Ragtime is a musical form that reached its height of popularity from 1900 - 1920.
Ernest Hogan grew up in the Shake Rag District of Bowling Green, Kentucky in the 1860's and 1870's is credited with coining the term "ragtime." As a teen, he joined a traveling minstrel show, where he honed his musical and comedic talents. His first big hit, which you are about to hear, was the first of a new genre of music, which he coined "ragtime", in 1895.
It is the first true American form of music, preceding Jazz. It began as a march with syncopated melodies and evolved from there. Since it occurred before the mass popularity of recorded music most of it is preserved on player piano rolls.