Born: December 14, 1864, Giles County, Tennessee.
Died: February 9, 1941, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
Buried: Mimosa Cemetery, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
James was the son of George W. Vaughan and Eliza Hannah Shores, and husband of Jennie Elizabeth Freemon.
In 1883, he became a music student at the Ruebush-Kieffer Normal School. He later formed a singing quartet with his brothers Charles, John and Will.
He then worked as a teacher, but eventually moved to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, where he founded the James D. Vaughan Music Publishing Company. In 1910, he hit the road with the Southern Gospel Quartet to promote his song books. The move was hugely successful—the company’s sales doubled the next year, to 60,000 volumes.
In 1911, Vaughan formed the Vaughan School of Music. In 1921, he expanded his company with Vaughan Phonograph Records. He later opened branch offices in Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. The manager of the Jacksonville, Texas, office, Virgil O. Stamps, would go on to form the Stamps/Baxter Music Company.
Vaughan was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1997.