Kenneth Pitts papers

Kenneth Pitts papers

Dates: 1922-1970

Collection contains printed vocal songbooks from the early 20th century featuring folk songs and "cowboy tunes," and manuscripts of orchestrations and arrangements done by Pitts, some pertaining to his time in the "Light Crust Doughboys." The collection spans the dates of 1922-1970 and features popular vocal music orchestraited for large and small ensembles.

  • Extent: 9 cartons (9 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Pitts, Kenneth, 1916-2002
  • Call Number: MSS 7895
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; Music Special Collections; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602;
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
The original order of the collection has been retained.
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Kenneth Pitts papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 7895; Kenneth Pitts papers; Music Special Collections; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 7895, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Donated by Kenneth Pitts in 1990.
Acquisition Information
Donated: Kenneth Pitts; 1990.
Subject Terms
Light Crust Doughboys; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Music
Genre / Form
Scores; Songbooks
Processing Information
Processed; Melissa James; June 2011.
Appraisal Information
Popular music of the 19th and 20th centuries (section IV.a.i.3 Music Special Collections Development Policy September 2010).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Pitts (Kenneth) papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Melissa James
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-01-26T04:22-0700
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical history

Kenneth Pitts (circa 1915) is an accomplished musician, teacher, arranger and composer who played for the Light Crust Doughboys band and the Fort Worth Opera orchestra of Texas.

Pitts started studying classical violin as a young teenager, and for a few years after he graduated from high school he worked as a janitor for a church in Fort Worth, Texas, while playing in a small fiddle band for practically nothing.

In 1935, a good friend who was playing with the Light Crust Doughboys from Burrus Mill convinced Pitts to come down for an audition. Because of Pitts' skill in improvising harmonies he got the job, which paid better than he was making as a janitor, and started a long time relationship with music, playing fiddle and occasionally singing baritone with the Doughboys.

Pitts had no formal training in music composition, but he began to write down popular melodies and create accompanying harmonies; this led to trios and quartets for vocal ensembles. From continual experience of writing music for the Light Crust Doughboys, Pitts eventually started arranging for all sizes and sorts of groups. Pitts created most of the arrangements used by the Doughboys, and picked what they would perform for the radio shows.

In 1940 Pitts and a few other members of the band decided to continue their musical training by attending Texas Christian University. After WWII Pitts attained his bachelor’s degree in music education, and began to teach in the Fort Worth public schools. After the Light Crust Doughboys disbanded in 1942, Pitts continued teaching in schools, while at the same time taking on forty-five private students to support his family. Pitts continued on in his education to earn a master’s degree in music education, and spent thirty years playing in the Fort Worth Opera orchestra.

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David Day
Curator - Music Special Collections