Jimmie Rodgers ‘The Father of Country Music’ Collection up for auction

Jimmie Rodgers auction

Roots music history geeks, it’s time to break open those piggy banks.

Boston, MA based RR Auction will hold an auction offering a “diverse collection of material related to Rodgers’s life and musical career..”

The auction will total approximately 90 items, and will include letters, fabric (!), souvenir programs, newspaper clippings, and several signed and unsigned photos of the country music star and members of both the Rodgers and Bozeman families.

The jewel of the collection is a vintage matte-finish Victor Records publicity photo of Rodgers wearing a bowtie and boater hat, signed and inscribed in fountain pen, “To my dear little Aunt Dora, from your nephew with lots of love, Jimmie Rodgers.”

Additionally highlighted by a trio of handwritten letters:

The first, one page, dated October 12, 1913; letter to Uncle Tom, in full (spelling and grammar retained): “We are making a little money and having a good time to. I thing we will be in [Birmingham] Ala Saturday one time I hope all is well, tell all I said helo.”

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The second, one page, postmarked May 2, 1911; letter to Aunt Dora, in part: “You are well I hope. I will be down there during the fair, and I might stay up to the house sister and I are well how are you all and tell Talmage to write to me how is he. Well I will close I have got to eat supper at 6. Answer soon.”

The third, three pages, postmarked January 7, 1920; letter to Dora, in part: “I know I have been slow about writing to you but I have been going from place to place, and haven’t had time to write…and I am going to send your $10.00 dollars soon as I can possibly get it, but aunt Dora I have had to pawn my watch to get money to eat on. I have a very good job working between Delta Point La and Shreveport but having a hard time oh my…well aunt Dora I am going to stop, this train is running so blooming fast I cant hardly write as it is. Write me real soon and if you can spare $5.00 please send it to me.”

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Of additional note is a pair of scarce signed books from Rodger’s childhood. A copy of Goodrich’s New First School Reader (1864) and The Elementary Spelling-Book (1841), respectively signed on the inside of the front (Goodrich) and back (Elementary) covers in black ink, “Jimmie Rodgers.” Each book is individually presented in a picture box with nameplates affixed to the viewing glass and soft lining to the interior.

Also included in the treasures are a yellow crocheted bookmark, patch of red, white, and blue quilt, and red and white polka-dotted bandana; the latter of which was personally-owned and –worn by Jimmie Rodgers. Accompanied by a handwritten letter of provenance for the bandana from Anne Shine Landrum, Rodgers’s second cousin and is dated March 1, 2001.

The remainder of the lot includes a Jimmie Rodgers and Swain’s Hollywood Follies tour card, newspaper clippings, a pair of commemorative hats, a photo album which features approximately 45 personal images of family and friends, including legendary artists like Johnny Cash and Ernest Tubb; a VHS tape of The Singing Brakeman, Rodgers’s only film appearance; various Bozeman and Rodgers family correspondence and photos, including a wonderful cabinet photo of Jimmie and his two brothers, Walter and Talmage; and three portfolios that contain numerous letters, postcards, photographs, and a collection of six concert programs, including a Hank Williams Memorial show in Montgomery, Alabama, on September 20–21, 1954, and a Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival in Meridian, Mississippi, on May 19–26, 1990.

“This incredible collection of Rodgers memorabilia and intimate family keepsakes would make for a unique and instant focal point in any country music collection,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive at RR Auction.

Online bidding for the Hollywood Lifetime Collection Auction from RR Auction begins Thursday, March 12 – Wednesday, March 18, followed by a live auction on Thursday March 19, in Cambridge, MA, beginning at 1:00PM Eastern. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.

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