White, Smith & Company

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Charles A. White depicted in 1881 in Folio.

White, Smith & Company (est. 1874) was a music publishing firm in Boston, Massachusetts. It issued sheet music and published industry journals, notably the monthly Folio.


The business began in 1867 as a partnership between Charles A. White, William F. Smith, and J. Frank Perry when it was known as White, Smith, & Perry.[1][2] White was a composer, the author of over a thousand songs.[a] He was among the earliest songwriters to establish a successful music publishing company.[3] Many of his songs became popular; his first hit was "Put Me in My Little Bed" (1870).[1] The firm owed a portion of its success to sales of White's compositions,[2] but other sheet music published by them was also successful: "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me", published in 1869, sold nearly 200,000 copies. In the early 1870s, the firm also published the earliest works of James Bland, who would become one of the most popular songwriters of the late 19th century.[3]

Perry left in 1874 to establish his own publishing company,[b] after which White and Smith's firm became known as White, Smith, & Co. The company continued to prosper, in 1882 publishing White's most successful composition, "Marguerite", which would sell over a million copies through the following two decades.[c] By 1890, White, Smith had expanded to nine branch offices and become one of the largest music publishing firms in the country.[3]

When Smith died in June 1891, White bought his interest in the company and made his son, Daniel L. White, his partner. Charles White died in 1897 at which time the company was incorporated under the name of White-Smith Music Publishing Company with Daniel White as president.[1] The founder's grandson, also named Charles A. White, became the company president in August 1919 on the death of Daniel White, his father.[1][4] According to historian H. E. Johnson, in 1944 the firm "sold its catalogue to Edwin H. Morris & Co. of New York ... but continued in the business of music printing as White, Smith Printing Co. at 40 Winchester Street until 1973."[2]


Cover of The Folio in 1881.

The company's journal, The Folio, was first published in September 1869 at an annual subscription price of $1.[2] Dexter Smith was hired to be the first editor; Smith was a Boston poet, lyricist, and critic who also published his own magazine from 1872 to 1877.[1] In addition to poetry, fiction, and news items related to the music industry, each issue of Folio included 16 pages of sheet music. Its chief objective was the promotion of its publisher, and its last issue was printed in October 1895.[2]

White, Smith also published a journal devoted entirely to organ music, The Organist's Quarterly Journal and Review.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ayars notes he wrote over 1,000 songs;[1] Sanjek puts the number of his copyrighted works at over 1,500.[3]
  2. ^ Bland followed Perry who would publish his most popular songs including, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny".[3]
  3. ^ "Marguerite" was interpolated into Denman Thompson's 1885 play The Old Homstead which toured for 20 years.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Christine Merrick Ayars (1937), Contributions to the art of music in America by the music industries of Boston, 1640 to 1936, New York: H.W. Wilson Company, pp. 35–38; 80–81, OCLC 26107160 
  2. ^ a b c d e H. Earle Johnson (Spring 1984). "The Folio of White, Smith and Company". American Music. 2 (1): 88–104. JSTOR 3051965. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Sanjek, Russell (1988). American Popular Music and Its Business: The First Four Hundred Years. Vol. II From 1790 to 1909. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 372–373. ISBN 978-0-19-504310-5. 
  4. ^ In 1897 the "White-Smith Music Publishing Company" was incorporated by Daniel L. White, Walter M. Bacon, James M. Maguire, Banks M. Davison and Lawrence P. Maguire. cf. White-Smith Music Publishing Company v. Apollo Company. U.S. Supreme Court Transcript of record, 1907

External links[edit]

Read The Folio:

View sheet music: