Subject of
Williams, Bert, American, 1874 - 1922
Composed by
Muir, Lewis F., American, 1884 - 1915
Written by
Tracey, William G., American, 1893 - 1957
Published by
J. Fred Helf Company, American
Owned by
McDonald, Vernon Sugg, American, 1906 - 1982
Sugg, Mary Elizabeth, American, 1839 - 1915
ink on paper
H x W: 13 1/2 × 10 3/16 in. (34.3 × 25.9 cm)
Sheet music for the song Play That Barber Shop Chord. The front cover of the sheet music features an image of a man in blackface wearing a tuxedo and top hat. The man is set against a background of music bars and notes. On the top of the front cover, red and black type reads: [PLAY THAT / BARBER SHOP CHORD]. Above and below the image of the man, black type reads: [PROMINENTLY FEATURED BY / BERT WILLIAMS / Words by / WM. TRACEY / Music by / LEWIS F. MUIR]. At the bottom of the front cover there is a logo for the publisher that reads: [J. Fred Helf Company / 136 West 37th St. N.Y. City / Successor to Helf & Hager Company]. Underneath the logo the number 6 appears in black ink. The inside cover of the sheet music contains music bars and notes printed in black in for a song titled: [Betsy Ross]. The interior of the sheet music contains three pages printed in black ink for the song Play That Barber Shop Chord. The back cover features sheet music in blue ink for a song titled: [My Love Is Greater Than The World].
Objects depicting racist and/or stereotypical imagery or language may be offensive and disturbing, but the NMAAHC aims to include them in the Collection to present and preserve the historical context in which they were created and used. Objects of this type provide an important historical record from which to study and evaluate racism.
Place collected
Sonora, Tuolumne County, California, United States, North and Central America
Place printed
New York City, New York County, New York, United States, North and Central America
Documents and Published Materials-Sheet music
Racist and Stereotypical Objects
sheet music
Minstrel (Music)
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Sylvia Alden Roberts
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
Public domain
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at

Share this page