Bing's Tacoma birthplace Bing and his sister, Mary Rose

Bing was born Harry Lillis Crosby on May 3, 1903, in a house that his father, Harry Lowe Crosby, built at 1112 North J Street, Tacoma, Washington. Bing had no birth certificate, and the actual date of his birth was shrouded in mystery until after his death. Even Bing's immediate family assigned at least 3 different years for his birth. For example, Ted Crosby's 1937 biography of his younger brother never actually lists Bing's birthdate, but from the ages he assigned to Bing throughout the book Ted implies that Bing was born the first week of May in 1901. This early birth is 9 months after Ted's (July 30, 1900). This seems most improbable if you consider that typical human females do not regain their fertility for at least 6 weeks following childbirth. The early May 1901 birth would require that Bing be born at least a month premature, but there is no account of any such premature birth. Meanwhile, archival documents of Bing's high school and college years at Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington, indicate that Ted's placement of many events in Bing's school days is at least a year before their actual occurrence.

During most of his lifetime Bing celebrated May 2, 1904 as his birthdate. After Bing's death in 1977 a Tacoma priest disclosed Roman Catholic Church baptismal records that revealed Bing's actual birthdate. Contemporary newspaper reports of Bing's birth also confirm the date as May 3, 1903:

The Tacoma Daily News Wednesday, May 6, 1903:
"Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Crosby are receiving congratulations on the arrival of a son at their household May 3."

Tacoma Daily Ledger, Thursday May 7, 1903:
"A little son arrived May 3 in the home of Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Crosby".

Apparently the family began celebrating May 2nd as Bing's birthday in deference to his sister, Mary Rose, who was also born on May 3 in 1906.

Bing had 4 brothers and 2 sisters:
Everett, Bing, Larry, Ted, Bob,
Catherine, Mother Kate, Mary Rose

Back row:
Everett (1896-1966), Bing (1903-77), Larry (1895-1975), Ted (1900-73), Bob (1913-93)

Front row:
Catherine (1904-72), mother Kate [Harrigan] (1873-1964), Mary Rose (1906-90); father Harry (1871-1950) had already died.

Everett served for many years as Bing's manager.

Seeking work, Bing's family moved from Tacoma to Spokane, Washington, in 1906 where in the third grade Bing developed a friendship with an older neighbor boy, Valentine Hobart. The two boys shared an interest in a newspaper comic strip called The Bingville Bugle, and Bing would plead with Valentine to read him the strip. "Bing! Bing! Bing!" Valentine began calling Harry "Bingo from Bingville." Eventually the appellation was shortened to "Bing" and was adopted by Bing's other friends and teachers.

Who were Bing's childhood musical influences?
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