I have researched the history of Gennett Records since 2004 when I began writing the company’s discography with T. Malcolm Rockwell. I write a daily post about what happened on that day at Starr and Gennett on Facebook and a WordPress blog.
In 2010, the Starr Gennett Foundation asked me to join the National Advisory Board and I continue my service today. The Starr Gennett Foundation “aims to promote, preserve, and celebrate the legacy of Gennett Records and its parent organization, the Starr Piano Company.” This organization led the charge to preserve and interpret the original site of Starr Piano and Gennett Records in Richmond, Indiana and its two remaining structures, the logo building and the smoke stack. Additionally, the Foundation installed historic markers and a “Walk of Fame” and conduct several educational and community outreach programs each year.
For Dr. Kris McCusker’s class “American Music in the Modern Age” (History 7105) in the Spring 2016 semester, I wrote a paper entitled “The Music Never Stopped: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Gennett Records. A Case Study for the Increased Preservation of Recorded Sound History Sites.” This paper served as the basis for the introductory essay for my book Images of America: Gennett Records and Starr Piano (Arcadia Press, 2016). The Association for Recorded Sound Collections nominated it for an Award of Excellence in its “Best Historical Research in Record Labels” category.
Noted record industry historian Allan Sutton of Mainspring Press wrote, “While we’re on subject, here’s a terrific book that all Gennett fans should own, by Charlie Dahan and Linda Gennett Irmscher (Arcadia Publishing). It’s available on Amazon.com, and a real bargain at just $21.99 — crammed with rare photos and little-known facts, and covering a much broader scope than the earlier Kennedy tome. Highly recommended!”
Additionally, I explored the impact of the Victor Talking Machine Company vs Starr Piano lawsuit on the future of the recording industry and availability of vernacular music after the courts decided in Starr’s favor in Dr. Susan Myers-Shirk’s Fall 2014 “Historical Research Methods” (HIST 6020). While I am proud of this paper, I hope to go back to add to and edit some information acquired after I turned it in. You can read it here.