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    Tin Pan Alley Lyricist, Composer, Actor  





James Henry Burris was born in 1874 in Jackson, TN. He came to New York to seek his fortune as an entertainer. He sang, danced and told jokes in vaudeville, and worked as a songwriter and actor. By 1898, he was already beginning to make a name for himself, and he died on June 3, 1923 in Oxon Hill, MD.

In between, he wrote numerous songs including one of the top ten hits of 1914, Ballin' the Jack.

He performed in several plays, was part of the pioneering Lafayette Players, and was in a number of films including Symbol of the Unconquered directed by the legendary Oscar Micheaux.

He married Florence Dorothy Hampton and had a son, James Henry Burris, Jr. This vaudevillian and Tin Pan Alley musician was also my grandfather.

This site is an attempt to gather information about him in a central place. If you can add anything or fill in some gaps, please let me know.

  1874 - 1923