Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Many Lives of Jack Purvis, Part Two - By Eric B. Borgman & George A. Borgman

PART ONE

 JACK’S DAYS AT THE INDIANA BOYS’ SCHOOL

 

“The boy has an unusually keen mind.”(1)

 


Jack Purvis had been giving his widowed, elderly father a lot of trouble with his behavior during 1918. He was eleven years old and had an above average intelligence. All the ingredients were there for Jack to develop into a troubled youth. His mother had died young and his father was elderly, Jack had an active imagination and penchant for gangster films all this added up to disaster.
 
The home life that Jack Purvis had to endure is hinted at by various sources. His mother Nettie claimed in 1910 that she had experienced a hundred abuses by Sanford, her husband from the day they married.(2)
 
Another local stated that his “mother died when he was very young and his father was far advanced in years, beyond the age of the average father.”(3)
 
A neighbor, Mrs. Nellie Dawson reported that, “I lived within a half block of the motherless home that sheltered Jack and feel that I am qualified to speak of the most unfavorable conditions surrounding his child life after his Mother’s death.”
 
She further stated, “I have witnessed personally, many things in the Father’s dealings with Jack that would have driven much more matured minds to perhaps even greater misdoings.”
 
“There is no doubt in my mind but that this child might have been much different with different treatment, and I feel that he is entitled to much charity in our estimation of him.”(4)
 
Even the mayor of Kokomo elicited sympathy for the boys upbringing and, “the conditions surrounding Jack while a mere child, in his motherless home…”(5) 
 
Although only 5 feet and a ½ inch in height and weighing 88 pounds, Jack was a handful; there is no doubt about it, he could get up to a lot of mischief. The first offense for which he was caught was petty pilfering in August 1918. For this he was brought before the juvenile court and found guilty. Right then his father tried to convince the judge that he couldn’t handle him. But, Jack was given a suspended commitment to the Indiana Boys’ School in Plainfield, Indiana.
 
Opening on January 1, 1868 the Indiana Boys’ School, was a juvenile correctional facility located on 225 acres situated in Henricks County in Plainfield, Indiana. It had a couple of names until it changed to the Indiana Boys’ School in the early 1900s. At the time Jack Purvis was incarcerated there it was comprised of over fifty buildings.(6)
 
Having been inspired by a film in which a robber went into a building via a window, Jack decided to follow the film’s lead and began breaking into businesses.
 
According to Sanford, Jack didn’t think he’d suffer much in way of punishment because he was only a boy. That changed on June 3, 1919 when he was dropped off at the facility. The record shows that he was considered, “bright, and in good physical condition.” It also enlightens us on his early tendency to lie. Jack told the physician that he, “had diphtheria and scarlet fever,” as well as, “small pox.” 
 
He was reported at different times to have “dark gray” eyes and “blue” eyes. It is noted that this, “boy is rather good looking and is above average in intellect.” He was further described as having a, “Grecian type of head and face with an aquiline nose.” According to Maurice O. Hunt, “Special note was made of the fact that he had perfect teeth.”
 
As mentioned previously Jack escaped the place on June 15th and made his way to Chicago before being caught. He proceeded to pretend to be mentally deficient which almost worked until his sister-in-law identified him. Mayme Purvis drove him back to his father who trusted Jack enough to let him play about town before returning him the next day. But, Jack was only pretending he’d fallen asleep that night because he took off before morning of the 26th. Sanford sheepishly wrote a letter to Supt. Charles A. McGonagle telling him that he was, “sorry to inform” him that, “Jack slipped out away from me last night… I had no reason to think or suspect that he had any intention of doing any thing else but go back to Plainfield and trying to redeem himself.”(7)
 
For two months Jack was gone but he was captured in Frankfurt, Kentucky while he was apparently making his way back home. When news reached Kokomo, reporter Harold K. Reynolds was out at Plainfield on August 18th. His requests to see Jack were rebuffed and after he witnessed the children having to clean up the lawn by picking up the leaves without rakes, but by hand only and their “goose” stepping around the campus in pseudo- military fashion he wrote a scathing article which was printed the next day.
 
He reported the claim that, “One thousand demerits have been chalked up against this boy as punishment for his absence… The 1000 demerits which Jack must bear up under is the only punishment he has or will receive, according to a statement this morning of Frank D. Johns(t)on, chief of the Plainfield parole department.”
 
The demerits being the only punishment was a complete falsehood. But, Johnston continued, “I don’t believe in the bread-and-water methods that have been in vogue in penal institutions for so long,” he further stated that they, “are not successful. The man or boy you subject to such treatment will hate you and in face of that fact you can do nothing to change his outlook.”(8)
 
The next day the School had a flurry of new paperwork concerning Jack, regarding the distribution of new clothes, a request to “administer corporal punishment,” a request for a doctor’s examination and finally a report indicating that Jack received 12 “strokes” and that the skin was “bruised.” Apparently, Jack had to sign a paper indicating that “Mr. Fields” was the one who lashed him and that the punishment was, “moderate.” Four days later Dr. Ragan examined Jack and stated that he found that there was still, “considerable redness of (his) hips.”(9)
 
In order for Jack to be eligible for parole he would need, “at least 5000 merit marks to his credit...” Jack would, “require two and one-half months of spotless conduct to wash out,” the one thousand demerits.(10)
 
By November it appears that Jack had settled down and was, “doing nicely,” and was “happy and contented.”(11) He was working in the printing department, was taking 8th Grade classes and was happily involved with the school band. One can speculate that he actually enjoyed his music classes and band participation.
 
Jack asked his father for a few things including toothpaste and the book ‘The Wizard of Oz’. When Sanford wrote on November 7th asking Supt. McGonagle whether he could acquiesce to his son’s requests McGonagle answered on the 11th, “You may send Jack one pair of hose supporters and a tube of tooth paste. Instead of the book, ‘Wizzard of Ozz’, I suggest that you send him a book entitled ‘Pushing to the Front’, by Maraden.” The book recommended was written in 1894 by inspirational author Dr. Orison Swett Marden and gives advice on how one can achieve success and “be the best they can be.” (12)
 
Three days after Christmas Sanford, Richard and the housekeeper Lucy visited Jack. Sanford was “disappointed” to find Jack spending about equal time in his 8th grade studies as he was with “band work.” In fact, he was so disturbed he brought up his unhappiness with both the School Superintendent Rood and the Band Master as Supt. McGonagle was absent. Two days later on December 30th he sent off a two page letter to McGonagle stating that he was, “much surprised and disappointed to find that Jack was only taking a very few of the studies of the Eighth grade, and was dividing his study hours about equally between school and Band work.” He emphatically wrote that, “Mr. Rood… would gladly put Jack in the full Eighth grade work and keep him there exclusively until he finished and graduated from that grade, which above all things I wish him to do.” He further wrote that, “The Band Master said… that he would gladly release Jack from his band work so that he could put all his time on his school work.”(13)
 
The effect a move like that would have had upon fourteen year old Jack can only be guessed at, but, considering his later career, it can be assumed that it would have been a devastating move. Fortunately, Supt. McGonagle answered on January 7, 1920, and stated that, “I am not sure that it would be the wisest thing to crowd Jack too rapidly in his studies.” He also pointed out that, “One thing is certain, while he learns readily he is not over-fond of school work.” He then wisely said, “I think it well to a certain extent to in a degree to humor his whims, hoping that some day he will settle upon the profession or calling for which he has the best talent.”(14)
 
At the time Jack had many professions he wanted to follow. He spoke of being an aviator, a musician, a doctor or a lawyer even an orator or a railroad engineer. Fortunately, he would get to spend some time as a musician and airplane pilot during his life.
 
On January 13, 1920 a “Demerit Sheet” was written up on Jack regarding his “disobedience” in Orchestra giving him ten demerits.
 
In May, several incidents occurred. He misbehaved in Chapel, went to the barbers without permission and a more serious incident in which Jack had “left his cornet under the stairway” instead of leaving it in the band room. All these infractions led to 50 demerits reported on the 27th.
 
The School’s visiting policy of one visit per any 30 day period was strictly followed. Sanford had planned to visit Jack next on July 5th, but since his daughter Gail visited with Jack’s niece on June 30th, Sanford’s visit was disallowed and he had to wait until July 30th to visit him instead.
 
On October 1, 1920 Jack entered the Boys’ School’s own Charlton High School. At the time the, “high school consisted only (of) the 9th and 10th” grades.(15) At the end of the month his father, brother and Lucy the house keeper visited him. This would be his last visit from his family for the rest of the year.
 
During his time at the institution Jack was said to have, “had musical talent” and that, “his work was very good in school.”(16) He also was collecting merit points to which he was carefully tabulating. Jack was distinctly aware that with 5000 merit points he could be put up for parole.(17)
 
When his father visited alone on the first of February 1921, Jack let his father know that he had collected, “6920 merits and 17 months clear record in his favor.” On the 4th Sanford wrote Supt. McGonagle and passionately expressed his, “desire to have him at home with us again,” and explained how, “Jack is justly proud of this showing, for which he assured me he has worked hard and conscientiously to obtain.”
 
He further wrote, “As he has made such a fine record since his second introduction to your school, and has so nearly paid up in full to the ‘Last Farthing’ for his indiscretions I hope you will decide that no possible harm could result from his immediate release, and order him paroled at once.” It is obvious that Sanford was speaking from the heart, “I think Jack is thoroughly baked, and probably nothing further in a beneficial way, can be obtained by any longer confinement in your school.”(18)
 
Sanford’s impassioned plea must have worked for he received a letter dated March 5th asking for him to sign and return “the parole agreement.”
 
Jack was finally paroled on March 17, 1921 and traveled by train to Kokomo. He returned to his father’s home at 313 South Main Street and began attending Kokomo High School. He apparently did make an effort to be good. He joined the school band and was said to have been a good student.
 
A classmate at this time Warren C. Huddleston who remembered Jack years later said that, “The Jack Purvis I knew… transferred in from the Boys School at Plainfield, Indiana.” He further remembered, “my first meeting with him was due to the fact that I was editor of the school newspaper, and Jack was sent to me because he was interested in writing.” Huddleston continued, “He was a likeable and intelligent boy, but he was also extremely troubled. He was a liar and a thief…” But, he also acknowledged that, “He was a very talented person, both as a musician (he played trumpet in the school band), and as a writer and as a student.”(19)
 
Jack was popular at school, especially with some of the girls. According to the Supt. Of City Schools in Kokomo, C. V. Haworth, “he gave us very little trouble… He was bright in his subjects, obedient to his teachers and was exemplary in every way except his one weakness, which was truancy.(20)
 
As time went on things started to fall apart between Jack and his father as Jack’s behavior fell back into that of disobedience. “He … violated almost every condition of his parole, time and time again,” his father complained.
 
Angry with his son’s impertinence and waywardness, Sanford contacted the authorities to  have Jack returned to the Boys’ School. On August 30, 1922 he unloaded in a letter all his complaints to Supt. McGonagle. He told him that Jack would, “not go to school and make his grades. He will not work, nor save his money.” He continued, “I have gotten him several good jobs here in the factories, but he won’t stick to them. …he runs off and stays from one to four month(s) and comes back hungry, dirty, and practically naked.”  Before signing off he also stated that, “he has also taken several things that did not belong to him, since his parole, but I managed to keep it out of court…” Jack would continue most of these practices throughout his life.(21)
 
Jack was returned to the institution on September 2, 1922. This time he was scheduled to work in the laundry.
 
On September 30, Jack was apparently planning his next adventure. Ethel McCullough reported that he was, “found at company with a part of a map that had been torn from an atlas in my room.” She continued, “later scraps of the map were found in Jack’s desk where he was seen with the scraps. The boy who reported to me about Jack having the map described it as having ‘woods’ along the margin and Jack copying them in a certain one of two tablets.” She then described how, “On investigation I found the certain tablet in another room and the ‘woods’ which were an alphabetical list of the names of the states, on the margin of the map…” Jack was given ten lashes by R. McCullough on October 2nd.
 
After the final falling out between Jack and his father, it appears that Sanford never visited him again after he was sent back to Plainfield. His aunt Lola visited him once on January 7, 1923, but there is no record of anymore visits from anyone.
 
His father continued to write however, but no longer did he try to write friendly “hopeful” letters. Now he wrote letters which showed his annoyance. There was a change in Jack too. Mr. McGonagle wrote Sanford on January 17th, “I noticed for the past few days that something seemed to be worrying Jack and last Monday had a heart to heart talk with him. He confessed that your letters of the last few weeks had,” made him think, “that you had turned him down.”
 
McGonagle continued, “I think that the tone of your letters have given the boy a jolt and will serve to bring him to his senses. However, it will not do for him to get the notion that you have turned against him. I wish you would write him an affectionate and hopeful letter.”(22)
 
“I am threatening Jack, and have been writing to him, in such a way that I thought best to bring him to his senses,” explained Sanford. “I may have made a mistake. But good, kind, and encouraging treatment utterly failed to do him any good before. I think he took our former good and forgiving treatment of him, as a kind of hero worship that he was justly entitled to…” Sanford concluded that he’d take his recommendation under advisement and, “try your suggestion, to some reasonable extent.”(23)
 
The next letter McGonagle wrote seems to be a complete about-face from the previous one. He stated that he felt, “that I may not have made myself clear to you in my letter… The idea I meant to convey was that the tenure of your letters in the past few months, in my judgment, had reached Jack and got under his skin. I thought that they had been good medicine for him.” He continued by mentioning again that he, “had noticed the boy was somewhat discouraged and down at heart… he guessed that you had lost faith with in him.”
 
Although he thought that Jack was, “feeling better since your last letter. I believe, however, that it would be well to keep him on the ‘uneasy seat’…”(24)
 
Amazingly, this method of rehabilitation was apparently all the therapy Jack was being offered there. Whether this idea of keeping a troubled teen depressed ultimately proved wise, considering he would be battling depression the rest of his life up to and including attempted suicide, is up for debate.
 
Jack continued to do well in his school work and his music. He showed off his skill for acting when he was cast as the lead in a play that the School put on. “Jack took the part of the leading character and he acquitted himself with credit.”
 
The play was taken on the road when it was performed for the benefit of the Plainfield Sunday schools, “and much favorable comment was made about the way Jack played his part.”(25)
 
The next communication that has been preserved came from Sanford on April 23, 1923. Now he was concerned about getting Jack a job and wanted to know, “if you can give me an idea as to about the time when Jack will be released from your school.” He continued, “The only employment that I can get him here is in some of our factories. I am financially interested in two of our best ones, and can get him a job in our Wire, Steel and Nail factory, after some notice…”(26)
 
“It is not expected that Jack will be paroled before he has been here one year,” Supt. McGonagle responded on the 26th.(27)
 
On June 7, 1923, Jack was given ten “strokes,” for willful disobedience. Then three days later on June 10th, Jack’s teacher Ethel McCullough again reported Jack  for “willful disobedience and impudence.” She then went on to give another long description of his bad behavior. “This boy and the rest of the class was told positively that the first head out of line would be sent to the office and within five minutes I heard this boys voice. Then he said he did not deserve the report and would tell Mr. McGonagle so.” He probably would have been lashed, but, because it was only three days after being hit he was given 150 demerits instead for this incident.
 
Sanford Purvis, who had been suffering with heart problems, unexpectedly, died of a heart attack after finishing a Sunday School lesson on Abraham on June 24, 1923. Jack was notified that day and was allowed to go home until June 30th.(28)
 
Whatever faults Sanford may have had, he certainly was struggling to do the best for his son Jack. He wanted him to follow a good path in life and be the best citizen he could be and offer the best he had for society. His letters to Supt. McGonagle show his concern even when he suggested something that may have been detrimental to Jack, it wasn’t out of anger or spite for the most part, but, out of sincere concern.
 
Sanford truly was worried that his son would be hurt by being given corporal punishment after his escapes and he most likely was brokenhearted when he learned of his son running away. He must have been very hurt especially when Jack betrayed him and ran away again in the night after he trusted him.
 
The fact that he only lived several years after Jack was incarcerated reveals to us that he wasn’t in the best of health and literally was not up to dealing with such a problem child.
 
He lamented Jack’s behavior and worried about his future. He couldn’t fathom what was wrong with Jack. He struggled to know how to treat him when writing letters to him. Jack’s situation obviously affected Sanford a great deal. He did love his son and ultimately the stress of the whole ordeal may have contributed to his untimely demise.
 
After Sanford’s funeral, Jack’s half-brother Guy told the School over the phone that, “they had been unable to find a will, and if the estate of his father had to be settled according to the statutes of descent, it would be necessary to ask the Court to appoint a guardian for Jack.” The School gave Jack three extra days of leave because of this.
 
No longer having to impress his father or make good, Jack took his first opportunity to escape his private hell. On July 7, 1923, four days after having been returned to the institution, and after being given fifty more demerits for an infraction, he took off! He managed to get out of the school building and escaped. His cap was found in Mr. Osborn’s classroom. Jack was sixteen years old.
 
According to the band teacher Mr. Denny, Jack had, been talking Navy since he returned from his father’s funeral.” The School alerted all the recruiting stations and police departments in the area about escapee Jack.
 
It may be that Jack was trying to throw off his trail by planting a story that he wanted to join the Navy. He did have an interest in sea travel however which he would later indulge himself with. But, there isn’t enough information as to whether he really intended to enter the Navy.
 
The Farmer’s Trust & Savings Bank, the guardians of not only Jack but his brother Richard as well, wrote from Kokomo on May 9, 1924 to Supt. McGonagle, inquiring into Jack’s whereabouts.(29)
 
On June 30, 1925, probation officer Rev. George B. Walls, informed the School that he, “learned from Jack Currie that Purvis is a member of a show troupe – carries an assumed name. That he met with (an) accident while riding (a) freight train resulting in the loss of an arm.”(30)
 
Fortunately, that report, as far as the arm goes, was erroneous. It almost sounded like someone was pulling someone’s leg.
 
Jack’s aunt, Lola Lowrey, engineered an effort to petition the Board of Control of the Boys’ School to obtain a parole or a discharge for her wayward nephew. Sanford may have thought Jack belonged at Plainfield, but, many people of Kokomo didn’t.
 
The letters began flying. Willis B. Dye manager of Thos. J. Dye & Son wrote the Board, “While Jack has been mischievous I believe that he is at the age where he will go ahead and make good and I trust that you may see fit to grant him this privilege.”(31)
 
The Secretary of the Board of Childrens’ Guardians, Nellie Dawson wrote, “I would be very glad if I might add the word that would procure the so much desired action of this Board – a pardon for my little friend, Jack Purvis.”(32)
 
Even the Superintendent of City Schools, C. V. Haworth stated that, “I believe now that Jack has reformed, is fully able to take care of himself and is making a good citizen. I, therefore, believe if the penalty which is hanging over him at the boy’s school can be removed, Jack will make good and will take his rightful place in society.”(33)
 
Donald Hall of the Y. M. C. A. wrote, “I have known the boy personally for several years and having come closely in touch with him while he was at home a year or two ago, I feel certain that the school has made a remarkable change in the boy and that he has demonstrated that this change is permanent.”(34)
 
Even the mayor of Kokomo, James Burrows, wrote the Board of Control – “Since leaving your school, he has proven that he can ‘make good’ and it is only fair that society give him a chance to be a man in every sense of the word, and an opportunity to establish a self respect that is impossible under the present status.”(35)
 
Despite the letters from important citizens of Kokomo, the Board of Control took no action and deferred the matter to Supt. McGonagle. He had no intention of paroling Jack, unless he, voluntarily returned and remained at the school for a period of time to be determined later.”(36) 
 
Jack was obviously in contact with his aunt so he knew of her efforts to get him paroled. He also knew that he would have little chance of receiving his share of any inheritance from his father’s estate until the situation with the Boys’ School was resolved. So, on July 19th Jack dutifully wrote Supt. McGonagle from Miami, Florida. The letter is now lost, but it must have been something, since it moved the immovable superintendent to write back that he read it, “with considerable interest.”
 
McGonagle wrote dryly that, “You can readily understand that it would be a very dangerous precedent and would have a bad influence on the School to parole an escaped boy without him meeting the proposition at least half way.”
 
He continued, “If you return voluntarily, you must do so with full faith that I will deal justly and fairly with you and accept with good grace whatever the decree may be.” Then the letter turned darker, “If you do not have this faith in me, I do not want you to return of your own free will. Remember there is a reward offered for your apprehension which stands good until you are twenty one years of age.”(37)
 
What would Jack Purvis do? Would he return to Supt. McGonagle and trust him to mete out a proper punishment and eventual parole date of his choosing? Or would Jack wait out the clock until he was 21 and be free of the Indiana Boys’ School once and for all?

SOURCES & FOOTNOTES

Most of this Yankee Jazz Beat Blog entry relied on the available historic records of the Indiana Boys’ School of Plainfield, that reside at the Indiana State Archives.

1. Letter from Supt. McGonagle to Sanford Purvis, March 26, 1923, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

2. The Indianapolis Star, 'Wealthy Kokomo Man Sued', page 4. The restraining order was, "to prevent the defendant from disposing of his property."

3. Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

4. Letter from Mrs. Nellie Dawson to Indiana Boys’ School Board of Control, June 30, 1925, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

5. Letter from Mayor James Burrows to Indiana Boys’ School Board of Control, July 1, 1925, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

6. The Kokomo Daily Dispatch, ‘Refuse To Let Reporter See Jack Purvis’, Harold K. Reynolds, August 1919.

7. Letter from Sanford Purvis to Supt. McGonagle, June 26, 1919, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

8. The Kokomo Daily Dispatch, ‘Refuse To Let Reporter See Jack Purvis’, Harold K. Reynolds, August 1919.

9. Escape report, Statement of Boy Punished, Statement of Witness, and Order For Physician’s Examination, August 19, 1919; Report of Physician, August 23, 1919, Indiana Boys' School records, Indiana State Archives.

10. The Kokomo Daily Dispatch, ‘Refuse To Let Reporter See Jack Purvis’, Harold K. Reynolds, August 1919.

11. Letter from Supt. McGonagle to Sanford Purvis, November 11, 1919, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

12. Letter exchange between Sanford Purvis & Supt. McGonagle, November 7, 1919 & November 11, 1919, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

13. Letter from Sanford Purvis to Supt. McGonagle, December 30, 1919, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

14. Letter from Supt. McGonagle to Sanford Purvis, January 7, 1920, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

15. Letter from Maurice O. Hunt, Dir. of Placement to Carl Basland, September 3, 1937.

16. Ibid.

17. The Kokomo Daily Dispatch, ‘Refuse To Let Reporter See Jack Purvis’, Harold K. Reynolds, August 1919.

18. Letter from Sanford Purvis to Supt. McGonagle, February 4, 1921, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

19. Duncan Preston Scheidt Collection, Box 2, Folder 13, Jack Purvis: correspondence, notes, and clippings, 1966–1972. Letters from Warren C. Huddleston to Peter Kelley, 11-16-1966 & 6-22-1967. There is some confusion as to when Mr. Huddleston remembered Purvis being at Kokomo High School. In his mind everything, Purvis being transferred to the school, writing for the paper, and his inheriting money, all happened in 1923. The verifiable dates do not correlate with his memory. I do think that Huddleston did know Purvis in high school and the basics of his memory are authentic, just the dates seem a bit off.

20. Letter from C. V. Haworth to Indiana Boys’ School, Executive Board, June 30, 1925, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

21. Letter from Sanford Purvis to Supt. McGonagle, August 30, 1922, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

22. Letter from Supt. McGonagle to Sanford Purvis, January 17, 1923, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

23. Letter from Sanford Purvis to Supt. McGonagle, January 19, 1923, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

24. Letter from Supt. McGonagle to Sanford Purvis, January 23, 1923, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

25. Letter from Supt. McGonagle to Sanford Purvis, March 26, 1923, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

26. Letter from Sanford Purvis to Supt. McGonagle, April 23, 1923, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

27. Letter from Supt. McGonagle to Sanford Purvis, April 26, 1923, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

28. The Kokomo Daily Tribune, 'S. B. Purvis Is A Victim Of Heart Attack', June 25, 1923, pages 1-2.

29. Letter from Farmers Trust & Savings Bank to Supt. McGonagle, May 9, 1924, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

30. Hand written note by George B. Walls, regarding Jack Purvis #9457, June 30, 1925.

31. Letter from Willis B Dye to Indiana Boys’ School Board of Control, June 29, 1925, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

32. Letter from Mrs. Nellie Dawson to Indiana Boys’ School Board of Control, June 30, 1925, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

33. Letter from C. V. Haworth to Indiana Boys’ School, Executive Board, June 30, 1925, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

34. Letter from Donald Hall, YMCA to Indiana Boys’ School Board of Control, July 1, 1925, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

35. Letter from Kokomo Mayor James Burrows to Indiana Boys’ School Board of Control, July 1, 1925, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

36. Letter from Supt. McGonagle to Jack Purvis, Miami, Florida, July 24, 1925, Records of the Indiana Boys’ School, Indiana State Archives.

37. Ibid.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

George A. Borgman Archives - Reel to Reel Collection - JAZZ I TAKEOUTS

In October of 1978 George Borgman was working for the Department of Justice in Washington, DC while living down in Maryland he would tune into a Washington, DC radio station and occasionally he'd record some of the jazz programs.

Here is what he recorded on Wednesday, October 25, 1978. He edited out some tunes and would save them on an alternate reel. This tape reel was titled "Jazz I Takeouts - Save!"

The first tune, Visitation, is taken from the Paul Chambers/John Coltrane LP "High Step" which was a compilation album released in 1975 by Blue Note. Visitation was recorded March 2, 1956 and featured, Paul Chambers on bass, Kenny Drew on piano and Philly Joe Jones on drums.

The next tune featuring Dollar Brand on piano, and Johnny Dyani on bass and bells with both contributing vocals was recorded in Germany on December 10, 1973. It is of a traditional South African tune Ntsikana. The album was released on the Inja label.

Lastly, we have Catalonian Nights by Dexter Gordon from his album "Bouncin' with Dex" and was recorded on September 14, 1975.

Dexter Gordon - tenor sax 

Tete Montoliu - piano

Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen - bass

Billy Higgins - drums



Saturday, April 25, 2020

Saturday Jazz Performance - "Quarantine Boogie" - Ladyva

Okay, so it's technically Boogie Woogie, but, this I think, it is appropriate for our times. Pianist Ladyva plays her own composition Quarantine Boogie from the sunny Dominican Republic.

According to her bio on YouTube, Ladyva began playing piano at age fourteen. Her inspirations were some of the masters of Boogie Woogie, though unfortunately she doesn't say who. She began performing with her brother Pascal Silva, at age sixteen.

She has appeared on many television programs both in Switzerland the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. In 2009 Ladyva released her first album; her current and third album is 8 To The Bar.

In September 2015 she performed at Jerry Lee Lewis’ 80th Birthday/Farewell U.K. Tour in London and Glasgow. She performed at the Cigar Awards in December 2016 and received the award for 'Best Boogie Woogie Pianist 2017' at the Boisdale Music Awards.

So, without further adieu...


 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Music - Gregorian Chant

George A. Borgman, for whom this blog Yankee Jazz Beat was created to keep his research and love of music alive, said often that his favorite form of music was Gregorian Chant.

I thought that this music would be appropriate for Easter.



Saturday, April 4, 2020

Saturday Jazz Performance - "Blue And Broken Hearted" - The Eddie Condon All Stars

Today we will travel back to 1962 to hear the tune Blue And Broken Hearted by some people who were there when jazz was starting to hit its stride. This performance is of the Eddie Condon All-Stars featuring Eddie Condon (1905-1973), Wild Bill Davison (1906-1989), Cutty Cutshall (1911-1968), Peanuts Hucko (1918-2003), Johnny Varro, Joe Williams, and native Bostonian by way of Kiev Buzzy Drootin (1920-2000)!

This 1960s performance was filmed in color on 35mm film and recorded professionally on stereo sound equipment. We have the Goodyear Co. to thank for it as it was part of a promotional campaign. Louis Armstrong's and Bobby Hackett's bands were also filmed during the same campaign.

This film showcases quite a line-up. The music was composed by Lou Handman (1894-1956) and lyrics for the tune, although not heard here, were written by Grant Clarke (1891-1931) and Edgar Leslie (1885-1976). The tune was recorded as early as 1922 and became a hit for singer Marion Harris (1896-1944) with her 1923 recording of the song.

The pianist from this performance Johnny Varro who was born in 1930 is still alive!


Wild Bill Davison (c), Cutty Cutshall (tb), Peanuts Hucko (cl), Johnny Varro (p),
Eddie Condon (g), Joe Williams (b), Buzzy Drootin (d). Recorded in New York City, 1962.

Here is a 1922 recording of the same tune by Eddie Elkins and His Orchestra. Notice how different this version sounds compared to the one forty years later.

Performed by Eddie Elkins and His Orchestra, October 27, 1922.

While we're at it, why not listen to Marion Harris' version from 1923?