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Max Morath papers

 Collection 0110-MMC

Max Morath (1926- ) is a ragtime pianist, composer, actor, and author. From 1959 to 1961, Morath wrote, performed, and co-produced 26 half-hour television programs for National Educational Television (NET). The Ragtime Era series showcased the development of the music of that period and brought him national recognition. It was followed by the Turn of the Century series, which dealt with popular music's interaction with the nation's social history. The programs were produced by KRMA in Denver and were seen on the NET network throughout the 1960s. In addition to his television series, Morath made other contributions to NPR and PBS. His papers consist of scripts, general background material, audio recordings, and video recordings.


  • 1959-2006
  • Majority of material found within 1959-1984

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

This collection contains audiovisual materials. Items that cannot be used in the Special Collections reading room or are too fragile for researchers require that a digital copy be made prior to use. If you would like to access these materials, please contact us prior to your visit, so we may determine the proper steps to be taken.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder. Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


3.25 linear Linear Feet (2 record storage boxes; 1 LP box)

30 Tape Reels : quarter inch open reel ; 7 inch

2 Film Reels ; 16mm

4 Videocassettes : 3 VHS; 1 umatic

15 electronic_discs : compact discs

Biographical / Historical

Max Morath was born in Colorado Springs on October 1, 1926. He is best known as a ragtime pianist. In 1959, he began work on a program for NET (the forerunner of PBS) to develop a series on the ragtime era. The 12 part series, The Ragtime Era was distributed nationally and is considered a classic of its genre. In the early 1960's, NET asked Morath to create a follow-up series. This program used music and popular arts to revisit life in American between 1890-1920.

In 1996, he finished work on a master's degree at Columbia University in American Studies. His master's thesis investigates the writer Carrie Jacobs-Bond who wrote "I Love You Truly" and hundreds of other classic early 20th century songs. Morath remained busy at the beginning of the 21st century, traveling all over the world with his one-man show, Max Morath the Ragtime Man.


This collection has been minimally processed. Paper material was placed in acid-free folders. Audio visual material was grouped together by format.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the University of Maryland Libraries in February of 2012 by Max Morath.

Processing Information

This collection is minimally processed. A preliminary inventory is available and is linked in the external documents field.

The Max Morath Papers
Finding Aid created by Joanne Archer.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2021-08-13: Jim Baxter re-wrote the collection abstract.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742