The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Nineteenth-Century American Music Scores
Collection Number: M361
Dates: ca. 1845 - 1874
Volume: 20 items
Nineteenth-century American sheet music took many forms, including ballads, Civil War songs, marches, minstrel songs, secular music, and even vocal instruction. Thematically, most of these scores concern either love, religion, or the Civil War. The samples of scores in this collection are indicative of the popular themes in music during the nineteenth century in the United States. The popularity of sheet music reached its height in the mid-nineteenth century, and the success and proliferation of music publishing houses is also evident during this same period. The prominent publishing houses were based in large cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and New Orleans.
The copyright dates attributed to particular pieces vary, as copyright laws and standards were not established until 1871. As a result, the dates listed on the music scores may or may not reflect the actual date of printing.
Composers and Lyricists
Information on the composers and lyricists of scores in this collection is limited, but the brief biographies provided below offer insight into the lives and activities of some of them.
Franz Abt (Dec. 22, 1819 - Mar. 31, 1885), a German composer, was born in Saxony and died in Wiesbaden. He studied at the University of Leipzig and received instruction from Thomasschule. He served as Kapellmeister in Beinburg, Zurich, and Brunswick, and he wrote over 500 pieces, including "When the Swallows Homeward Fly," "I Will Go to the Spring," "Il Sogno; A Happy Dream," "O Ye Tears! O Mes Pleurs!," and "Whit! Whit! I Wander Not!."
Mark Frederick Bigney (1817-1886) was the lyricist for such musical works as Stephen Glover's "The Southron's Watchword." Other lyrical works by Bigney include "The Stars of our Banner" and "The White Man's Banner."
Joseph Edward Carpenter (1813-1885) was a lyricist for Stephen Glover's "Depths of the Ocean," "Do They Think of Me at Home," "Goodbye at the Door," and "I've a Home in the Valley."
Barry Cornwall was the lyricist for "The Little Voice," "The Leveller," "The Owl," "Golden Tressed Adelaide," "The Sea," and others.
Daniel Decatur Emmett (Oct. 29, 1815 - June 28, 1904) lived in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Emmett worked in print shops in Ohio before joining the army as a fifer and drummer in Newport Barracks, Kentucky and Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. In 1843, he organized the Virginia Minstrels. In 1895, he sang his most famous song,"Dixie," with the Al Fields Minstrels on a tour of the United States. Other works attributed to Emmett include "The Black Brigade: Plantation Song and Dance," "Bull Dog an' de Baby," "Greenbacks! New Song for the Times," "High Daddy," "Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel," and "Three Cheers for Jack Morgan! A Camp Song."
Stephen Glover (1813 - Dec. 7, 1870), lived in London and had a career as an English teacher and as a composer. Over 1300 works are attributed to him, including popular songs, duets, and salon music for piano, among other styles of music. Some of Glover's works include: "Topsy's Song," "Mother Can this Glory Be?," "I've a Home in the Valley," and "The Goodbye at the Door."
W. L. Hobbs arranged "I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land" by Daniel D. Emmett.
Charles H. Jarvis (Dec. 20, 1837 - Feb. 25, 1895), American pianist and teacher, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The son of Philadelphia pianist Charles W. Jarvis (1809-1871), the junior Jarvis began performing at the age of seven. He was a soloist with the New York Philharmonic Society and the Thomas Orchestra.
John Leland (1754-1841) was born in Gafton, Massachusetts and died in North Adams, Massachusetts. A hymnist, he wrote the lyrics for "Christians, If your Hearts are Warm."
Richard Milburn (ca. 1845-1900) of Philadelphia is credited with the tune for "Listen to the Mocking Bird." He later became a barber and continued singing in church choirs. Septimus Winner, the composer of the song, heard Milburn whistle the tune on a street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the time of its publication, Winner attributed the tune to Milburn.
Sigismund Neukomm (Chevalier von), (July 10, 1778 - April 3, 1858) was born in Salzburg and died in Paris, but he also lived in London. He had a distinguished career, and was a student of Weissauer and M. Haydn. During his career he was Kapellmeister and director of the Emperor's German Theatre, pianist for Talleyrand, wrote the requiem for Louis XVI, and received the Cross of Legion of Honor from Louis XVII. Among the over 1000 works attributed to him are a piano concerto, a symphony, organ and piano pieces, oratorios, masses, choral music, opera, chamber music, military marches, and others.
Henry H. Paul was a lyricist, and some of his works include: "Sweet Lillie," "The Forsaken," "Pit and Pat," and "I Thought He Was Jesting for Sure."
William Cunning "W.C." Peters (Mar. 10, 1805 - Apr. 20, 1866) was born in Woodbury, Devon and died in Cincinnati, Ohio. A composer, clarinetist, and music teacher, he became an American music publisher after immigrating to the United States in 1820. He owned several publishing companies in Louisville, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Pittsburg, New York, and St. Louis. His company's inventory included the works of such popular composers as Stephen Glover, Henri Herz, and Vincent Wallace. Unfortunately, the company lost it's entire stock of music and plates in a fire in 1866. W. C. Peters wrote "Beautiful Kathleen, "I Love the Lighted Ball Room," and "I Thought He Was Jesting for Sure" (lyrics by Henry H. Paul).
Thomas B. Prendergast (1829 or 1830-1869) composed "Bright Blue Eyes," and the lyrics for "The Negro's Departure, or, Dinah Broom;" "Bonney Eloise." "The Belle of the Mohawk Vale," written by Jack Rogers Thomas with lyricist G. W. Elliott, was dedicated to Prendergast.
Henry Clay Preuss is the author of "I Dream of My Darling, "So Sweetly to Night," "Dream No More, Romance," and lyricist of "Star Spangled Flag of the Free."
F. R. Prohl wrote "O Carry Me Back to the Land of My Birth, or, The Absent One's Request."
Henry Russell (Dec. 24, 1812 - Dec. 8, 1900), born in Sheerness, was a composer. He also performed as a concert singer in the United States in the 1830s and 1840s , and served as the organist for the First Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York. A few of his over eight hundred compositions are: "Woodman, Spare that Tree," "Buffalo Gals," "Cheer, Boys, Cheer," "A Life on the Ocean Wave," and "The Gambler."
Publishing was vital to the sheet music industry, and music-publishing houses specialized in popular sheet music publications throughout the nineteenth century. The summaries below are descriptions of some of the major publishing companies represented in this collection.
Bromberg, Mayo, and Werlein
Mobile, Alabama was the home of one of F. Bromberg & Son Music. It was located on Dauphine Street, and the company stamp is on Green's "The Little Fish" and Cornwall's "The Little Voice." Publishers located in New Orleans included P.P. (Phillip) Werlein & Co. and William T. Mayo, both of which were located on Camp Street. Some sources suggest that Werlein and Mayo were in business together.
Lee & Walker
Julius Lee and William Walker, both former employees of George Willig's publishing company, established Lee & Walker in 1848 in Philadelphia, Pennsylavania,. After the deaths of both Lee and Walker, the company's stock and publications were purchased by Ditson & Co. (1876).
Hall & Son
A musical instrument apprentice, General William Hall of Tarrytown, New York started the William Hall & Son publishing company with his son James F. Hall in 1847.
Firth & Pond
The association between John Firth and Sylvanus Billings Pond at first included General William Hall in the Firth, Hall & Pond publishing company. When Hall left to form his own company in 1847, the name of the New York publishing company changed to Firth, Pond & Co. William Pond, son of S. B. Pond, joined the company in 1850 at the time his father left. Both Firth and Pond eventually started their own publishing companies (Firth, Son & Co. in 1863 and William A. Pond & Co. of Boston ca. 1863).
The Oliver Ditson & Co. music publishing company of Boston, Massachusetts began with Oliver Ditson's employment in Samuel Parker's bookstore. By the mid 1830s, Parker and Ditson began publishing music, but by 1844, Parker had left the company, and Ditson forged ahead in the business. In 1856, John C. Haynes joined Ditson's publishing house, and Charles H. Ditson, the oldest son of Oliver Ditson, joined the company as well. The Ditson Company eventually purchased Firth, Son & Co. and Lee & Walker Company. In 1931, the catalog of the Ditson Co. was sold to Theodore Presser Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Claghorn, Charles E. Biographical Dictionary of American Music. West Nyack, New York: Parker's Publishing Company, 1973.
Duke University, Special Collections, "About Sheet Music," URL: http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/sheetmusic/about.html [accessed April 2003].
Jones, F. O., ed. A Handbook of American Music and Musicians, Containing Biographies of American Musicians and Histories of the Principal Musical Institutions, Firms and Societies. New York: Da Capa Press, 1971.
Latham, Alison, ed. The Oxford Companion to Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Library of Congress, American Memory, Historical Collections for the National Digital Library, URL: http://www.memory.loc.gov/ [accessed April 2003].
Thompson, Oscar, ed. International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1964.
Sadie, Stanley, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd Ed. New York: Grove, 2001.
The collection includes twenty nineteenth-century music scores. Each score is assigned its own folder, and a list of folders is included in the Box and Folder List. The folders are arranged alphabetically by the title of the work. The only exception is that two versions of "Peter's Highland March" and "Vienna March" are located in the same folder, because "Vienna March" is attached to one copy of "Peter's Highland March."
Some, but not all, of the scores have copyright dates and/or the publisher's name. Several of the scores are incomplete, and some such as "Listen to the Mocking Bird" comprise only a small part of the total score.
This collection of music scores would be of interest to researchers of music history and/or music publishing companies in nineteenth-century America. Graphic design is another aspect of the scores that could prompt research.