Skip to main content

J. W. Jenkins' Sons



  • Existence: 1878 - 1997


In 1878 John Woodward Jenkins established Jenkins Music Company in a small space rented from a sewing machine and wall paper shop. His son John Wesley, who began working for his father as a teenager, was largely responsible for its later growth and success, culminating with an April 1932 move to the iconic building at 1217 Walnut Street in downtown Kansas City. The multi-story building contained floors devoted to band instruments, stringed instruments, sheet music, appliances, a printing department, and an elaborate display of pianos. The store also offered private show rooms and an auditorium that seated 250 people.

Seven months after the new store opened, John Wesley was killed in a car accident. He died a millionaire, and his will dispersed more than $30,000 to the YMCA and more than $20,000 to 120 long-time employees. Jenkins Music Company continued to thrive through the mid-1900s, but its success faded in the following decades. It was sold to the Minnesota-based Schmitt Music Company in 1997.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

J. W. Jenkins’ Sons Collection

Identifier: MS-0142
Scope and Contents The J.W. Jenkins’ Sons Collection primarily consists of instructional booklets published by the Jenkins Music Company, dating from the late 1800s to 1970. The collection is divided into four categories. The first group contains instructional materials for beginning piano. The next group is band and orchestra books for beginning to advanced instruction. The third category consists of catalogs of music materials by Jenkins. The final category contains miscellaneous items related to the...
Dates: 1916 - 1970