|Walter Donaldson was born on February 15, 1893, in New York, New York.
Although his mother was a piano teacher, Donaldson taught himself to play and he began composing music while still in school.
By the start of the first world war, Donaldson had had some success as a composer. During the war he entertained the troops. After the war he returned to composing - again with moderate success until he wrote "My Mammy" with Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young. Sung by Al Jolson, it became a hit. Jolson also sang other Donaldson songs including "Carolina In The Morning" with lyrics by Gus Kahn.
Other songs Donaldson wrote with Kahn became classics including "Yes Sir, That's My Baby", "I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight", and ""Makin' Whoopee!"."