Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bits & Pieces: Music Fills the Air – and the Scrapbooks

As do most scrapbooks, Sarah Eva Howe's contain bits and pieces that reveal more about her interests. Today we'll look at a few of those random gems – all of them related to music and its importance to the extended Howe family.

1. "Uncle Harry," a Published Composer

Sarah's uncle Richard Henry "Harry" Cost, Jr., wrote both music and lyrics to "Down Where The Daisies Grow." Richards Publishing Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, published the song in 1917, the year Harry turned 41 years old. Several in the family put their own words to familiar tunes, but Harry's is the only original composition I've seen in published form.

In two other blog posts, read more about the gregarious Harry and see a photo taken when he was 6 years old.

2. Sousa's First March?
According to this clipping (source not noted), "Free Lunch Cadets" was John Philip Sousa's first published song. The copyright date, hard to read in the illustration but provided on multiple websites, is 1877.  

Note the sign on the wall: "Saur Krout Lunch To Day." In the 1870s, German immigrants and their descendants made up a significant part of the population in Philadelphia (where the music was published) and Cincinnati (where Sarah's German-descendant Cost ancestors lived). According to online genealogy sites, more of today's Americans  descend from German ancestry than from any other nationality. I wonder if the sign in the drawing is meant to be a derisive jab at German immigrants of that day? Piano sheet music for this march is available free online.

3. Carrollton Glee Club

The Carrollton Glee Club performance program is undated. Because of the listed performers and the pages advertising local businesses, I calculate that the event took place after1890 and before 1920.
Performers in the program include Mrs. (Katherine) Boughner, Miss Coan, Mr. (T. Sanders) Orr, Miss Maxwell, Mr. (W.) Schuerman, Mr. (R.M.) Hiner, and Mr. (W.W.) Masterson. Mr. Schuerman was related to the Howes by marriage, and the rest were no doubt acquainted with the Howes through business, the Carrollton Methodist Episcopal Church, or other affiliations.

 4. Organ Recital at Carrollton First Methodist Church, 1927

An organ recital in Carrollton on March 10, 1927, featured W.E. Pilcher, Jr., representing Henry Pilcher's Sons Organ Company of Louisville. Also performing were violinist Harriett Poynter and vocalist Mrs. J. Gex Williams. Maybe the women were members of Carrollton First Methodist Church.

The history of the organ company goes back several generations to England. To paraphrase information on a website: Henry Pilcher, Sr. of Canterbury apprenticed as an organ builder in London. He arrived in New York in 1832 and established a business in New Jersey. His sons, Henry Pilcher, Jr. and William Pilcher II opened an organ building shop in St. Louis in 1852. During the Civil War era, the firm relocated to Chicago. In 1874, the Pilcher firm once again moved their business to Louisville, Kentucky. The firm built more than 1,800 organs for churches, concert halls, and universities across the country. In 1944 the factory closed and the assets were sold to the M. P. Möller Organ Company of Hagerstown, Maryland. 

5. Miscellaneous
Three more sheet music covers relate either Sarah's interests in music – or maybe, being an artist herself, she appreciated the illustrations. 

"The Fireman's Call" is "respectfully dedicated to the Officers and Members of the Fire Department of Boston." The music is from an opera, "The Maid of Judah," written in 1832.

Stephen Foster's "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair" 
has a publication date of 1854. Here in the Bluegrass State, we know Foster best as the composer of "My Old Kentucky Home."

"Home Run Quick Step" (1861) honors "the members of the Mercantile Base Ball Club of Philadelphia." A clearer image and details are available from the digital collection of the Library of Congress. (From that web page, search for images and details about the Foster piece as well.)


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