15) (aged 76)
Redwood City, California
Occupation Ragtime composer, songwriter, pianist
Years active 1908–1942
Spouse(s) Sylvia
(née Scalmanini; 1885–1955)

Wallie Herzer (né Walter Henry Herzer; 15 April 1885 San Francisco – 15 October 1961 Redwood City, California)[1][2] was an American composer of popular music, music publisher, and pianist.[3] Herzer flourished in music prior to and during World War I. The Columbia recording of his 1912 composition, "Everybody Two-Step" — performed by ragtime pianist Mike Bernard on December 2, 1912, in New York City — is the first recording of ragtime music.[3] It became a hit and coincided at the start of a renewed craze for ragtime and dance — fifteen years after William Krell's "Mississippi Rag" had been published, the first known published music with "rag" in the title.[4] Several other recordings of "Everybody Two-Step" became hits. Herzer composed three other hits — a 1913 piano rag, "Tickle the Ivories" – which also became hit as a vocal arrangement; a 1914 foxtrot song, "Get Over, Sal"; and a 1916 Hawaiian waltz song, "Aloha Land". Other compositions — including his 1908 piano ragtime two-step and barn dance, "The Rah-Rah Boy", and his 1913 rag turkey trot, "Let's Dance" — were internationally distributed.


Of the 13 compositions by Herzer in the United States copyright records, there are 8 extant musical scores in national, academic, civic, and private libraries. The piano rolls and recordings of 4 of those works far exceed the number of compositions. As of 2014, at least 2 of Herzer's works are included in the repertoire of ragtime artists today.

Herzer published his music while working for insurance agencies in San Francisco. Beginning 1901, when he was 16, until about 1904, Herzer was a clerk for insurance agents Gutte & Frank (Isidor Gutte; 1833–1908; Julius Gutte; 1828–1900; and William Frank; 1839–19??). From 1904 to 1920, Herzer was an insurance adjustor and broker for Christensen & Goodwin (Charles H. Christensen; 1839–1921; & Benjamin Frank Goodwin; 1859–1945) at 241 Sansome Street[5] — the same address as his publishing company. From 1920 to 1924, he was the manager of the city department (in San Francisco) for Bentley & Waterman (Leroy Vernon Bentley; 1883–1932; & Clyde Waterman; 1868–1950).[5] In 1924, Herzer became the manager of the city department (in San Francisco) for Glens Falls Insurance Company, headquartered in Glens Falls, New York.[6][7]

Music critic Winthrop Sargeant, in 1975, stated that the best ragtime came from outside New York and he cited Herzer & Brown, Wallie's first publishing company, as being among publishers of some of the best, earliest, and most imaginative rags.[8][9] The title from Herzer's 1914 composition, "Get Over, Sal", was a turn-of-the-19th-century African-American expression for a slow-drag dance step that was incorporated in a variation of the fox trot.[10][11][12] The expression had been published in an earlier song, "Music Hall Song", copyrighted 1879 — popularized by Jenny Hill, the 'Vital Spark':

You may get over water-butts,
You may get over fountains,
But I'll take particular notice
That you don't get over Sal.[13]

A song rendition of "Everybody Two-Step", published in 1913, became a popular hit in vaudeville.[14] The solo piano and song versions of "Everybody Two-Step", his 1913 composition,[15] "Tickle The Ivories", and his 1916 composition, "Aloha Land", were hits.[16]

Selected compositions[edit]

  • "The Rah-Rah Boy"; ragtime two-step and barn dance, for solo piano
Jerome H. Remick & Co. (Remick), publisher (1908 & 1911); OCLC 81894686, 843076603
Music Herzer, arranged by Eugene Brown
Cover: caricature of a male college student smoking a pipe with bulldog; illustrated by L.S. Morgan (né Leland Stanford Morgan; 1886–1981)[17][18] (view)
© November 18, 1908, Class C 194109, Herzer & Brown, San Francisco[i]
© Transferred to Jerome H. Remick & Co. ("Remick"), Detroit & New York, 1911
"Rah-rah boy", in that era, was a reference to a college male. The class of '09 is illustrated on his pipe and sweater. One of the colors, blue, the bulldog, and the scull and bones insignia — taken as a composite — fits a profile of a Yale student.


  • "My Portola Maid"; song
Herzer, publisher (1909); OCLC 60555517
© August 2, 1909, 2nd copy August 7, 1909, Class E 213111, Wallie Herzer[ii]


  • "Everybody Two-Step"
Remick, New York, Detroit, publisher (1911); OCLC 793326485, 9968568
Cover: caricature of a jolly minstrel or busker banjoist with one or two missing teeth, seated in morning dress: single-breasted black frock coat with notched red-trimmed lapels, red, white, and black-striped top collar, red-trimmed sleeves, lined with single white French-cuffs; white vest; black-and-white checkered bow-tie with matching black-and-white checkered trousers trimmed with white gaiters; gemstone centered on upper shirt- or vest-front below the bow tie; black cap-toe dress shoes with white-stitched welts, topped with red, white, and black striped spats that match the top collar; black top hat with red patterned hat band on ground, brim up, casting a shadow; red background, black lettering, white base — illustrated by L.S. Morgan, 1910 (view) (2nd view)
Remick, New York, Detroit, publisher
Cover: full-page, center, ornamental stemmed cocktail glass (pseudo early-art deco), illustration by Starmer?? (#5 view)
Remick, publisher (1911); OCLC 10722614
For dance orchestra
Arranged by Ribe Danmark, pseudonym of J. Bodewalt Lampe, staff arranger for Remick[19]
Remick, publisher (1912); OCLC 9677063
Cover: portrait of Miss Nellie Beaumont is by Starmer; "As sung by Miss Nellie Beaumont in A Lucky Hoodoo", a musical review directed by Billy B. Van that toured nationwide between 1911 and 1912 (view)
© June 30, 1910; 2 c. July 7, 1910, Class E (musical composition) 235359, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[iii]
© June 10, 1910, Class E (musical composition) 235359; notice received January 4, 2011, recorded Vol. 1, pg. 85, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[iv]
© Renewal 61361, January 10, 1938, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[a]


  • "Tickle The Ivories", Rag
Remick, publisher (1913)
Solo piano version
Cover: man playing piano, illustrated by Starmer (view)
Remick, publisher (1912); OCLC 368072760, 498722519
Song version
Music by Herzer, words by Earle C. Jones (1878–1913)
Remick, publisher (1913); OCLC 34883547
Music by Wallie Herzer; arranged by James C. McCabe (who sometimes used the pseudonym, Emmet Balfmoor); staff arranger for Remick[19]
© January 25, 1913; 2nd copy January 27, 1913; Class E (musical composition) 304389, Remick, New York[v]
© July 22, 1913; 2nd copy July 26, 1913, Class E (musical composition) 315301, Remick, New York[vi]
© Renewal 89003 July 26, 1940, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco & Sally Starr, Detroit[b]


Remick, publisher (1913); OCLC 47639727
Cover: 5 couples dancing, yellow, blue, and black colors, illustrated by Starmer[20] (view)
© December 29, 1913; 2nd copy January 2, 1914; Class E (musical composition) 328852, Remick, New York[vii]


  • "Get Over, Sal"; fox trot, one-step, two-step
Remick, publisher (1914); OCLC 781321475
Cover: black, orange and white colors – eleven couples dancing with a waiter carrying cocktails, illustrated by L.S. Morgan
Charles N. Daniels, San Francisco, publisher (1914); OCLC 47810977
Cover: black, orange, and white – eleven couples dancing with a waiter carrying cocktails, illustrated by L.S. Morgan (view)
© December 5, 1914, 2nd copy December 12, 1914, Class E (musical composition) 354304[viii]
© Transferred to Charles N. Daniels 1914
© Renewal 111003, August 25, 1942, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[c]


Wallie Herzer, publisher (1914); OCLC 778806566, 42677999
Cover: purple and white colors – man and woman (in pantomime dress) dancing, illustrated by L.S. Morgan
© December 5, 1914, 2nd copy December 12, 1914, Class E (musical composition) 354303[ix]
© Renewal 111002 August 25, 1942, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[d]


  • "Aloha Land"; Hawaiian waltz song
Miller Music, New York, publisher (©1916, ©1918); OCLC 779881675
Words by W. Eager, music by Herzer
Sherman, Clay & Co., San Francisco, publisher, (©1916, ©1918); OCLC 779881686
Cover: illustrated by Wesley Raymond De Lappe (1887–1952) (view)
Sherman, Clay & Co., San Francisco, publisher, (©1916); OCLC 42683929
Music by Herzer, arrangement by Julius Lee Burbeck (1870–1949)
© December 26. 1916; 2nd copy January 2, 1917; Class E 396686, Sherman Clay & Co., San Francisco[x]
© Renewal 131717, Sept. 11, 1944, by Herzer[e]


  • "Woman's Ways"; a musical satire
Piano score
Book by Sue Conly Posner (Susan Conleigh; 1886–1976) , music by Herzer
© 30 August 1917; Class E (musical composition) 407665, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[xi]
© Renewal 134351; December 5, 1944, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[f]


  • "Come On To San Francisco"
© February 11, 1938, Class E unpublished 160814, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[xii]


  • "Sky Rocket, Boom, Ah", song
© October 21, 1940, Class E (musical composition) unpublished 234680[xiii]


  • "Now and Always"; song
Wallie Herzer, publisher
© February 24, 1942, Class E (musical composition) unpublished 286391, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[xiv]
© May 10, 1942, Class E (musical composition) published 104565, Wallie Herzer, San Francisco[xv]


  • "Dish It Out"
Walter Herzer, San Francisco
Lyrics & Music by Herzer
© November 19, 1942; Class E (musical composition) unpublished 315633, Walter Herzer, San Francisco[xvi]

Selected piano rollography[edit]

  • "Everybody Two-Step"[3]
Angelus 25963 (matrix) (65 note roll)
Angelus 90912 (matrix) (1912) (audio)
Connorized Music Co. 2173 (matrix)
Connorized Music Co. 3829 (matrix)
Full Scale 14923 (matrix)
Kimball F-6263 (matrix) (m), Popular Song Hits #2
Kimball C-6164 (matrix)
QRS 31027 (matrix)
Rhythmodik B-5252 (matrix) Fred A. Schmitz
Royal 4300 (matrix)
Supertone 695418 (matrix) (65 note roll)
Supertone 845418 (matrix)
Universal 99845 (matrix)
Universal 94505 (matrix) (m), "Rag Medley #11"
US Music 65500 (matrix) (m), "States Medley #5"
US Music 64518 (matrix)
Virtuoso 81014 (matrix)
Vocalstyle 1530 (matrix)
  • "Aloha Land"
Pianostyle 46198 (matrix)

Selected discography[edit]

Columbia A-1266
38467-1 (matrix)
Reissues (i) Vintage Jazz Mart (Europe) VLP2 & (ii) Smithsonian Folkways RF24
Recorded in New York City December 2, 1912 (audio on YouTube)
Victor Records B-12779 (matrix)
Recorded January 9, 1913 (audio)[21]
  • "Everybody Two-Step"
Billy Murray, vocalist
Edison cylinder (1912) audio on YouTube
  • "Everybody Two-Step"
Chrysanthemum Ragtime Band, Dancing on the Edge of the World, Stomp Off Records (1987); OCLC 19972811
Recorded at Bay Records, Berkeley, California
Re-released by Stomp Off Records, The Preserves, Vol. 1 (1992); OCLC 28012058
  • "Everybody Two-Step"
Johnny Maddox, Très moutarde: Johnny Maddox Plays Rags, Blues, Waltzes, and Ballads, Paragon Productions SG-102 (1977); OCLC 464114545
Recorded in 1975 in Denver, Colorado
Re-released by Crazy Otto Music, Sunflower Slow Drag (CD) (2005); OCLC 262685584
  • "Aloha Land"
6229-A-4-10 (matrix); OCLC 79072004
Waikiki Hawaiian Orchestra, with Helen Louise & Frank Ferera
Edison 50635
  • "Aloha Land"
G07326 (matrix); OCLC 56353527
Frank Ferera & Anthony Franchini (Hawaiian guitars), George Hamilton Green (xylophone)
Gennett 9000 Series 9076A
Recorded July 1920


Publishing Company

  • Wallie Herzer, 241 Sansome Street, San Francisco[22][23][24]


Social and professional affiliations[edit]

Wheelman (competitive bicyclist)[26]



Wallie Herzer's father, Hugo Herzer, Sr. (1845–1921), was born and raised in Bavaria, Germany, and emigrated to the United States in 1865. His mother, Elizabeth (née Ulrich; 1855–1923) was born and raised in France, and emigrated to the United States in 1860. Hugo, Sr., among other things, was engaged in civic service for the City of San Francisco, namely as Deputy Tax Assessor from about 1891 to 1901, then City Cashier in 1902 of the License Department of the Tax Assessor, and in 1905, Expert Searcher, Tax Office of San Francisco.[29] Hugo, Sr., was also a member and officer of the Turners; and, also was a member of the German-American Republican Club of San Francisco, and the Grant and Wilson Club.


Wallie was the youngest of five siblings. One of his two brothers, Hugo G. Herzer, Jr. (1879–1921), was an operatic vocal instructor, first in Honolulu, in various capacities, including a position at the Honolulu School of Dramatic Art, from about 1902 to 1918. Hugo studied voice with Francis W. Stuart (1865–1939) at The King Conservatory of Music (Frank Louis King; 1854–1914) in San Jose in 1899.[30] Hugo was a pedagogical exponent of Francesco Lamperti. Hugo married Agnes Lovell Lyle (maiden; 1887–1951) on March 2, 1907, in Honolulu. Agnes was a soprano, pianist, and piano teacher. In 1918, they both resettled in San Francisco.[31] After the death of Hugo, Jr., in 1921, Agnes remarried Robert Montgomery Gehl (1888–1971).


Wallie married Sylvia (née Scalmanini; 1885–1955) in San Francisco on May 4, 1910.[32] Sylvia's father, Carlo Scalmanini (1820–1891), had been a California Forty-Niner, a major vineyard owner-winemaker, co-owner, with Baptiste Frapolli (Italian spelling, Battiste; 1821–1890), of the Swiss Republic Restaurant at 19 Long Wharf, and, with Frapolli, a wholesale and retail grocer.[33][34] Wallie and Sylvia had one child, a daughter — Harriett C. Herzer (1911–1999) who married Colin Arthur Moreton (1910–1991).


Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3 Musical Compositions, New Series, Library of Congress, Copyright Office

Original copyrights

Copyright renewals

Inline citations

  1. ^ "Notice of Probate: Estate of Walter H. Herzer, Deceased", San Mateo Times, October 26, 1961, Page 16
  2. ^ a b "Walter Herzer of Menlo Park Dies Suddenly", (newspaper unknown) San Mateo County Obituary Collection, San Mateo County Genealogical Society, folder H, pg. 59
  3. ^ a b c Ragtime: An Encyclopedia, Discography, and Sheetography, by David A. Jasen, Taylor & Francis (2007); OCLC 71632235
  4. ^ Jazz A-Z, by Peter Clayton & Peter Gammond, Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives (1986), pps. 194–195 ("Ragtime"); OCLC 15353474
  5. ^ a b "Herzer Goes With Bently & Waterman", The Adjuster, Vol. 60, No. 1, January 1920, pg. 32
  6. ^ Crocker-Langley San Francisco City Directory 1924, R.L. Polk (1924), pg. 1528
  7. ^ Crocker-Langley San Francisco City Directory 1925, R.L. Polk (1925), pg. 920
  8. ^ Ragtime: A Musical and Cultural History, by Edward A. Berlin, pg. 186; University of California Press (1980) OCLC 6567955
  9. ^ Jazz, Hot and Hybrid, 3rd ed., Winthrop Sargeant, Da Capo Press (1975), pg. 142; OCLC 1056824
  10. ^ Long Lost Blues: Popular Blues in America, 1850–1920 by Peter C. Muir, University of Illinois Press (2010), pps. 59 & 226; OCLC 317462431
  11. ^ A Life In Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe, by Reid Badger, Oxford University Press (1995), pg. 116; OCLC 29389796
  12. ^ "According to Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle", Washington Times, January 25, 1915
  13. ^ Slang and Its Analogues, Past and Present, (Vol. 2 of 7 — C. To Fizzle), by John S. Farmer & William Ernest Henley (eds.), pg. 162; OCLC 1312390
  14. ^ A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899–1999), by David A. Jasen, Routledge (2002), pg. 55; OCLC 47658890
  15. ^ Variety Cavalcade: 1720–1969 — "1912: 'Everybody Two-Step'", 3rd ed., Julius Mattfeld (1893–1968), Prentice-Hall (1971), pg. 312; OCLC 138999
  16. ^ Hit songs, 1900-1955: American Popular Music of the Pre-Rock Era, by Don Tyler, McFarland & Company (2007), pg. 410; OCLC 76961274
  17. ^ Artists in California, 1786–1940, by Edan Milton Hughes, San Francisco, CA : Hughes Pub. Co. (1986); OCLC 13323489
  18. ^ Christopher Reynolds and His Descendants, Stephen Frederick Tillman (1959), pg. 109; OCLC 5142810
  19. ^ a b "The Arranging of Popular Music", J. Bodewalt Lampe, The Music Trade Review, Vol. 59, No. 24, December 12, 1914, pps. 139 & 140; OCLC 20543448, 809143527
  20. ^ Covers of Gold, by Marion Short, Schiffer Publishing (1998), pg. 152; OCLC 37353795
  21. ^ The Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings, Ted Fagan & William R. Moran, Greenwood Press (1983 & 1986); OCLC 8533383, 14069261
  22. ^ Advertisement: "Wallie Herzer," Boston: Jacobs' Orchestra Monthly, by Walter Jacobs, Volume 6, Issue 1, January 1915, pg. 84
  23. ^ "Aviation School Fraud is Charged", Aeronautics, Vol. 15, No. 1, July 15, 1914, pg. 120
  24. ^ Advertisement: "Wallie Herzer", Metronome, pg. 11
  25. ^ Crocker-Langley San Francisco City Directory 1937, R.L. Polk (1937), pg. 646
  26. ^ Annals of the Olympic Club, San Francisco, 1914 Theodore Bonnet (ed.), pg. 141
  27. ^ Forty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the Fire Underwriters' Association of the Pacific, San Francisco, February 8–9, 1921, printed by the Association (1921)
  28. ^ Annual Cyclopedia of Insurance in the United States 1919, Vol. 73, by G. Reid MacKay, R.B. Caverly (publisher), pg. 384 (1919)
  29. ^ "Fraudulent Bondsmen", San Francisco Bulletin, April 15, 1891
  30. ^ "Events in Society", San Jose Evening News, Vol. 36, No. 157, December 9, 1899, pg. 6
  31. ^ "Hugo Herzer Settles in San Francisco", Pacific Coast Musical Review (San Francisco), Vol. 35, No. 3, October 26, 1918
  32. ^ "Marriage Licenses: Herzer-Scalmanini," San Francisco Call, May 5, 1910, pg. 4, col. 6
  33. ^ "Fresh Eggs in California", by Henry B. Voigt, The American Menu (online blog) January 23, 2013
  34. ^ The Swiss in the United States, by John Paul von Grueningen (1889–1982), Clearfield (1940), pps. 93 & 96; OCLC 3076034