New Free Download: Ragtime on Records (1894 – 1950) • The Worldwide Discography of Cakewalks, Rags, and Novelties on Cylinders and 78s – New Edition

The Mainspring Online Reference Library — Free Download

Ragtime on Records (1894 – 1950) • The Worldwide Discography of Cakewalks, Rags, and Novelties
on Cylinders and 78s

New Revised and Expanded Edition by Allan Sutton


The latest addition to the free Mainspring Online Reference Library, Ragtime on Records covers more than 900 commercially recorded compositions, from the earliest primitive cakewalks to the classic rags of the early 1900s, the decadent novelty rags of the 1920s, and the ragtime revival of the 1940s. The work is conveniently arranged by title, with original publishers and publication dates noted in each entry, and is fully searchable.

Ragtime on Records covers more than 8,000 cylinders and 78s (U.S. and foreign) in 550 pages. In addition to highly detailed discographical listings for mainstream performances, there are supplemental summary listings of recordings in other styles (jazz, country, novelty-pop, etc.) that reflect ragtime’s spread and assimilation over the decades. There is also a gallery or rare sheet-music covers, historical introduction, and user’s guide.


Download Acrobat / Reader file (pdf) (~30 mb)
(Free for Personal Use — Print-Restricted)


This work is offered by the publisher for personal, non-commercial use only. Sale or other commercial use, as well as any other unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or alteration (including conversion to or dissemination via digital databases, e-books, or the Internet), either in printed or digital form, is prohibited. Please read and honor the conditions of use included with this file, so that we can continue to offer these free publications.


Buy Direct from Mainspring Press:

Winner of the 2019 ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded-Sound Research, this unique volume contains more than 1,100 entries covering the record companies, independent studios, and individual producers — and the thousands of disc and cylinder brands they produced for the commercial market (including consumer, jukebox, and subscription labels) — from the birth of commercial recording to the start of the LP era.

“A mighty fortress is this book – and it guards an accumulation of knowledge of unparalleled proportions.”
– Tim Fabrizio, ARSC Journal

American Record Companies and Producers will forever be the ultimate resource.”
– John R. Bolig, author of The Victor Discographies

“I am in awe of the scope, breadth, detail
and documentation.”

– James A. Drake, author of Ponselle: A Singer’s Life and Richard Tucker: A Biography



Latest Updates to Dick Spottswood’s “Columbia E Series, 1908 – 1923” (Free Download)

Latest Updates to Dick Spottswood’s
“Columbia E Series,
1908 – 1923″
(Free Download)




Download Free for Personal Use (pdf, ~12mb)


We’re happy to announce the latest revision of Dick Spottswood’s Columbia E Series, 1908 – 1923, an invaluable guide to Columbia’s main ethnic series. As part of Mainspring’s Online Reference Library, it’s free to download for your personal use.

For those not familiar with the sheer scope of the E series — which encompassed everything from folk tunes and skits to operatic arias (some by the likes of Formichi and other notables) to British music-hall tunes — browsing these now largely forgotten records should prove intriguing.


Dick Spottswood is a pioneer researcher in the field of historical ethnic and country-music recordings, a veteran record producer and collector, and host of The Spottswood Show, which he’s been known to call “The Obsolete Music Hour.” His published works include the ground-breaking six-volume Ethnic Music on Records; Country Music Sources (with Guthrie T. Meade Jr. and Douglas S. Reade); and, most recently, The Blue Sky Boys, a 2019 ARSC Award winner.