Emil R. Pinta 78-rpm record, sheet music, and record-sleeve collection

Identifier: MUSIC-031

Collection Overview


The Emil R. Pinta 78-rpm record, sheet music and record-sleeve collection contains unique combinations of 78-rpm records, matching-title sheet music, and—in most cases—approximate-period record sleeves. This collection consists of almost 230 such combinations acquired in over 55 years of collecting.


  • 1898-1950


13 Boxes (230 recordings, 230 pieces of sheet music, and a USB drive)


Guide to Collection

There is at least one combination for nearly every year, beginning with an 1898 John Philip Sousa Berliner record and matching Sousa sheet music; to Elvis and Lavern Baker combinations from the 1950s. A journey through this chronologic collection provides a panorama of American history and culture as represented on popular records, sheet music covers, and, to a lesser extent, record-sleeve art. They are artifacts that helped form our collective identity as a society via shared experiences over the years with these mediums.

Combinations are numbered chronologically according to recording dates of titles (with some exceptions), followed by sheet music (s/m) and record sleeves (r/s). Exact recording dates do not exist for some records, and these dates are approximated. Lyricist-composer credits for titles are given in parentheses.

With double-sided 78-rpms, the combination record-sheet music side is listed first; and it is the graded and dated side. Reverse-side artists and titles, indicated by a slash (/), are given, but condition and recording dates are not usually provided unless that side is thought to be of collectors’ interest.

The sheet music title, unless otherwise noted, is the same as the first side of the listed record. They are the first and second parts of the three-part combinations.

Record information consists of artist(s), label, catalog number, title, recording date, and record grade. Grading is primarily visual, but in some cases aural (sound) grading is used when specified. All records are 10-inch, 78-rpm records, unless otherwise noted.

Record grade abbreviations are as follows: Ex plus (“Excellent plus” is almost new); Ex (as it implies); Ex minus (record appears very clean with not much wear; may have small scuffs/scratches); VG plus (“Very Good plus” has some scratches and scuffs, but still a clean record); VG (more scratches and scuffs, but should play well); VG minus (shows considerable wear with scratches and scuffs, and may not play very clear); anything below this is not usually listed, unless rare. Keep in mind that grading is often arbitrary and in the eye of the beholder.

Sheet music is standard size unless stipulated, such as “large format.” No standardized grading system is used for sheet music and record sleeves. Narrative descriptions are given when necessary. If no description is provided, average condition can be presumed—which in many cases for older items means there can be fraying, creases and tears. Very few sheets or sleeves are considered to be in poor condition.

Additional abbreviations: B&S (black and silver); Brun (Brunswick); Col (Columbia); Ortho (Orthophonic); Vic (Victor); s/m (sheet music); r/s (record sleeve); rec. (recorded); repro. (reproduction) applicable to record sleeves only.

Victor label designs noted and years of use: Monarch label used from 1902-1904; Grand Prize label from 1905-1908; Patents label from1908-1913; Orthophonic (Scroll) label from 1926-1937; and RCA Vic label from 1946 on. RCA bought Victor records in 1929, but the RCA name did not appear as a label title until after World War II. Label designs in the years between the above designations, such as the “Wing Label” from 1914 to 1926, are not mentioned. Victor records were sometimes issued in special colors—usually designating a celebrity or premier status, such as Red Seal Victors—and these are noted.

Columbia label designs noted and years of use: Black and Silver label used prior to 1906; Grand Prize label from1906-1908; Magic Notes label from 1908-1917; Gold Band label from 1917-1923; Viva-tonal label from 1926-1939; and CBS label from 1939-1958.

Several general comments are in order regarding 78-rpm records. Earliest 78-rpms were recorded using an “acoustic” system in which sound entered a large acoustical horn, and sound vibrations caused a recording stylus attached to a diaphragm to make impressions in a groove. During 1925 and 1926, most major record companies changed to a superior electrical recording process, with electric microphones, electric recording heads, etc. For its electrically recorded discs, Victor designed an attractive “Orthophonic (Scroll)” label, and Columbia added “Electrical Process” and/or “Viva-tonal” to its labels.

For most records described here, the recording-stylus impressions were made into lateral aspects of the record groove—this includes all Victor, Columbia, Brunswick and Decca records. Some record companies, most notably Edison records, recorded with vertical impressions in the grooves, and these are designated “vertical-cut.” These were not playable on lateral-groove-playing phonographs; nor on most modern record players unless there are special adaptations.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All sound recordings are protected by copyright; post-1923 sheet music is protected by copyright. Researchers are responsible for securing permissions necessry for publication or reproduction.

Language of Materials

Materials in English

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was transferred to the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives by Emil R. Pinta in August of 2017.

Guide to the Emil R. Pinta 78-rpm record, sheet music and record-sleeve collection
Susannah Cleveland
June 2018
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