The Maryland Historical Society proudly shares news that Eubie Blake’s entertainment lawyer, Elliott Hoffman, has donated two of Blake’s practice pianos to the museum.
James Hubert (“Eubie”) Blake was born in Baltimore on February 7, 1887 and died in Brooklyn, New York on February 12, 1983, a few days before his ninety-sixth birthday. Composer, lyricist, and pianist, he was a major figure in the revival of ragtime and early jazz, returning them to prominence as true American musical genres.
Blake was playing piano professionally and composing by the age of 16. His career began to take shape when he met fellow musician Noble Sissle in 1915. Together, the two of them wrote hundreds of songs, many of which became major hits. Blake and Sissle also collaborated on writing the musical play Shuffle Along, which featured classic songs such as “I’m Just Wild About Harry.”
The Eubie Blake Manuscript and Ephemera Collection at the Maryland Historical Society consists of 72 boxes and 2 oversize folders of materials from the estate of Eubie Blake. These materials include a large amount of Eubie’s personal correspondence, legal correspondence, financial records, programs from performances, public press, lyrics and scripts for Eubie’s musicals including In Bamville and Shuffle Along, miscellaneous music related and travel ephemera and more. This collection, as well as a photograph collection, has recently been reinventoried and more detailed finding aids have been created.