Ragtime had been around for only a few years and, with the publication of his "Maple Leaf Rag" in 1899, Scott Joplin helped to propel its popularity. In the days before mainstream sound recording it was this sheet music which helped Ragtime to move from the seedy bars where it originated into respectable homes and public places - it was a best seller. The Maple Leaf Rag was probably named after the "Maple Leaf Club", one of the clubs where Joplin performed. The Rag was a great success and brought fame and success to its composer, who soon afterwards became known as the "King of Ragtime" and went on to write many more piano rags.
You can download the sheet music and midi and mp3 versions of this piece using the links on the left hand menu.