Collection: McWatters-Tyson Collection

Arthur McWatters (1871-1963) grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, and returned there throughout his life to hunt and fish in the area. McWatters taught piano and organ in Saginaw as a young man, and advertised himself as a “tenor balladist” with several compositions to his name. In the mid-1890s McWatters and three friends went to New York to seek careers as entertainers. Around 1900, he and Grace Tyson, who later became his wife, appeared together as McWatters & Tyson. They were a duo who sang, danced, and did comic skits, with Arthur playing guitar, banjo, and piano. In 1913-14 McWatters & Tyson toured South Africa and London, England. At that time Grace had more name recognition of the two, with her being touted as “the actress whose eyes are insured for £5000.” They continued performing in an active tour schedule until the mid-1920s. Grace died in 1942 at around age sixty. Arthur retired from the stage and managed a chain of movie theaters around Freeport, Long Island, where they had been living. Arthur McWatters died at age ninety-two in 1963.

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