The Old Home Ain’t What It Used To Be



Title: The Old Home Ain’t What It Used To Be (companion Song to the “Old Folks at Home”), Song & Chorus By: C.A. White, Published By: White-Smith Music Publishing Co., Location: Boston, Year: 1872

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                White, Smith & Company (est. 1874) was a music publishing firm in Boston, Massachusetts. It issued sheet music and published industry journals, notably the monthly Folio1881_Charles_A_White_Boston_Folio_v20_no8_detail

The business began in 1867 as a partnership between Charles A. White, William F. Smith, and J. Frank Perry when it was known as White, Smith, & Perry. White was a composer, the author of over a thousand songs. He was among the earliest songwriters to establish a successful music publishing company. Many of his songs became popular; his first hit was “Put Me in My Little Bed” (1870). The firm owed a portion of its success to sales of White’s compositions, but other sheet music published by them was also successful: “Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me”, published in 1869, sold nearly 200,000 copies. In the early 1870s, the firm also published the earliest works of James Bland, who would become one of the most popular songwriters of the late 19th century.

Perry left in 1874 to establish his own publishing company, after which White and Smith’s firm became known as White, Smith, & Co. The company continued to prosper, in 1882 publishing White’s most successful composition, “Marguerite”, which would sell over a million copies through the following two decades. By 1890, White, Smith had expanded to nine branch offices and become one of the largest music publishing firms in the country. When Smith died in June 1891, White bought his interest in the company and made his son, Daniel L. White, his partner. Charles White died in 1897 at which time the company was incorporated under the name of White-Smith Music Publishing Company with Daniel White as president. The founder’s grandson, also named Charles A. White, became the company president in August 1919 on the death of Daniel White, his father. According to historian H. E. Johnson, in 1944 the firm “sold its catalogue to Edwin H. Morris & Co. of New York … but continued in the business of music printing as White, Smith Printing Co. at 40 Winchester Street until 1973.”