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Sam Carner sheet music collection

Identifier: MS-MUS-0060
Sam Carner is a musical theater composer and librettist who collected sheet music along with his father (Frank Carner) and grandfather (Al Rose). The Sam Carner sheet music collection contains 19th and 20th century popular sheet music, musical magazines, and song compilations.


  • 1830 - 1978


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Additional access notes are found in the appendix to the Best Practices.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.


24.54 Cubic Feet (Approximately 4,000 items)

Biographical / Historical

Sam Carner is a musical theater composer and librettist, currently part of the musical duo “Carner and Gregor.” The sheet music collection was started by Carner’s grandfather, Al Rose, a jazz/New Orleans historian and Eubie Blake biographer. While much of Rose’s collection ended up in the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, Carner’s father (Frank Carner) continued collecting songs from antique shops and flea markets. Between 2003 and 2005, Carner sold his family’s collection of sheet music to Johns Hopkins University in six separate acquisitions which have now been combined into a single collection. Carner also sold the University a collection of songs owned by CBS radio singer Patti Chapin and her family (this has become the Patti Chapin sheet music collection, MS.MUS.0061).

Scope and Contents

This Sam Carner sheet music collection, 1830-1978, includes 19th and 20th century popular sheet music, musical magazines, and song compilations. The collection is particularly strong in African American contributors (including several first editions of songs by W.C. Handy), songs published in Baltimore, minstrel songs, patriotic songs, and Yiddish songs. There are also a significant number of uncategorized popular songs.

Some items were found with photocopies replacing some or all of the music/cover or missing pages. These items are:

Boxes 1-66 (see processing notes for box/folder descriptions):

Items 15, 54, 64, 89, 93, 94, 124, 153, 265, 273, 283, 299, 413, 622-625, 634, 696, 709, 716, 730, 816, 884, 1229, 1260, 1352, 1516, 1843, 1859, 1878, 2005, 2112-2113, 2121-2122, 2486, 2520, 2714, 2726, 2741-2744, 2771, 2794, 2796-2801, 2803-2808, 2811-2812, 2820-2822, 2834, 2837, 2839, 2858, 2894-2896.

Boxes 67-76:

Box 68, Folder 4, Item 8; Box 75, Folder 8, Item 1; Box 76, Folder 5, Item 7;

Custodial History

The sheet music was primarily collected by Sam Carner's father and grandfather, although Sam Carner participated in the development of the collection, too.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Sam Carner, 2003-2005.

Processing Information

Processed by Sam Bessen, September-October 2020. Finding aid created by Jordon Steele, November-December 2020.

Boxes 001-066 and boxes 067-077 were processed about ten years apart, and therefore are labeled slightly differently at the folder/item level. Boxes 001-066 were processed in 2010, and each song was placed in its own folder. Each folder is labeled (items #1-#2957), and this number is also written on the back of the item on the upper right. Boxes 067-076 were processed in 2020 by Sam Bessen in consultation with Jordon Steele. These items were grouped ten per folder, with folder numbers restarting at each box. No item numbers are written on the songs themselves.

Items originally numbered 1484-1493 were removed and relocated to the Patti Chapin Collection, because they were labeled as from the Chapin collection. This removal explains why there are not items numbered 1484-1493 in the finding aid.

The following items do not exist due to labeling mistakes from processing in 2010: 773, 813, 933, 1164, 1451-1550, 2380.

In some instances, items were found with photocopies replacing some or all of the original music. It is unclear when this was done, but it was likely before the University received them. See Scope/contents note for a detailed list of these songs.

As of November 2020, this collection is currently undergoing the final steps of processing. Please contact us for more information.


Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA