5/13 Today in Weird Music History: 1913. American organist, musicologist, and record dealer, William Schwann is born in in Salem Ill.. In 1949 he began publication of the Schwann Record Catalog, a guide to phonograph records in print. The first edition was hand-typed and 26 pages long, listing 674 long-playing records. Started as merely a way to keep track of recordings for his record store, it would become the go-to guide for classical recordings, eventually listing hundreds of thousands of titles. Schwann sold his catalog in in 1976 beginning several changes of ownership. In 2002, the company was purchased at a bankruptcy auction. In 1998, the following was written in his obituary:
“Mr. Schwann’s name has become as synonymous with record collecting as the name of Baedeker is to travel and Bartlett is to quotations.”—Anthony Tommasini, New York Times.