The DeMoss Family Lyric Bards began their career of musical touring, which lasted more than 35 years, in 1872. James M. DeMoss, a United Brethren minister, his wife Elizabeth (Bonebrake) DeMoss, and their five children devoted themselves to musical performance.
The DeMoss children - Henry, George, Lizzie, Minnie, and May - were added to the troupe as they became old enough to perform. Lizzie's son Herschel became, at age four, old enough to conduct a few numbers. The children were trained by their parents and were also educated at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
The DeMoss family's first tours were confined to Oregon, traveling from town to town by covered wagon; later they toured the United States, Canada, and Europe. All of the family members composed songs which they performed, and played instruments. Their specialty was playing forty to fifty different instruments in an evening's entertainment.
Popular family entertainers and very well received, the family was commissioned by World's Fair organizers to write state songs for the World Columbian Exposition in 1893. The last original member of the DeMoss Lyric Bards, Lizzie DeMoss Davis, died in 1941.
The correspondence consists of approximately thirty letters and cards, arranged chronologically, dating from 1888 - 1937.
The journals chronicle the family's musical tours (1872 to 1932), and they are generally weak from a narrative point of view. Little is noted other than towns, expenses and the evening grosses. However, the journals dated 1888-1889, 1893, and 1897 are exceptions, describing tours and travels more fully. Account books are included with the journals because they often contain information about performance sites and dates.
Manuscripts are divided into music, drama and poetry. They are generally incomplete and fragmentary.
The testimonials are mostly transcribed into notebooks from letters and newspaper articles, and are dated 1878-1893. The dates written on the covers of the notebooks do not always correspond to the dates written inside. Also included is one file of original and copied letters.
The published material largely consists of music and includes scrapbooks, individual songs, and a newspaper titled, "The Home", from 1906.
The publicity series contains concert programs (1890-1926), concert tickets, contracts, and financial material.
Memorabilia includes books, tickets, programs, maps, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings and other mementos.
There is also an oversize series that contains music manuscripts, a testimonial scrapbook, a DeMoss Family sign, and published music.
Photographs include prints of the family and individual members posed for portraits as well as performing, and printer's cuts.
Preferred Citation :
[Identification of item], DeMoss Family Lyric Bards records, Coll 070, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.Restrictions on Use :
Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.
Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.
If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.Restrictions on Access :
Collection is open to the public.
Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.
Collection is organized into the following series: Correspondence, Journals, Manuscripts, Testimonials, Published Material, Publicity, Memorabilia and Photographs.
Material within this collection is minimally arranged. Any arrangement is either derived from the records' creators or custodians or from staff at the time of initial processing. It may be necessary to look in multiple places for the same types of materials.
Related Materials :
A thesis by Gay Grace Blankenship, "The DeMoss Family Musicians: Lyric Bards of Oregon" (M.A., School of Music, University of Oregon, 1966) is based on these records.Processing Note :
Collection processed by Molly Taylor, 1984; and Tanya Parlet, 2013.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing.
Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.Additional Reference Guides :
Paper finding aid with additional information is available in Special Collections & University Archives.
Detailed Description of the Collection