Folk Songs: Rag Peddler

Oh go 'way, man, I can hypnotize disnation, I can shake de earth's foundation wid de Maple Leaf Rag! Oh go 'way, man, just hold yo' breath a minnit, For there's not a stunt that's in it, wid de Maple Leaf Rag!

—Maple Leaf Rag Song (1903) Ragtime began hypnotizing the nation about the time the Gay Nineties became gay, and it disappeared years before the Stanley Steamer and the suffragette. It might still be gone if it were not for the efforts of a Sedalia, Mo., piano peddler named John Stillwell Stark and an entertainer and pianist named...

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