James Maher: 90, Historian of Popular Song

Historians in the News

James Maher, a writer and historian who exerted a vast influence on the field of music and cultural criticism, died July 18 at a Manhattan nursing home. He was 90.

Maher was best known for his contributions to Alec Wilder's "American Popular Song," a classic of musical scholarship, and for his prominence in the 2001 Ken Burns documentary "Jazz."

Maher began his career as a journalist in his native Cleveland, covering sports for the Plain Dealer in 1934. While a student at Ohio State University, he met Benny Goodman for the first time, albeit casually; the two later became friends.

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