Recording Pioneers

Elmer AVERY  1881 - 1958   arrowarrow PIONEER    PARENTS    LIFE    NOTES    LABELS    PHOTOS    THANK YOU


Elmer AVERY  1881 - 1958

aka Elmer Avery, E. Avery
occupation sound engineer
birth 5 May 1880 or 1881, Washington, D.C.
death 20 Jan 1958, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
marriage married on 15 Nov 1904 at Washington D.C.
Annie M. Mcdonald

b. 17 Sep 1884, Washington DC
d. 16 Nov 1944, Los Angeles, CA

  • .............


father Frank Thomas AVERY

b. .... 1852, Washington, D.C.
d. ...........

mother Mary Margaret(?) Moran/Martin/Marten

b. .. Apr 1854, ......., Maryland
d. ...........

marriage they got married on 24 July 1879 at Washington DC
  • Frank

    b. 12 Mar (or Apr) 1880, Washington, D.C.
    d. ..............

  • Elmer

    b. 5 May 1880 or 1881, Washington, D.C.
    d. 20 Jan 1958, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

  • Alice

    b. .. May 1883, Washington, D.C.
    d. ....................

  • Leonard

    b. 31 Mar 1885, Washington, D.C.
    d. .................

  • Edna

    b. 13 Aug 1890, Washington, D.C.
    d. ...................

  • Lula or Lulu

    b. .. Aug 1892, Washington, D.C.
    d. ...................


1900 US CENSUS (8 June 1900, Washington City, DC):
Mary AVERY (46y) (b. .. Apr 1854) widow
- Frank (20y) (b. .. Apr 1880)
- Elmer (18y) (b. .. May 1882 (sic))
- Alice (17y) (b. .. May 1883)
- Leonard (15y) (b. .. Mar 1885)
- Edna (9y) (b. .. Aug 1890)
- Lula (7y) (b. .. Aug 1892)

1910 CENSUS (23 Apr 1910, Washington City, DC):
Elmer AVERY (29y) machinist // private firm
Annie AVERY (25y)

WWI Draft Registration
Elmer AVERY (37y)
Home address: 135 E. St., S.E., Washington DC
born: 5 May 1881, Washington, D.C.
Berliner Gramophone Co., Montreal, CANADA
St Antoine & Lenoir St., Montreal
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Address of nearest relative Annie M. Avery: 9 Lincoln Ave., Montreal, CANADA

Application for Registration (as an American Citizen) to the U.S. Consulate at Montreal, CANADA, dated June 1917. (Title of application is "Application for Registration - Native Citizen")
Elmer AVERY, b. May 5, 1881, Wash. D.C.
father - Frank Thomas AVERY b. Wash. D.C., deceased
"...I last left the U.S. July 10, 1913 arrived Montreal July 12 where I am currently residing for the purpose of Ass't. Sup'rt. (superintendent?) on behalf of Berliner Gramo Co. My legal domicile is Wash. D.C. (135 E. St., S.E.), my temporary address is 2160 Park Ave., Montreal. I am married to Annie McDonald who was b. in Wash. D.C. Sept. 17, 1884, now residing 2160 Park Ave., Montreal, no children...."
Also on this document is a description of Elmer:
5'10", brown eyes, black hair, dark complexion, distinquishing marks - forefinger of left hand cut off at first joint

1921 Compo Company Limited (CANADA)

En avril [1921], Compo obtient une nouvelle charte qui lui permet d'opérer dans tout le Dominion. ... Thomas Nash, vice-président; J. Olmstead, secrétaire; John McWilliams, trésorier ; Fred Friedberg, Elmer Avery et Daniel St. Ive, directeurs. Reginald ...

In March 1921, Herbert quit as vice-president, taking with him to Compo Thomas Nash 1, general manager of His Master's Voice; Reginald Chilvers, sales manager; Daniel St. Eve, director of the pressing factory; Elmer Avery, sound engineer and Henri Miro, musical director. That all of the high-level management staff would leave the largest record company in Canada simultaneously to plunge into the Compo venture, eloquently demonstrated the degree of loyalty that Berliner elicited among his associates.
Sun/Compo: Wasting no time, the eldest Berliner created the new Sun label, with its head office at 210 Adelaide Street West in Toronto. Thomas Nash, who established the formidable HMV network in Canada, became Sun's director and set up Canada Sales Limited, a company that ensured the distribution of Compo products. He signed an agreement with the American company Okeh to release its recordings in Canada under the Sun label. John McWilliams managed the Compo factory at Lachine, while Reginald Chilvers took care of marketing. During the summer, Herbert set up a recording studio in Montréal at 117 Metcalfe Street and in July, launched the Apex label. In April 1922, Compo got a new charter that allowed it to operate in "all the Dominion". The new officers of the company were: Herbert S. Berliner, President; Thomas Nash, Vice-president; J. Olmstead, Secretary; John McWilliams, Treasurer; Fred Friedberg, Elmer Avery and Daniel St. Ive, directors.
(source: The Virtual Gramophone - Canadian Historical Sound Recordings (Library and Archives Canada))

Elmer AVERY (47y)
Annie AVERY (43y)
dep.: 1 Aug 1927, Hong Kong, ASIA
arr.: 25 Aug 1927, San Francisco, CA:
residence: 1248 W. 74 St., Los Angeles, CA

Elmer AVERY (48y)
+ Francis Hill WINTER (25y)
S.S. "CITY OF LOS ANGELES" (Voyage 65)
dep.: 25 Feb 1928, Los Angeles Harbor CA
arr.: 2 Mar 1928, Honolulu, Oahu TH
FHW (b. April 14, 1902 Ashland, OR, married, address Glendale, CA)
EA (b. May 5, 1880 Washington, D.C., married, address Los Angeles, CA)

Elmer AVERY (48y)
+ Francis WINTERS (25y)
dep. Honolulu, HAWAIIAN ISLANDS: 10 Mar 1928
arr. Los Angeles, CA, USA: 16 Mar 1928

1930 CENSUS (3 Apr 1930, Los Angeles City, Los Angeles, CA)
Elmer AVERY (49y) superintendent // Phonograph Records Mfg
Annie AVERY (45y)

Elmer AVERY (49y)
+ Annie AVERY (46y)
SS "AMERICAN LEGION" (left Santos on 27 Apr 1931)
dep. Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL: 29 Apr 1931
arr. New York: 12 May 1931
residence: 1248 W. 74 St., Los Angeles, CA


  • Website: The Virtual Gramophone. Canadian Historical Sound Recordings. by Robert Thérien (music researcher Montreal)
  • L'histoire de l'enrégistrement sonore au Québec et dans le monde 1878-1950 by Robert Thérien (p. 122)
  • Brunswick Records: A Discography of Recordings, 1916-1931. Volume 1: New York Sessions, 1916-1926 (Discographies) by Ross Laird
  • Brunswick Records: A Discography of Recordings, 1916-1931. Volume 2: New York Sessions, 1927-1931 (Discographies) by Ross Laird
  • Brunswick Records: A Discography of Recordings, 1916-1931. Volume 3: Chicago and Regional Sessions (Discographies) by Ross Laird
  • Brunswick Records: A Discography of Recordings, 1916-1931. Volume 4: Other Non-U.S. Recordings & Indexes; Cliftophone & British Brunswick Recordings 1922-1929; Buenos Aires (Argentina) Recordings; European Recordings. by Ross Laird
  • Roll Back the Years by Edward B. Moogk (1975 & 1980)




Photo taken at 18 North Carolina Ave SE (Washington), Frank Avery's address in Boyd's Directory for 1898.
At top of stairs: Elmer and Leonard Avery; Next row Lula and Frank, Jr.
Standing to the left is Margaret Avery Martin (Frank's mother), Edna, Mae (Frank's wife) and Alice


Martha Kelley