Julius Weiss was a German-born American music professor, best known for being Scott Joplin's "first piano teacher." He is credited with inspiring and influencing Joplin, considered "the king of ragtime," during his early years. He taught Joplin music and other subjects for a number of years, beginning when Joplin was eleven years old, and did so free of cost. Joplin's parents, former slaves, had no way to pay for private lessons. One writer refers to Weiss as "legendary," since little was known about him until 60 years after Joplin's death. Joplin's widow recalls that in her husband's "later years (1907 to 1917), he sent his teacher, by then ill and poor, gifts of money from time to time," until "the older man died.