Title: Darktown Is Out To-Night, Composed By: Will. Marion, Published By: M. Witmark & Sons, Location: New York/Chicago, Year: 1899
William Mercer Cook (January 27, 1869 – July 19, 1944), better known as Will Marion Cook, was an African-American composer and violinist from the United States. Cook was a student of Antonín Dvořák and performed for King George V among others. He is probably best known for his popular songs and Broadway musicals, such as Clorindy, or The Origin of the Cake Walk and In Dahomey
Witmark & Sons was a leading publisher of sheet music for the United States “Tin Pan Alley” music industry.
The firm of Marcus Witmark & Sons was established in New York City in 1886. The father, Marcus Witmark, was the legal head of the company; but from the beginning it was run by his sons Isidore, Julius, and Jay, who were under legal age when the company started (ranging in age from 17 to 14 years old). They started out publishing their own compositions. They were adept at plugging songs, and within a few years were publishing the works of such composers as Victor Herbert, George M. Cohan, Ben Harney and John Walter Bratton.
Witmark originated the practice of giving free “professional copies” of their new music to famous and established singers and bands, which proved so successful an advertising method that it was copied by the rest of the music publishers.
When the International Copyright Law was passed in 1891, Witmark pioneered publishing versions of British music in the United States and arranging for American hits to be published in the UK.