The Russian-born singer William Namrell arrived in the U.S. in 1901, just months before recording eight cylinders for the Standard Phonographic Company of New York (released later by the Lambert Company). His voice clearly indicates cantorial training, and according to census records he worked as a cantor until at least 1910. By the late 1910s he had redefined himself as an operatic baritone, performing with the Interstate Opera Company of Cleveland, Ohio. Though he eventually changed careers to sell insurance, Namrell appears to have continued singing and teaching until the end of his life; he published a voice-training manual, Namrell’s Practical Vocal Method, in 1939, just one year before his death. Namrell also copyrighted one composition, “Blessed be for ever, the red, white, and blue” (1917), a patriotic call to volunteer for the war with lyrics authored by his wife, Rose.
Listen to William Nemrell's "Rozhinkes mit Mandlen" (Lambert 106, recorded c. 1904)
"The Concert Field." The Billboard, June 16, 1917: 16.
Namrell, William. Namrell's Practical Vocal Method (New York: William Namrell and Jacob Pecker, 1939).
Image from September 1903 Lambert catalog, courtesy of David Giovannoni.