Make your own free website on
Biographical Information
Annette Hanshaw (1901-1985)

Pathé Records:
Pathé Actuelle
Pathé Perfect
Apex (Combo Company of Canada)  Although Apex was a separate company from Pathé they traded masters.
Cameo (merged with Pathé in October 1927) and controlled Pathé until they incorporated with Scranton Button Company to form the American Record Company in 1929.
July 28, 1926-May, 1928
Columbia Records and it subsidiaries:
June 12, 1928-September 22, 1931
American Record Corporation:
Perfect (continued until 1938)
August 16,1932-February 3,1934
Maxwell House Showboat (Radio Show) October 6, 1932-September 13, 1934 (101 weeks)
(personal correspondence from John Woodruff)
Camel Caravan (Radio Show) October 2, 1934-July 2, 1935 (39 weeks) 
(personal correspondence from John Woodruff)


Annette Hanshaw’s career in records can be broken down into 3 periods.  The first "early" years were with Pathe’s  labels.   These would include recordings for Actuelle, Perfect, Apex and Cameo labels (after Pathé merged with Cameo in October 1927).  These early recordings would be the among the first electrical recordings that Pathé did.  In the earliest recordings, Pathé didn't even have its own equipment and had to use the facilities of the Apex corporation of Canada.  The first E-2000 series would be some of the simplest "bare bones" songs that Annette did.  (Sutton, Allan and Nauck ,Kurt, American Record Labels and Companies: An Encylopedia-1891-1943)

Secondly, Wally Rose moved Annette over to Columbia Records and its subsidiaries in June of 1928.  Annette would primarily record for Harmony and Velvetone and sometimes her records would show up on the Diva label as well but these would simply be from the same masters as the Harmony recordings.  It has been reported that Wally moved Annette over to Columbia because Pathé was going bankrupt but this was simply not true.  They did reorganize and may have had money problems but Pathé would continue its "Perfect"  label until 1938.  (Sutton, Allan and Nauck,Kurt, American Record Labels and Companies: An Encylopedia-1891-1943)

In fact, Annette would finish out her career on the Perfect label after it was merged with the American Record Company.  The recordings that Annette did for the Harmony and the Velvetone labels would be some of the most prolific and some of the worst recordings that would be made during her career.   Although Columbia would start the electrical recording process with its premiere label in 1925 it would not start its electrical recording for its "dimestore" Harmony and Velvetone labels until 1929.  As if to add insult to injury, Columbia started giving Annette a number of pseudonyms to "hide" her identity from the public.  Although, they thought they could hide her identity from the public it was probably one of the worst kept secrets in the recording business and I have seen trade publications indicating the various recording pseduonyms that Annette would use.   Pseudonyms were a sign of the times and were used by record companies for many, many artists to improve market share.  Annette would record one song and that master tape would be released as "Dot Dare" on one label, "Patsy Young"
on another label and still overseas that same master would show up as "Janet Shaw" or "Ethel Bingham" or "Marion Lee or Betty Lloyd."

From John Woodruff:

In the July issue of "Talking Machine World" it was announced that "Other artists under exclusive contract to the Velvet Tone organization
include Annette Hanshaw", and all of her Velvet Tone sides were released under her own name, except for the recordings where she sang in the
style of Helen Kane; these used the pseudonym "Patsy Young".  Initially, and likely because of her supposed exclusivity with Velvet Tone, her
Harmony (for general release) and Diva (for the W.T. Grant stores) records, which were from the same masters as the Velvet Tone recordings,
were released as by "Gay Ellis" or for the Helen Kane records, by Dot Dare.

However, by early 1929 (Diva) and mid 1930 (Harmony), the use of Gay Ellis and Dot Dare psuedonyms had almost entirely disappeared, and
she was known as just Annette Hanshaw or Patsy Young.  (From January through April 1933 Annette was known as Gay Ellis on the "Clicquot
Club" radio program, probably because she was appearing as herself on "Captain Henry's Showboat" at the same time- (I wonder how many
listeners were fooled?).  All of Annette's records on the Columbia label, Clarion label (except for a few re-releases) and Okeh labels were recorded
under her own name.  The only other psuedonym used on any of Annette's recordings made during the Columbia years were:

1.  Leila Sanford-Ariel British label (one side)
2.  Janet Shaw- Parlophone (New York recordings for a British company) label for 4 sides
3.  Bessie Stewart- British label for a side recorded during the Pathé years
4.  Marion Lee -ARC years
5.  Betty Lloyd -British label
6.  Ethel Bingham-British label
7.  Frances Hopwood- Australian label

(Woodruff-personal correspondence dated November 28, 2000)

An interesting side note to the Helen Kane imitations that Annette did.  When record executives at Victor heard the Helen Kane imitations by Annette they sued Helen Kane for breach of contract because they believed that
Annette was really in fact Helen Kane singing under a pseudonym for another record company.  They believed that Annette sounded so much like Helen Kane they sued her!  Helen Kane is reported as saying that " Annette sounds more like me than I do!"  (From "The Entertainers"-A CBC special broadcast)

The third and final phase of her recording career would be with the American Record Corporation where we start to see Annette showing up on the Banner and Oriole labels starting in August of 1932 and running until February of 1934.  This time was not as prolific as the early years but this was because she was also very heavily into radio.

Annette Hanshaw Interview:  "The Entertainers"

    Annette came from a from a fairly well to do family in New York and she learned how to play the piano and ukulele at an early age.  From John Woodruff:

Annette's family was more middle class rather than well to do,  Annette's father Frank Hanshaw was a clerk and then a saleman until she was 13, tried farming, and then ran a succession of small guest houses and hotels (particularly noted for their dining facilities presided over by Mrs. Hanshaw) with mixed success.  At the time of his death when Annette was 25, Mr. Hanshaw was the manager of a businessman's club, and his estate was reportedly negligible.

Reportably Annette  was self taught.  Her father would teach her a few chords and she would take it from there.  (Quote from Annette: The Entertainers)  She seemed to have the knack for singing as her mother told that even at 16 months old she could sing the choruses of at least twenty poplular tunes of the day.  Annette gave her mother the credit for making her a successful artist.  Annette would later remember that at the age of 3 her mother had her do her first public recital on a chair in the parlor.  A lollypop was her reward for singing "The man in the moon".  Even before she was 15 she was offered two musical sholarships but turned them down in favor of studying art.  She had no designs on a musical career but did learn how to play the piano and the ukulele well enough to accompany herself.  Her father had several roadhouses in upstate New York where he encouraged her to sing to the guests.  It was also at this time that her father set  her up with her own record shop, "The Melody Shop".   She could listen to the songs of the day and practice her singing for the guests at her father's parties. (The Entertainers)  It was at one of these parties that she was discovered at the tender age of 24 by the music director of Pathe’s records.  The executive, a Mr. Herman Rose,  heard her singing and convinced her she had talent.

From John Woodruff:  Herman Rose has been described as "an A and R man from ...Pathé", the musical director of Pathé records", "record producer", and later "in charge of the recording laboratories of [Velvet Tone] and "recording manager of [Velvet Tone]."  His other involvements (i.e. not associated with Annette) in the recording industry seem to tend toward the technical rather than the artistic side.  I have never seen any authoritative statements on how much he had to do with the musical content (e.g. selections, arrangements, choice of accompanists) of any of Annette's recordings, other than his encouragment of her continuing use of "that's all" to end them.

Mr. Rose was a remarkable man and was probably the reason for her whole career.  He saw a talent for singing and set up Annette for her first audition with Pathé.  He later became her manager and then her husband.   He first met her at 24 and married her 3 years later when Annette was only 28 on June 12, 1929.  Such devotion can only be described as love because the talent that was arranged  for hear reads as a who’s who of jazz in the late twenties.  Notwithstnading John's comments about "hard evidence" about how much he had in the arrangements, I don't think it was simply by chance that on Annette's  first record she recorded with Red Nichols and Miff Mole!    He discovered her, he became her manager and then he married her!  And what a job her did for her!  Lanny Ross would later say about Wally "that he was always there for her, at every one of her recordings" (The Enterntainers).  She was probably scared to death.  On her first test pressing for Pathé you can hear her say, "I'm not doing so well, I am all a quivering".  Imagine how she felt when she had to make her first record with Red Nichols and Miff Mole!  But even on some of her first recordings something was apparent.  She could mimic, she could laugh, she could carry a tune with personality and she could become part of the band. In essence she could carry her voice as another musical instrument.  Tommy Dorsey once said of her that she was a "musician’s singer".  Maybe it was because of her shyness, her character, her desire to get the tune just right that they ended up doing 4 or 5 takes on many tunes.  Nevertheless, the musicians loved her.  At the time there were many good jazz musicians but very few good jazz  singers.  To have the musicians love her was probably her greatest asset.

When Pathe records went into reorganization (merged with Cameo Records in 1928-(Sutton and Kauck))in late 1928, Mr. Rose set her up with Columbia and it many subsidiaries.  This was a strange period for her as she could have been  very popular but because Columbia had contracts with many different stores she recorded for each store under a different pseudonym.  She was called Patsy Young, Dot Dare, Gay Ellis  each name for a different company.  It was in the period of recording for Columbia that Annette really blossomed artistically and  got to sing with  some of the greatest musicians of the day.  There was Red Nichols, Miff Mole, Adrian Rollini, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden and the Dorsey Brothers.  In one stint the Dorsey Brothers played with Bing Crosby in early 1929 and then just a few months later played with Annette.  It is somewhat ironic that Bing and Annette did not play together as both recordings were done in New York.

From John Woodruff:  It should not come as a great surprise that Bing Crosby and Annette Hanshaw did not play together [on recordings], since in
her entire recording career Annette only appeared on two records ('Say it isn't So') and ('Happy Days are Here Again') with other vocalists or vocal
groups, and  on neither did she actually sing with them (i.e. in duet or ensemble singing).  Likewise, among her hundreds of know radio perfomances, all were solo except with Lanny Ross twice, Scrappy Lambert once, and the Show Boat Four 7 times.  It seems clear that she prefered
and/or it was preferred tha she sing alone.

As her recordings became more popular she started blossoming out into radio in the late twenties.  Her first big show was the Van Heusen Radio Program on CBS.  Then  she did an 101 week (Woodruff) stint with the “Maxwell House Showboat” radio show and then a 39 week  (Woodruff) stint with the “Camel Caravan” with the Casa Loma Orchestra.  On the Maxwell House Showboat she recorded her only  video.  It is a short 10 minute film where she sings, "We just couldn't say goodbye."   Had she the desire she probably could have been  more famous, perhaps more famous than Bing Crosby.  She had all the same musicians.  But she tired of show business and except for a few radio shows retired in the late thirties to settle into married life with Mr. Herman Rose.  After Mr. Rose died she began volunteering at a St. Agnes Church  in New York City  where she had many friends (Roy Evans-1993).

Below is a list of radio appearances that she is known to have been in.  This archive comes from Preston Meeks.  Again if you know of any additional performances please email Preston at

          Annette Hanshaw's Radio Appearances (in sequential order)
Dates Radio Show Appearances
3-10-1926 Local Radio Show on WGHB, Clearwater, Florida.  She was 24 at the time.
11-10-1927 Guest on the "Cliquot Club Eskimo"  show with Harry Reser  (this was her first National Broadcast)
1-10-1928 Guest appearance on the "Everyready Hour"
August 13, 1928 (woodruff) Guest appearance on the "O'Cedar Mop" program
Probably Spring of 1929 (woodruff) Guest appearance on the "Reid Features" program
3-6-1929 (woodruff) Van Heusen Radio Program on CBS-She appeared as a regular each Wednesday night (except two weeks when she was ill) until her last show on May 29,1929. (Meeks-Personal correspondence)
Annette was a regular on the Van Heusen Radio Program during 3 different intervals: 

1.  March 6-May 29, 1929
2.  September 18-November 20, 1930
3.  April 17-June 19, 1931(woodruff)

There are references to her specific performances on April 3,1929, April 10,1929, April 17, 1929,April 24, 1929, May 1,1929, May 8,1929,May 15, 1929,May 22, 1929, and her last performance on May 29,1929. (Meeks)

February 19, 1931 (woodruff) Appeared on the "Radio Roundup"
March 17,1931 Van Heusen Radio Program (made a cameo appearance)
April -June 19, 1931(woodruff) Bond Sunshine Hour on the same night (Friday) that she was appearing on the Van Heusen Program  but at a different time and on a different radio station. (woodruff)
October 21,1931 Appeared on the "Vitality Hour"
October 1932 Appeared on the "Maxwell House Showboat"
November 1932 Appeared on the "Maxwell House Showboat"
January 1933 Name of the "Maxwell House Showboat"  changes to "Captain Henry's Showboat"  She appeared on this show each Thursday  until her last program on September 13, 1934.  There are references to her specific shows on October 12, 1933, January 11, 1934, July 19, 1934 and her final show on September 13, 1934.
September 10,1934 Signed on the "Rexal Magic Hour"  (no  record of any performances)
October 2, 1934 Camel Caravan Show-Annette signed on the Glenn Gray's Casa Loma Orhcestra to appear twice per week.  (tuesdays and thursday).  The first formal show was on December 6,1934, although there is reference to a perfoormance on November 6,1934.  She quit the "Camel Caravan", her last show being October 15,1935.  There are specific  references to her shows on November 19,1934,November 26,1934,December 19,1934, February 20,1935, March 5,1935,March 7,1935, March 12, 1935, March 12, 1935, March 14, 1935, March 19,1935,  March 21, 1935, March 26, 1935, March 28,1935, April 4, 1935 and May   21, 1935 
March 15,1937 Appeared on the "Norge All-Star Varieties Show"  with Ray Noble's Orchestra
March 1937 Reported to have appeared on the "Coca Cola Refreshment Time"  Program
August 2,1937 Appeared in the "Chevrolet Musical Moments Program" transcriptions
August 3, 1937 Reported to have aired her own radio program
September 1937 Reported to have appeared in a few of the 26 "Desoto Car Specials" transcriptions
October 1937 Reported to have appeared in a few of the 26 "Desoto Car Specials" transcriptions
December 6, 1937 Appeared in the "Chevrolet Musical Moments Program" transcriptions

Below is an article from Radioland magazine from 1935.  It is courtesy of Preston Meeks.  It has the results of the poll it took of its readers.  They overwhelmingly chose Annette as their favorite singer and "Showboat" as their favorite show.