Martin & Morris Gospel Sheet Music Collection

This collection of 1,500 scores represents nearly the complete catalog of the publisher Martin & Morris Music Studio. In 1992, Necie Morris, widow of Kenneth Morris, gave one copy of each of the titles available in the store. An inventory of this reference collection was provided.

In 1940, Kenneth Morris left Bowles Music House and teamed with gospel singer Sallie Martin to start his own publishing business, the Martin & Morris Music Company. Martin (1896-1988) had come to Chicago in 1927 from Pittsfield, Ga., to work with another gospel pioneer, Thomas A. Dorsey. Her group, the Sallie Martin Singers, traveled throughout the United States and Europe. Martin remained associated with the Martin & Morris Music Studio until 1975.

Martin & Morris distributed music from other publishing houses such as Venice Music, Clara Ward Publications, Roberta Martin Music Studios, Frazier-Cleveland Music, Savoy Music, Excellorec, Flomar Music and Conrad Music.

Martin & Morris published works by other artists as well and soon became the leading gospel music publishing company. Among their composers were Alex Bradford, James Cleveland, Sam Cooke, W. Herbert Brewster, Lucie Campbell and Dorothy Love Coates.

Using his talents as transcriber and arranger, Morris added his name in one way or another to most of the sheet music that graced the shelves of his studio. He composed more than 300 gospel songs.

Morris ran his music business, which also sold records, hymnals and music books, until his death at 71 in 1989. His wife, Necie Morris, continued to operate the store until it closed in 1993, after 52 years of service to the gospel community. Martin died in 1988 at age 92.

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