Born: Sep­tem­ber 18, 1892, Up­shur Coun­ty, Tex­as.

Died: Au­gust 19, 1940, Bay­lor Hos­pi­tal, Dall­as, Tex­as.

Buried: Laur­ell Land Cem­e­te­ry, Dall­as, Tex­as.

Stamps’ fa­ther, W. O. Stamps, was a lum­ber­man and some­time state leg­is­lat­or. As a young teen­ag­er, Vir­gil at­tend­ed the Up­shur Coun­ty Sing­ing Con­ven­tion and fell in love with quar­tet sing­ing. In 1907, he at­tend­ed a sing­ing school run by R. M. Mor­gan. From 1911 to 1914, he taught sing­ing schools, while con­tin­u­ing to work at the fam­i­ly store in Ore City, Tex­as. In 1914, he com­posed his first song—“Man Be­hind the Plow”—and sold it for ten cents a co­py. En­cour­aged by his suc­cess, he went to work for a mu­sic com­pa­ny that year, and con­tin­ued his mu­sic­al stu­dies.

In 1917, Stamps moved to At­lan­ta, Georg­ia, to work for ano­ther mu­sic com­pa­ny, and in 1918, to Law­rence­burg, Ten­nes­see. He re­turned to Tex­as in 1919, set­tling in Timpson, then in Jack­son­ville, where he opened a branch of­fice for his em­ploy­er. In 1924, he found­ed the V. O. Stamps Mu­sic Com­pa­ny, and pub­lished his first vol­ume, Harbor Bells. In 1926, J. R. Bax­ter, Jr., be­came as­so­ci­ate­d with the Stamps concern; in 1927, the com­pa­ny changed its name to the Stamps-Bax­ter Mu­sic Com­pa­ny. With­in two years, the firm moved its head­quar­ters to Dallas, Texas, and opened an office in Chat­tanoo­ga, Ten­nes­see.

For the first few years, Stamps-Baxter had its books print­ed in Dal­ton, Georg­ia, but in 1934 de­cid­ed to be­gin print­ing them it­self. By 1936, the com­pa­ny moved to larg­er quar­ters, and was known as the Stamps-Bax­ter Mu­sic and Print­ing Com­pa­ny. At the time, it was said to be larg­est print­ing con­cern in the world de­vot­ed to Gos­pel mu­sic.

Stamps was al­so known as the found­er of the Stamps Quar­tet, a Gos­pel sing­ing group, which in 1936 be­gan broad­cast­ing in Dallas, Texas, on ra­dio sta­tion KRLD. In 1938 and 1939, the quar­tet ran all-night sing­ing con­ven­tions in in lo­ca­tions such as the Cotton Bowl of the State Fair Park, and the Dal­las Sport­a­tor­i­um. The 1939 event ran from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., and was broad­cast for near­ly eight straight hours.

At the time of his death, Stamps was su­per­vis­ing over a do­zen quar­tets sing­ing on var­i­ous ra­dio sta­tions, was ed­it­ing the month­ly Gospel Mu­sic News, and was pres­i­dent of the Tex­as State Sing­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. He event­u­al­ly be­came a mem­ber of the Tex­as Mu­sic Hall of Fame, and—in at least the sec­u­lar world—is perhaps re­mem­bered for his arrangement of the music to “When the Saints Go March­ing In,” in the Starlit Crown (Dal­las, Tex­as: Stamps-Baxter Mu­sic Co., 1937), number l8.



  1. At Sunset I’m Going Home
  2. Don’t Forget to Pray
  3. He Bore It All
  4. My Pray­er