Josephine Geritz collection on John Jacob Niles

Descriptive Summary

Title
Josephine Geritz collection on John Jacob Niles
Date
1937-1952
Creator
Geritz, Josephine
Extent
0.3 Cubic feet
Subjects
Composers
Folk Music.
Music--Appalachian Region
Sheet music.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by subject.
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Heidi Taylor-Caudill
Preferred Citation
2013ms0849 : [identification of item], Josephine Geritz collection on John Jacob Niles, 1937-1952, University of Kentucky Special Collections.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Josephine Heintz Geritz, pianist, lecturer, and piano instructor, was born in Los Angeles, California, on July 7, 1899. She studied piano with several prominent teachers including Polish Romantic composer Sigismond Stojowski, Hungarian-American pianist Alexander Raab, Ann J. Eachus, and Paolo Galileo. She also studied harmony with music educators Carolyn Alden Alchin and Vincent Jones, and orchestration with conductor Walter Henry Rothwell. In 1916 Josephine Geritz began teaching piano. Over the course of her career she trained many professional pianists and composers; one of her most famous students was American composer James Newton Howard. Josephine Geritz worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as a symphonic reviewer and rehearsal pianist. On March 26, 1927, she married Hungarian-born artist Franz Geritz. The couple was known for hosting many visiting artists, including Ernest Hemingway, at their Los Angeles home.
John Jacob Niles, composer, performer, and author, was born in Louisville in 1892. Coming from a musical family, Niles began to play the dulcimer at an early age. As a teenager he worked with a surveying team in eastern Kentucky. During this time he kept a notebook in which he recorded lyrics and music of old folk songs known in the area. Niles served as a U.S. Army pilot in World War I and made numerous reconnaissance flights until he suffered serious injuries in a plane crash. After the war he studied music at the University of Lyon and the Schola Cantorium in Paris. Niles completed his musical education at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He renewed his search for folk songs in Appalachia as he accompanied noted photographer Doris Ulmann on her travels through the mountain region. He set traditional songs in new arrangements and composed many original songs.
Fletcher, Russell Holmes. Who's who in California. California: Who's Who publications, 1943.
Scope and Content
The Josephine Geritz collection on John Jacob Niles (dated 1937-1952, 0.3 cubic feet; 21 items) comprises sheet music in handwritten and facsimile form that document folk music from the Appalachian Region adapted by composer John Jacob Niles. All material, except two, is the work of John Jacob Niles.
Many of the scores are dedicated to Josephine Heintz Geritz, rehearsal pianist for the LA Philharmonic and friend of John Jacob Niles. Niles gifted the scores to her while he stayed at her house in the 1940s.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
Property rights reside with the University of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky holds the copyright for materials created in the course of business by University of Kentucky employees. Copyright for all other materials has not been assigned to the University of Kentucky. For information about permission to reproduce or publish, please contact Special Collections.

Contents of the Collection

John Jacob Niles, 1937-1952

Scope and Contents note

Comprises piano sheet music in handwritten and facsimile form that document folk music from the Appalachian Region and original scores by John Jacob Niles.

Handwritten musical scores, 1944-1948

, 1944-1945

  • Box 1, folder 1

Green Beds, 1944 June 23

  • Box 1, Folder 1, Item 1-3
Scope and Contents note

Played with 2 pianos. Gathering of three copies of Green Beds. Text of song taken from a folk song titled Green Beds and adapted by John Jacob Niles. Dedicated to Josephine Geritz. Third copy is not in John Jacob Niles' hand.

To top

The Story of the Bee, 1944 August

  • Box 1, Folder 1, Item 4
Scope and Contents note

Played with 2 pianos. Adapted from the folksong "Do Take Care of the Bee Boys". Dedicated to Josephine Geritz of Los Angeles Hollywood. No manuscript source prior to this copy.

To top

The Little Mohee (My Little Mohee), 1944 August 13

  • Box 1, Folder 1, Item 5
Scope and Contents note

Piano solo for 2 pianos. Family folk song adapted by John Jacob Niles. Dedicated to Josephine Geritz of Hollywood California. Written notes above portions of the music include "The sailor comes to grief through the vamping of a gay young female with low standards" and "The Salvation Army comes to pray for the sailor".

To top

The Little Mohee (My Little Mohee), 1944 August 13

  • Box 1, Folder 1, Item 6
Scope and Contents note

Piano solo for 2 pianos. Adapted from a family folk song sung by John Jacob Niles' father. Dedicated to Josephine Geritz of Hollywood California. Written notes above portions of the music include "The sailor meets the girl", "The sailor comes to grief through the vamping of a gay young female with low standards" and "The Salvation Army comes to pray for the sailor".

To top

Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head, 1945 May 18

  • Box 1, Folder 1, Item 7
Scope and Contents note

Played with four hands at one piano. A folk carol collected from the Graham Family of Vine Grove, KY, and adapted by John Jacob Niles. Dedicated to Josephine Geritz of Los Angeles California.

To top

, 1945-1948

  • Box 1, folder 2

Jesus the Christ Is Born, 1945 June 22, July 10

  • Box 1, Folder 2, Item 1
Scope and Contents note

Played with four hands at one piano. Collected and adapted by John Jacob Niles. Dedicated to Josephine Geritz. Dated June 22, 1945 on cover and July 10, 1945 at end.

To top

The Gypsy Laddie (The Lady and the Gypsy), 1947 May 2

  • Box 1, Folder 2, Item 2
Scope and Contents note

Piano solo. Child ballad collected and adapted by John Jacob Niles. Dedicated to Mrs. Josephine. Handwritten notes include "Child Ballad 200" and "Improvisations no 10".

To top

The Rovin' Gambler (from the Gambler Songs), 1947 June 16

  • Box 1, Folder 2, Item 3
Scope and Contents note

Played with four hands at one piano. Collected and adapted from folk sources by John Jacob Niles. Dedicated to Josephine. Copied in Carbondale, Illinois. Marked as the first in a series of four hands at one piano and orchestra bound.

To top

The Carrion Crow, 1948

  • Box 1, Folder 2, Item 4
Scope and Contents note

Piano solo. Folk nursery rhyme from the Appalachians, collected and adapted by John Jacob Niles. Lewis Henry Horton also listed as composer/arranger. Dedicated to Mrs. Josephine. Title page includes note "For young players at the piano".

To top

I'm Goin' Away (He's Goin' Away), 1948 July 5

  • Box 1, Folder 2, Item 5
Scope and Contents note

Played with four hands at one piano. Dedicated to Josephine Geritz, Los Angeles California.

To top

One Morning in May, 1948

  • Box 1, Folder 2, Item 6
Scope and Contents note

Played with piano. Collected and adapted from folk sources by John Jacob Niles. Lewis Henry Horton also listed as composer/arranger. Dedicated to Mrs. Josephine Geritz. Title page includes handwritten note "for young people at the piano".

To top

I Wonder As I Wander, undated

  • Box 1, Folder 3
To top

Facsimiles, 1949-1952

, 1949

  • Box 1, folder 4

Lo How the Lonely Places Prosper, 1949 April 25

  • Box 1, Folder 4, Item 1
Scope and Contents note

Played with voice (soprano) and piano or orchestra. Collected and adapted by John Jacob Niles with passages from the Bible. Dedicated to Rena, Thomas, and Little John.

To top

The Turtle Dove, 1949 July 4-5, August 15

  • Box 1, Folder 4, Item 2
Scope and Contents note

Played with piano and voice. Text adapted from a folk love song by John Jacob Niles.

To top

Lamentation, 1950 August 29

  • Box 1, Folder 5
Scope and Contents note

Oratorio for soloists, chorus, and piano. John Jacob Niles' adaptation of various texts and the Bible. Dedicated to Rena, Thomas, and Little John.

To top

, 1950-1952

  • Box 1, folder 6

I Never Had But One Love, 1950 September 15

  • Box 1, Folder 6, Item 1
Scope and Contents note

Played with piano and voice. Text and music by John Jacob Niles. Dedicated to Gladys Swarthout.

To top

The Little Lyking and Sweet Marie and Her Baby, 1952 February 7, June 1

  • Box 1, Folder 6, Item 2-3
Scope and Contents note

Piano solos. Dedicated to Josephine Geritz.

To top

I Wonder As I Wander, undated

  • Box 1, Folder 7
Scope and Contents note

Played with four hands at one piano. Collected and adapted by John Jacob Niles from singing of Annie Morgan at Brasstown, NC. Dedicated to Josephine Geritz of Los Angeles, California. Incomplete.

To top

Published songbook, Ballads, Carols, and Tragic Legends from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, 1937 September 18

  • Box 1, Folder 9
Scope and Contents note

Played with piano. Collected and adapted by John Jacob Niles. Published octavo edition by G. Schirmer in the "American Folk Song Series". Stamped "John de Keyser and Company Music Dealers, 625 South Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA". Contains: Riddles Wisely Expounded, The Wife of Usher's Well, Oh! Who's Going To Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot, Never Was a Child So Lovely, The Two Corbies, Father Grumble, Sweet Jane, I Wash My Face in a Golden Vase, The Cruel Mother, Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender.

To top

Unidentified composers, undated

Scope and Contents note

Comprises sheet music in handwritten form that documents music for the piano, saxophone, and alto clarinet by unknown composers.

Idle Hill of Summer?, undated

  • Box 1, Folder 8, Item 1
Scope and Contents note

Played with piano. Unknown composer, signed John Linnel? Possibly another piece written for Josephine Geritz to perform.

To top

Little Piece for Saxophone, Alto Clarinet, and Piano, undated

  • Box 1, Folder 8, Item 2
Scope and Contents note

Played with saxophone, alto clarinet, and piano. Composer: John Linnie? Hassell? Dedicated to Josephine Geritz.

To top

UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.

UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

Requests

No items have been requested.



  1. Schedule an appointment. Face masks are required for non-vaccinated individuals.

  2. Submit a request for SCRC materials.



You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.