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Sam Carner sheet music collection

Identifier: MS-MUS-0060

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  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This Sam Carner sheet music collection, 1830-1978, includes 19th and 20th century popular sheet music, musical magazines, and song compilations. The collection is particularly strong in African American contributors (composers, lyricists, arrangers, publishers, and performers), songs published in Baltimore, minstrel songs, patriotic songs, and Yiddish songs. There are also a significant number of uncategorized popular songs.

Some items were found with photocopies replacing some or all of the music/cover or missing pages. These items are:

Boxes 1-66 (see processing notes for box/folder descriptions):

Items 15, 54, 64, 89, 93, 94, 124, 153, 265, 273, 283, 299, 413, 622-625, 634, 696, 709, 716, 730, 816, 884, 1229, 1260, 1352, 1516, 1843, 1859, 1878, 2005, 2112-2113, 2121-2122, 2486, 2520, 2714, 2726, 2741-2744, 2771, 2794, 2796-2801, 2803-2808, 2811-2812, 2820-2822, 2834, 2837, 2839, 2858, 2894-2896.

Boxes 67-76:

Box 68, Folder 4, Item 8; Box 75, Folder 8, Item 1; Box 76, Folder 5, Item 7;


  • Creation: 1830 - 1978


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Sam Carner is a musical theater composer and librettist, currently part of the musical duo “Carner and Gregor.” The sheet music collection was started by Carner’s grandfather, Al Rose, a jazz/New Orleans historian and Eubie Blake biographer. While much of Rose’s collection ended up in the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, Carner’s father (Frank Carner) continued collecting songs from antique shops and flea markets. Between 2003 and 2005, Carner sold his family’s collection of sheet music to Johns Hopkins University in six separate acquisitions which have now been combined into a single collection. Carner also sold the University a collection of songs owned by CBS radio singer Patti Chapin and her family (this has become the Patti Chapin sheet music collection, MS.MUS.0061).


24.86 Cubic Feet (Approximately 4,000 items)

Language of Materials



Sam Carner is a musical theater composer and librettist who collected sheet music along with his father (Frank Carner) and grandfather (Al Rose). The Sam Carner sheet music collection contains 19th and 20th century popular sheet music, musical magazines, and song compilations.

Custodial History

While the majority of the sheet music was collected by Sam Carner's father and grandfather, Sam Carner contributed to the collection as well.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Sam Carner, 2003-2005 and 2022.

Processing Information

Processed by Sam Bessen, September-October 2020. Finding aid created by Jordon Steele, November-December 2020.

Boxes 001-066 and boxes 067-077 were processed about ten years apart, and therefore are labeled slightly differently at the folder/item level. Boxes 001-066 were processed in 2010, and each song was placed in its own folder. Each folder is labeled (items #1-#2957), and this number is also written on the back of the item on the upper right. Boxes 067-076 were processed in 2020 by Sam Bessen in consultation with Jordon Steele. These items were grouped ten per folder, with folder numbers restarting at each box. No item numbers are written on the songs themselves.

Items originally numbered 1484-1493 were removed and relocated to the Patti Chapin Collection, because they were labeled as from the Chapin collection. This removal explains why there are not items numbered 1484-1493 in the finding aid.

The following items do not exist due to labeling mistakes from processing in 2010: 773, 813, 933, 1164, 1451-1550, 2380.

In some instances, items were found with photocopies replacing some or all of the original music. It is unclear when this was done, but it was likely before the University received them. See Scope/contents note for a detailed list of these songs.

Genre / Form

Guide to the Sam Carner sheet music collection
Jordon Steele and Sam Bessen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA