In Memoriam: Guy Waterman

By Bill Mitchell

The obituary column in the February 15, 2000 Los Angeles Times devoted a 21-line paragraph to Guy Waterman, 67, "an outdoor writer whose books included Wilderness Ethics." His name may be unfamiliar to you, but in the mid-1950s, he contributed two significant articles on ragtime ("Ragtime: a Survey," and "Joplin's Late Rags") to The Record Changer, a magazine devoted to jazz and jazz recordings. These were subsequently reprinted in The Art of Jazz, edited by Martin T. Williams in 1959. Another of his articles ("Ragtime") appeared in Jazz, by Nat Hentoff and Albert McCarthy. This perceptive analysis was reprinted in John Edward Hasse's 1985 book, Ragtime.

Nothing of all this was mentioned in the Times article, which focused principally on his nature writings. In recent years, he had been interested in environmentalism, mountain climbing, and farming. The Watermans' Vermont farmhouse was without electricity, plumbing, or central heating.

Waterman worked his way through college as a jazz pianist. He spent the 1950s in Washington, D.C., where he was an economist and legislative assistant. He was also a speechwriter for three U.S. presidents.

Quite a versatile career!

John T. Carney's Original Rags for Download

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