Recording Pioneers


Daniel DESFOLDES  ("Dan")1892 - 1952   PIONEER    PARENTS    LIFE    NOTES    LABELS    PHOTOS    THANK YOU

PIONEER

Daniel DESFOLDES  ("Dan")1892 - 1952

aka D. Desfoldes, Dan Desfoldes
nationality
occupation
birth 12 June 1892, SWITZERLAND or HUNGARY
baptism
death 13 August 1952, Los Angeles, CA
burial
remark The surname is also spelled as Des Foldes and DesFoldes. Real surname: FREY(?)
marriage 27 June 1917, Manhattan, NY
Eleanor(e) Gisele VEKONY

b. 21 March 1899, New York
d. 4 June 1976, West Covina, Los Angeles, CA

children
  • Jeanne E.

    b. 2 Jan 1919, Baltimore, MD
    d. .. May 1993, Blue Jay, San Bernardino, CA


PARENTS

father ........ FREY

b. ...........
d. ..............

mother ........ FROMMER

b. ...........
d. ............

children
  • Daniel

    b. 12 June 1892, SWITZERLAND or HUNGARY
    d. 13 August 1952, Los Angeles, CA


LIFE



Arrived in the U.S. in 1912(?) (illegible)

We also were told that Daniel used Switzerland as his country of birth, but since his family was from Hungary or Czechoslovakia, that it is more likely he was from there. He came from a large family, but we only met one brother, Eugene Frey (wife's name Magna), who relocated from Europe to the New York area (I believe Brooklyn). We were told he was educated by the Jesuits in Czechoslovakia and spoke 13 languages. When he first arrived in NYC he was hired as a banker. He met my grandmother Eleanor G. Vekony (Hungarian), who was born in the USA in NYC.
'[Daniel] Des Foldes' is a name he created, we never knew his real name, but believe his last name to have been 'Frey'.
(Mrs. Gale Ambur-Stewart in an e-mail to me)

1920 CENSUS (Baltimore (independent city), Maryland):
Danald/Donald Desfoldes (sic) (32y; b. HUNGARY) Manager Factory
Eleanore (21y)
- Jeanne (1y)


Columbia Departments of the Southern Furniture Co. [and] the Main street Furniture Co.
Nearly all these selections are available on Columbia Records. Come and hear them, both vocal and instrumental. We are ready to help you to make this contest a success.
D. DES FOLDES, Manager of Columbia Departments.
(Advertisement in the Richmond Times-Dispatch of 11 March 1921, p. 4)


Daniel DesFoldes, who, as announced in the December [1924] issue of the [Talking Machine] World, has been appointed sales manager of the foreign-record department of the Columbia Phonograph Co., Inc., assumed his new duties the first of the year [1925] and is already working in close co-operation with the Columbia organization in developing this important branch of the business. Mr. DesFoldes is ideally qualified for his new work, for his previous experience in the Columbia Co. consisted exclusively of specialization in the sale of foreign-language record. He was associated with the Columbia Co.'s Cleveland branch for a number of years, and for his excellent work in the foreign-language record division he well deserved the promotion which he received (in: Talking Machine World Vol. 21, No. 1 of 15 Jan 1925).



DAN DES FOLDES IN EUROPE. Daniel Des Foldes, foreign language records sales manager of the Columbia Phonograph Company, Inc., recently left for a vacation in Europe. During his trip he plans to visit France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. While his trip is not for business purposes, we know that Mr. Des Foldes will seek "Atmosphere" for future Foreign Language Records. (in: Presto, of 12 Sep 1925, p. 19)



Daniel Des Foldes (35y)
SS "MAURETANIA"
dep.: 22 Aug 1925, Cherbourg, FRANCE
arr.: 28 Aug 1925, New York
residence: 1819 Biway St, New York, NY


Victor Record Conference. .... The speakers from the Victor Co. were ..... and Daniel Desfoldes, whose interesting treatise of foreign record distribution outlined his experience as head of the foreign record order department (in: Talking Machine World of July 1928, p. 116).


1930 CENSUS (Moorestown, Burlington, NJ, 24 April 1930):
Daniel DESFOLDES (37y) Manager International Dept. // Victor Talking Machine
Eleanore (31y)
- Jeanne (11y)



In 1930 Daniel Desfoldes went to Europe.




Daniel DESFOLDES (40y)
SS "EUROPA"
dep.: 8 June 1930, Southampton, GREAT BRITAIN
arr.: 13 June 1930, New York
residence: Moorestown, NJ


In 1931 he was manager VICTOR U.S. Foreign Division



Daniel DESFOLDES (40y)
+ Eleanor G. DESFOLDES (37y)
SS "MORRO CASTLE"
dep.: 19 Oct 1932, Havana, CUBA
arr.: 22 Oct 1932, New York
residence: Moorestown, Burlington, NJ



Daniel DESFOLDES (46y)
+ Eleanor G. DESFOLDES (37y)
SS "COAMO" (Voyage 265)
dep.: 5 Mar 1936, San Juan, PUERTO RICO
arr.: 9 Mar 1936, New York
residence: 344 Stanwick Road, Moorestown, Burlington, NJ



Daniel DESFOLDES (46y)
SS "NORMANDIE"
dep.: 29 July 1936, Le Havre, FRANCE
arr.: 3 Aug 1936, New York
residence: 344 Stanwick Road, Moorestown, Burlington, NJ



Daniel DES FOLDES (sic) (47y)
+ Eleanor A. (sic) DES FOLDES (37y)
SS "STATENDAM"
dep.: 12 Feb 1937, Port of Spain, TRINIDAD
arr.: 24 Feb 1937, New York
residence: Moorestown, Burlington, NJ



Daniel DES FOLDES (sic) (45y)
SS "ORIENTE"
dep.: 23 June 1937, Havana, CUBA
arr.: 25 June 1937, New York
residence: Moorestown, Burlington, NJ



Daniel DESFOLDES (49y)
+ Eleanor DESFOLDES (40y)
SS "ORIENTE"
dep.: 26 April 1939, Havana, CUBA
arr.: 27 April 1939, New York
residence: Moorestown, Burlington, NJ


(Daniel Desfoldes did not sail. Trip was apparently cancelled at the last moment)
Daniel DESFOLDES (45y)
SS "ORIENTE"
dep.: 19 July 1939, Havana, CUBA
arr.: 22 July 1939, New York
residence: Moorestown, Burlington, NJ


1940 CENSUS (Moorestown, Burlington, NJ, 24 April 1940):
Daniel DESFOLDES (46y) Export Rec. Manager // Record Mfg
Eleanore (41y)




Daniel DES FOLDES (51y)
SS "URUGUAY"
dep.: 11 April 1941, New York (cruise ship)
DesFoldes embarked on 2 May 1941 at Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
arr.: 19 May 1941, New York
residence: 325 E. Oak Ave., Moorestown, Burlington, NJ

Dan Des Foldes, Director, Victor Foreign Department, ca. 1924-1940: Impressions and Directions for Further Research, with a special focus on the comic sketches of the Michael Tokarick Minersville Slovak Orchestra Steve Shapiro, Takoma Park, Maryland, and Walter Maksimovich Dan Des Foldes assumed directorship of Victor Records Foreign Department in New York at the same time as the dawn of electrical recording. Along with colleagues Tetos Demetriades and Alfredo Cibelli, Des Foldes left his particular mark on Victor's A & R (artists and repertoire) during the mid- and late-1920s and the early 1930s. From the minimal indications in Richard K. Spottswood’s Ethnic Music on Records, Des Foldes presence at Victor would appear sporadic, somewhat elusive ... until now. Using documents and recordings from both sides of the Atlantic, this presentation will include a rough outline of Des Foldes’ time at Victor, his likely development of A & R, his writing and collaborating on various Slavic comic sketches, and his field recording trips to Eastern Europe and the Caribbean; and will address changes in and the marketing of musical tastes during his time at Victor in New York, ending at the start of the Second World War. The Michael Tokarick sketches, generally a mixture of English and Slovak, focus on immigrant life in America, married life, prohibition, and gypsies. It is expected that written documentation towards a fuller story of Des Foldes’ work resides in the business files at RCA. By this ARSC presentation, which will include musical examples, the author hopes that others will pursue the fuller story of how A & R developed at Victor during the Des Foldes years.
(session abstract of a talk given by Steve Shapiro on 18 May 2006 at the 40th Annual ARSC Conference in Seattle, Washington.)


NOTES

  • Daniel Desfoldes Busy in New Columbia Post (in: Talking Machine World Vol. 21, No. 1 of 15 Jan 1925)
  • Revolutionizing the Domestic Foriegn Record Field by Dan Des Foldes (in: Talking Machine Journal XXV. 5 of Nov 1928 (p. 32))
  • Dan Des Foldes, Director, Victor Foreign Department ca 1924-1940. Impressions and Directions for Further Research. Talk given by Steve Shapiro on 18 May 2006 at the 40th Annual ARSC Conference in Seattle, Washington.
  • Greek Music Policy under the Dictatorship of General Ioannis Metaxas (1936-1941) by Risto Pekka Pennanen (in: Grapta Poikila I. Papers and monographs of the Finnish Institute at Athens, Vol VIII. Helsinki, 2003)
  • Cuba and its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo by Ned Sublette (p. 444)
  • Dan Des Foldes (Session Supervisor). online Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings. victor.library.ucsb.edu
  • Dan Des Foldes (Composer). online: Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings. victor.library.ucsb.edu
  • Dan Des Foldes (Composer). online: Discography of American Historical Recordings. adp.library.ucsb.edu
  • Advertisement (in: Richmond Times-Dispatch of 11 March 1921, p. 4)
  • Talking Machine World of July 1928, p. 116
  • EMI documents



PHOTOS



THANK YOU


Gale Ambur-Stewart (granddaughter of Daniel Des Foldes)
Steve Shapiro