Julius Bledsoe was born in Waco around 1897 and attended Bishop College in Marshall. He took voice lessons while studying medicine at Columbia University in the early 1920s and made his professional debut at New York's Aeolian Hall in 1924. Three years later, Bledsoe appeared in the role of Joe in the original production of the classic musical Show Boat. A critic from the New York Morning Telegraph described him as "a singer who can pick the heart right out of your body—if you don’t look out." More»

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Portrait of Julius Bledsoe. Image courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.