BALL, ERNEST R. (22 July 1878-3 May 1927), composed many popular songs from 1904-27. Born in Cleveland to Anna (Kocker) and Ernest Adelbert Ball, he studied at the Cleveland Conservatory before moving to New York where he became a vaudeville pianist and traveled throughout the U.S. Later, Litmark Music Publishing House hired him as a demonstrator and staff composer. Ball's first successful composition was "Will You Love Me in December as You Do in May?" which he wrote with Jas. J. Walker, later mayor of New York. He next composed musical scores for Broadway shows, including Barry of Ballymore (1910), The Isle of Dreams (1913), and Heart of Paddy Whack (1914) for Irish tenor Chauncey Olcott, with whom he collaborated. His other collaborators included Geo. Graff, Darl MacBoyle, J. Kiern Brennan, Arthur Penn, Annelu Burns, and David Reed.

Ball composed "Mother Machree," "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," "A Little Bit of Heaven," "Dear Little Boy of Mine," and "Let the Rest of the World Go By." His ballad "Mother Machree" became associated with Irish tenors such as John McCormack. Ball also had a successful touring career as a singer of his own ballads, with his sentimental music appealing to cultured musicians as well as the general public. Ball was a charter member of ASCAP in 1914. While on tour in Santa Ana, Calif., in 1927, he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was married twice. First in 1898 to Jessie Mae Jewett; they had three children: Roland A., Ruth Mary, and Ernest A. His second marriage beginning and ending in 1911 was to Maude Lambert, a vaudeville entertainer. Ball is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.


Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the Ernest R. Ball Papers. WRHS.

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