February 21

Forty-Five Women Composers
in Early 20th-Century America

From June 1909 to April 1910, the journal Musical America published a series of forty-five illustrated articles entitled, “Women Composers of America”. This series, well in advance of its time, serves as an excellent resource for research on the presence, impact, and advocacy of American women in music during the early 20th century. Today, we spotlight five composers of particular interest, whose works range from parlor songs to large-form European concert music.

Vol. 10 No. 17 (4 September 1909): 15.

Listen to Helen Hopekirk’s Konzertstück in D minor by clicking here!


Vol. 10 No. 8 (3 July 1909): 15.


Vol. 10 No. 7 (26 June 1909): 15.

Interestingly, one of Anita Owen’s most popular songs, “Sweet Bunch of Daisies”, has over time become a standard of the bluegrass genre, so much so, that many enthusiasts are unaware of its parlor song origins.


Vol. 10 No. 21 (2 October 1909): 17.


Vol. 11 No. 6 (18 December 1909): 21.

Remember, these are just five of the forty-five women featured in this remarkable series!

RIPM search tip: To read all forty-five articles in the series, “Women Composers of America”, access RIPM’s Preservation Series: European and North American Music Periodicals, and in “Advanced Search”, fill in the following fields: Periodical = Musical America (New York, 1898-1899, 1905-1922 [-1964]); Keyword = women composers of america; Year = 1909 to 1910.

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RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

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Posted February 21, 2018 by John Ehrenburg in category "Curios and Chronicles