O’Byrne DeWitt & Copley Records


Ellen O’Byrne, born about 1875 in Leitrim emigrated to NY around 1890. She married Dutchman Justus DeWitt in NY and they opened their business in 1900. This was probably the shop at 1360 3rd. Ave. where they conducted their real estate and travel agent business. Music didn’t come until 1916 when Ellen O’Byrne talked Columbia records into recording the Eddie Herborn and John Wheeler, accordion and banjo, records. Soon after that O’Byrne DeWitt started offering recordings of Irish music on their own label.

After Ellen’s death in 1926, her son, Justus Jr. moved the business to Boston at 51 Warren Street, Roxbury. In  the ’20’s Columbia and RCA jumped on the ethnic recording bandwagon; Decca came along in 1934, and the O’Byrne DeWitt business flourished as a travel agent and music shop.

Below are some of the various record labels used by the company. The Copley label came along about 1950 and was used until the store closed for good in 1986.*

The All Ireland and white Copley labels, including the Scottish series, must have been used about 1950 just before the green Copley with the shamrock. Some of the 45 rpm labels in the 1950’s were the Copley shamrock with a blue background.

  1. *O’Byrne DeWitt information and dates. Reference “O’Byrne DeWitt: A Window on Irish Music Recording in America” by Maebh Ni Fhuarthain.

  2. Thanks to Alan Morrisroe for the ‘Irish Music House’ label.