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IRVING BERLIN!<br>1909 U.S. Library of Congress Copyright Certificate<br>for song co-written by a very young Irving Berlin, uncredited.

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Here is a good historic example of how a song could evolve with several different writers lending a hand over a few years.

Offered here is the original 1909 copyright certificate for the little known song, "Oh, What I Know About You", written by W. Raymond Walker.

But that's just the beginning. The song was later revised by Joseph H. McKeon and Harry M. Piano - their names appear alongside Walker's in published versions of the tune. And that's not the end either.

Another young songwriter, just getting his start in the business, also did a significant revision of the tune - though he was never formally credited. That inexperienced young man's name was Irving Berlin.

Here is a brief excerpt from Chapter One of Charles Hamm's wonderful book, "Irving Berlin -- Songs from the Melting Pot: The Formative Years, 1907-1914" (Oxford University Press):

"In some cases, Berlin's contribution to a song seems to have been more in the nature of tinkering with an already written song than of contributing to the piece in its early stages. W. Raymond Walker tells how Berlin was called in to revise "Oh, What I Know About You" after Walker had written the song in collaboration with Joseph H. McKeon and Harry M. Piano, but even though Walker says that the published song was "a great deal different" from the first version, Berlin's name doesn't appear on the published song."

This is an excellent example of a very early U.S. Copyright certificate - with an interesting history. It bears the impressed seal of the Library of Congress and is hand signed by Assistant Register of Copyrights, Arthur Cusfield. The signature of Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam is preprinted.

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