Help Us Reconstruct Missing Columbia Data

Columbia Label

Between 1908 and 1923, Columbia Records issued thousands of recordings for “ethnic” and foreign markets in its domestic double-faced E series, the double-faced Spanish C series, and several other series. Noted discographer Dick Spottswood, compiler of Ethnic Music on Record (EMOR), has compiled listings of the E- and C-series discs, notably including non-US recordings not in EMOR. The listings are downloadable from the Mainspring Press website.

UCSB is working with Dick to fill in gaps in the listings. As the original Columbia documentation is lost, the data has been reconstructed from artifacts, primarily extant discs and catalogs. There is still missing data, likely to be found in collections and libraries around the world. If you have any of these discs on the lists of catalog numbers below below in your collection, we would love to get the following information, including: 

  • Matrix (a 4 our 5 digit typed number in the wax, often below the label)
  • Take (a number following the matrix, above)
  • Title(s)
  • Performer(s)
  • Any additional information on the label such as language or ethnic group, composer, or instrumentation.

Google Doc of discs missing data

There are four lists in the above doc: Columbia E and C discs with missing data, and Columbia E and C discs where there is data, but missing matrix numbers. The matrix numbers can help us date the discs and determine their recording location. (We will strike through numbers as they are found so we don’t waste your time.)

Additions can be sent to David Seubert at UCSB: The information will be passed along to Dick to enhance his listings. Label photographs are also encouraged!