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STAMPS, VIRGIL OLIVER

N. D. Giesenschlag

STAMPS, VIRGIL OLIVER (1892–1940). Virgil Oliver Stamps, gospel singer and promoter, was born in Upshur County, Texas, on September 18, 1892. V. O. Stamps helped make Southern gospel music popular and widely available throughout East Texas and the southern United States. His father, W. O. Stamps, served for a time in the Texas legislature. After attending several music schools, the younger Stamps worked for James D. Vaughan and ran the Vaughan Publishing Company office in Jacksonville, Texas from about 1915 into the 1920s.

In 1924 Stamps opened the V. O. Stamps School of Music in Jacksonville. His friend J. R. Baxter became his business partner, and they changed the name of the company to Stamps–Baxter Music and Printing Company by 1927. The company soon became the country's premier gospel music business. Its activities included songwriting, publishing, and sponsoring musical groups and radio broadcasts. Baxter oversaw the operations east of the Mississippi River, while Stamps moved to Dallas in 1928 and ran the operations in the western United States from his Dallas headquarters.

Stamps–Baxter helped bring gospel music into the mainstream by broadcasting it nationally on radio and by encouraging its performance in public. Stamps and his quartet started a noonday radio program on KRLD radio in Dallas in 1936. The program brought him, the company, and gospel music increasingly into public view. The radio program was so successful that it produced a boom in Stamps–Baxter's publishing operations. Success also attracted the best gospel singers and songwriters to the company, such as the Blackwood Brothers and Albert Brumley.

Stamps died of heart disease in Dallas on August 19, 1940, not long after his success was assured. Thousands attended his funeral at Bethel Temple in Dallas. He was buried in Laurel Land Memorial Park. Stamps was survived by his wife, a daughter, and a son. In 1973 he was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame inducted Stamps in 1997. He has also been honored in the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame as a pioneer of gospel music.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Dallas Morning News, August 20, 1940. Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989). Precious Memories of Virgil O. Stamps (Dallas: Stamps–Baxter Music and Printing Company, 1941). Southern Gospel Music Association, "Virgil Oliver 'V. O.' Stamps 1892–1940" (http://www.sgma.org/inductee_bios/vo_stamps.htm), accessed December 22, 2008.

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Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, N. D. Giesenschlag, "STAMPS, VIRGIL OLIVER," accessed December 16, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fstac.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 12, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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