Born: January 27, 1917
Ohio connection: Birth
James Maher, son of James T. and Anna Marie Maher, was born in 1917 in Cleveland, Ohio. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 until 1945. His first job was as a sports writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1934-35, after which he attended Ohio State University. In 1937, he became a publicity assistant for the University’s athletic department, a position which he held until 1940. After working a number of jobs, he moved to New York City, where he worked in the public relations departments of Texaco, Inc., and Cunningham & Walsh, Inc., between 1945 and 1958. He was married to Virginia Maddocks in 1948, but their marriage ended in divorce in 1954. Beginning in 1958, Maher focused on a writing career. He remarried in 1962, to Barbara Joan Judd, and they had a son, Frederick James. Maher’s most significant work was American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900 to 1950, which was published in 1972. It was nominated for a National Book Award in 1972, and won the Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP in 1975. Maher also wrote Chronicles of the Age of the American Palaces and The Distant Music of Summer. He is an author of numerous record album liner notes and wrote a television script for Omnibus in 1954. He has also contributed articles and stories to music journals and popular magazines, such as Saturday Evening Post, Holiday, and Ladies’ Home Journal. James T. Maher passed away in New York City on July 18, 2007.
American Popular Song was nominated for National Book Award in 1972, and won Deems Taylor Award from American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, 1975.