“O, Fair New Mexico” (record and recording)

From the exhibition:
The Land that Enchants Me So: Picturing Popular Songs of New Mexico

New Mexico History Museum

Autograph Record

Around 1924, Elizabeth Garrett walked into the seventh-floor studio of Marsh Laboratories Inc. in Chicago and made a record on the company’s Autograph Records label: on one side “O, Fair New Mexico,” which she sang while accompanying herself at the piano, on the other side a song of hers titled “Señorita,” in which she was accompanied by an ensemble of violin, cello, and piano. Marsh was among the first American companies to record music using a newly invented electrical process with the music being picked up by microphones rather than by the sound-collecting bells or horns of acoustic recordings. Autograph Records was notable for recording pioneering jazz musicians, including duets by King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton, but its roster includes less famous names too. The sleeve that held this record is marked “2,” perhaps suggesting that at least one other copy was made. As the only known copy to date, it provides a unique opportunity to hear Elizabeth Garrett performing the song for which she is most famous

Credit: James M. Keller Collection

Note: Representative image at left is often cropped for display purposes. Downloaded high-resolution images are not cropped.