Rainey, Ma, 1886-1939

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Ma Rainey (b. Gertrude Pridgett, April 26, 1886, Columbus, GA-d. Dec. 22, 1939, Rome, GA) was one of the earliest African-American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of blues singers to record. She was first exposed to blues music around 1902 and soon after formed the Alabama Fun Makers Company with her husband, Will Rainey. In 1906, both joined Pat Chappelle's Rabbit's Foot Company. Ma Rainey was discovered by Paramount Records producer J. Mayo Williams in 1923, signed a recording contract with them, and made eight recordings in Chicago. In 1924, she made recordings with Louis Armstrong and also toured with the Theater Owners Booking Association; bandleader and pianist Thomas Dorsey and the Wildcats Jazz Band accompanied her. Dorsey left the group in 1926 and was replaced as pianist by Lillian Hardaway Henderson.
Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Neat Stuff Collectables. Jazz Playbill Collection, 1923-1952. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives
creatorOf Benemann, William,. William Benemann collection of sexuality and gender miscellany, 1953-2011. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Work, John Wesley (III)., 1901-1967. Papers. ca. 1944. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
referencedIn American Vaudeville Museum collection, 1845-2007, (bulk 1910-1940) University of Arizona Libraries, Library Special Collections
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name File, 1940-2005 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
creatorOf Rainey, Ma, 1886-1939. Barrel house blues [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Rainey, Ma, 1886-1939. Barrel house blues. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Crittendon, Willard David. Then see if I care : a childhood for Bessie Smith / by Willard David Crittendon. Texas A&M University, Evans Library & Annex; Main campus library complex
referencedIn Wilson, August. Ma Rainey's black bottom : a play in two acts / by August Wilson. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name File, 1940-2005 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Museum of Vaudeville corporateBody
associatedWith Armstrong, Louis, 1901-1971 person
associatedWith Bechet, Sidney, 1897-1959 person
associatedWith Benemann, William, person
associatedWith Crittendon, Willard David. person
associatedWith Cullen, Frank, 1936- person
associatedWith Dorsey, Thomas Andrew person
associatedWith Foster, Pops, 1892-1969 person
associatedWith McNeilly, Donald, 1945- person
associatedWith Oliver, King, 1885-1938 person
associatedWith Paramount Records corporateBody
associatedWith Smith, Bessie, 1894-1937 person
associatedWith Smith, Mamie person
associatedWith Williams, J. M. (J. Mayo), 1894-1980 person
associatedWith Wilson, August. person
associatedWith Work, John Wesley (III)., 1901-1967. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Columbus GA US
United States 00 US
Rome GA US


Birth 1886-04-26

Death 1939-12-22



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