[78-L] Jacob S. Schneider-Part 1

Geoffrey Wheeler dialjazz at verizon.net
Thu Mar 4 14:58:27 PST 2010

I have been randomly going through back Lists of 78-List and came 
across a batch of comments about Jacob S. Schneider on January 12, 
2009. Here is more information about Schneider excerpted from my book 
on Bootleg & Reissue 78s. I have twice tried sending this through, but 
nothing happened. I have thus decided to divide this into two parts, 
with the hope both parts will individually go through because they are 

Long deceased, Jacob S. Schneider belongs to the collector folklore of 
a bygone era, when anyone in records knew who the big dealers were, and 
Schneider was one of the biggest. He was known both for his dealings 
and his ability to put his hands on any record. For years, he was 
located at 128 West 66th Street near what is now Lincoln Center. On the 
front of the building was a sign that read: “Jacob Schneider—Attorney 
at Law.” His secretary at the time was a woman named Doris Rainbow 
whose daughter, a concert pianist, became engaged to collector-record 
producer, Dante Bollettino. After Bolettino started courting Doris 
Rainbow’s daughter, it took quite a while before Schneider granted him 
access to the inner sanctum of records. According to Henry Renard, who 
worked for Schneider from 1949 to 1956, one afternoon as Schneider was 
returning to his office, he saw records being lowered out a window. 
Schneider hurried into his office past his secretary, and into the 
record-storage area and caught Bolettino in the act. That was the end 
of Bolettino’s relationship with Schneider and with Doris Rainbow’s 
daughter. Renard describes the office as being “plush, with carpeting. 
It looked like a law office. You would never know he had records; the 
collection was out of sight. If you went to the bathroom, you would 
then have access to the records. From time to time, Doris would go 
through the auction and collector ads in the jazz magazines, such as 
The Record Changer, and send out post cards asking if they were still 
collecting records. Over the years, she sent out thousands of post 
cards hoping to draw collectors out of the woodwork that still had 
collections Schneider could buy.”

 From time to time, Schneider would also have an auction listing in The 
Record Changer. An eight–page listing in the April 1948 issue [pages 
33-40] note: “I have 20,000 jazz records for sale, all out of print and 
collectors items.” By contrast, a one-inch business-card ad in the 
November 1946 issue claims he has “5000 jazz records for sale or trade 
from my private collection. Also many rare opera singers and opera.” 
Among the artists listed in his 1948 auction ad are: Fred Astaire, 
Louis Armstrong (101), Buster Bailey, Walter Barnes Royal Creoles, 
Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke, Bunny Berigan, Benny Carter, Celestins 
Original Tuxedo Ork., Maurice Chevalier, Russ Colombo, Ida Cox, Wilton 
Crawley, Bing Crosby (more than 200), Dixieland Jug Blowers, Duke 
Ellington (more than 100), Georgia Strutters, Benny Goodman (more than 
200), and ending alphabetically with Lionel Hampton (35). Included were 
a number of Victor test pressings, which may have come from Eli 
Oberstein, who had acquired many Victor and Bluebird test pressings. In 
later ads, he claimed to have 100,000 records for sale.

An undated photograph shows a balding Schneider when he may have been 
in his early 60s. Dressed in slacks and wearing a white short-sleeved 
shirt and clip-on bow tie, he is standing, his right leg partially 
raised and bent at the knee as though he may have one foot on a stool. 
His head is angled slightly leftward and he looks directly at the 
camera. For a moment you think this is a fuller-faced version of New 
York’s former Mayor, Ed Koch. His right arm is extended, the hand 
gripping the edge of a record shelf that is to his immediate right just 
slightly above shoulder level. His left arm leans (gently, we hope) on 
a giant stack of 12-inch 78s piled on a very broad table. Packed 
tightly on the table are more stacks of records, some four or more feet 
high. These appear to be 16-inch transcription discs. Behind him, 
shelving filled with eight levels of 10-inch 78s extends floor to 
ceiling and in depth, as far as the eye can see. Many of the records 
are in original paper sleeves. This is the unimaginable, the Mount 
Everest of collections. Remove Schneider from the scene and all you 
would see are records. Put Schneider back in the picture and you see a 
man barricaded behind thousands of records, but from the look on his 
face you feel he knows every one of them.


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