John Jacob Mountz was a hornist for the University of Illinois Concert Band (1st horn, 1920-1921), the Sousa Band (1923), and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (1933-1941) among others. He graduated from Decatur High School in 1919 and enrolled at the University of Illinois at the Mechanical Engineering College in fall of 1920, where he joined the concert band under A. A. Harding, who placed him on first horn. He played in the University of Illinois Concert Band, and pledged the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity where he earned the nickname Old Man Authority.
Mountz left the University of Illinois without finishing his degree, and moved to Chicago in January of 1923 where he continued studying horn under Mr. DeMare of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and began playing there. In March of the same year, A. A. Harding recommended Mountz to John Philip Sousa, and in September he was invited to join the Sousa Band by band manager Jay Sims. He accepted and toured with the Sousa Band from October of 1923 to March of 1924, and then played at theaters in Richmond, VA, Washington DC, and Chicago.
In 1930 he began playing with the Chicago Civic Opera Company, and earned a collegiate diploma in counterpoint and composition from the American Conservatory of Music. From 1933 to 1941 Mountz played in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. In the off-seasons, he played with a number of ensembles including the National Chamber Orchestra under Rudolph Ganz, Everett Johnson and his Cowboy Band, and finally earned his BS in Education from Washington University in St. Louis. In 1942 he became a machinist, engineer, and draftsman for the war effort at Quality Hardware and Machine Corporation. After the war, he worked as a salesman, continued his graduate education, and then taught math in secondary school until he passed away on November 1, 1967 at the age of 69.
Description: The personal papers of John Jacob Mountz consist of the contents of seven scrapbooks that document his life as a student, musician, and hornist for the University of Illinois Concert Band (1920-21), the Sousa Band (1923), the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (1933-1942), and other ensembles. The collection dates from before his birth in 1898 until his death in November of 1967 and includes photographs, contracts, newspaper clippings, rosters, calendars, diaries, route lists, programs and correspondence, as well as other memorabilia detailing his life as a student at the University of Illinois (Alpha Tau Omega documents, photographs, memorabilia), University of Chicago, George Washington University, and Washington University in St. Louis, a Free Mason, an engineer for the war effort during WWI, and a math teacher. The memorabilia also includes autographed photographs of famous musicians and composers.