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Bradbury, William Batchelder (06 October 1816–07 January 1868), music teacher, composer, and publisher, was born in York County, Maine, the son of David Bradbury and Sophia Chase. When Bradbury was fourteen years old the family moved to Boston, where William began the study of harmony and decided to become a professional musician. He attended the Boston Academy of Music, sang in ...

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Carr, Benjamin (12 September 1768–24 May 1831), composer, organist, and music publisher, was born in Holborn, England, the son of Joseph Carr, the owner of a music store in London, and Mary Jordan. Born into a musical family, Carr studied music with Samuel Arnold, a well-known opera composer, and Charles Wesley, an organist and composer of Methodist hymns. In addition to singing in concerts, Carr was involved with the London musical stage and wrote an opera, ...

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Dreyfus, Max (01 April 1874–12 May 1964), music publisher, songwriter, and arranger, was born in Kuppenheim, near Baden, Germany, the son of Elias Dreyfus and Amelia Esther Hertz, farmers. As a child, he studied piano in Baden. In 1888, at age fourteen, Dreyfus emigrated to the United States hoping to find opportunities as a pianist and a composer. He had little luck, so he began to take jobs as a music arranger and worked for several songwriters, including ...

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Engel, Carl (21 July 1883–06 May 1944), composer, editor, and librarian, was born in Paris, France, the son of German parents Joseph C. Engel and Gertrude Seeger. Engel studied music, philosophy, and psychology at the Universities of Strasbourg and Munich. His musical training included individual instruction on the violin and piano and composition with Ludwig Thuille. The Engel family immigrated to the United States in 1905, settling in New York City. Engel quickly affiliated with the city’s young composers and musicians interested in new music and, later, their New Music Society of America, a group dedicated to the performance of American works....

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Fisher, William Arms (27 April 1861–18 December 1948), composer and music editor and publisher, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Luther Paine Fisher and Katharine Bruyn Arms, both from families whose ancestry dated back to colonial Massachusetts. For more than fifty years, Luther Fisher was the owner of an advertising agency. William attended school in nearby Oakland and studied music with John P. Morgan. In 1890 Fisher moved to New York City and began studies in harmony with composer ...

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Hewitt, James ( June 1770–02 August 1827), conductor, composer, and publisher, was born in Dartmoor, England, the son of John Hewitt, a captain in the British navy. (His mother’s name is unknown.) Details of his childhood are sketchy, but sources indicate that he occupied 12 Hyde Street in the Bloomsbury section of London during 1791–1792. Although it is impossible to verify his family’s claim that Hewitt was leader of the King’s Band of Musick, it is known that around this time he was a member of the orchestra at Astley’s Amphitheatre in London, one of the forerunners of the modern circus. In 1790 Hewitt married Louisa Lamb; they had one child, but both mother and child died shortly after the baby’s birth....

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Holyoke, Samuel Adams (15 October 1762–07 February 1820), music educator, tune book compiler, and composer, was born in Boxford, Massachusetts, the son of Elizur Holyoke, a minister, and Hannah Peabody. Samuel came from a distinguished Massachusetts family. His father was the Congregationalist minister in Boxford, where he served for some forty-seven years, and the nephew of Harvard College president Edward Holyoke. Samuel was educated at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and at Harvard College, from which he received a B.A. in 1789....

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Kieffer, Aldine Silliman (01 August 1840–30 November 1904), music publisher, composer, and founder of a singing school system that for generations defined southern gospel music, was born in Saline County, Missouri, the son of Mary Funk and John Kieffer, a singing-school teacher. After his father’s death, Kieffer’s mother took her young son and moved back to the family’s ancestral home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, to a location called Singer’s Glen. There young Kieffer was raised under the influence of his grandfather Joseph Funk, a leading nineteenth-century song publisher. Kieffer grew up in the singing-school tradition, learning his first song when he was but a boy. As a teenager, he worked in his grandfather’s printing plant, where Funk had published the ...

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Read, Daniel (16 November 1757–04 December 1836), composer, tunebook compiler, and merchant, was born in Rehoboth (now Attleboro), Massachusetts, the son of “Captain” Daniel Read and Mary White, farmers. He received only a rudimentary “country school” education (only one quarter, according to his son G. F. H. Read) and gained his musical education from attendance at singing schools. (His older brothers Peter and Joel were singing masters.) He may also have attended singing schools conducted by Andrew Law and ...

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Shaw, Arnold (28 June 1909–26 September 1989), music business executive, composer, and writer, was born Arnold Shukotoff in New York City; his parents were of Russian Jewish extraction. He received his B.A. at the City College of New York in 1929 and his M.A. two years later at Columbia University, both in English literature. In college he played the piano in his combo, the Harmony Collegians, and did some composing, which he continued throughout his life. He taught in the English department of the City College of New York throughout the 1930s, where he was active in the Anti-Fascist Association of the Staffs of the City College, in the Instructional Staff Association, and in the College Teachers Union. During this time, he married Hanna Wiltchik. His leftist political activities led to his being fired, along with about forty others, following an investigation of the Rapp-Coudert Committee of the New York State legislature. Soon he and his wife were divorced, and he changed his surname to Shaw. He was to be married two more times: first to Frances Schillinger; then to Ghita Milgrom, with whom he had a child and who survived him. He had another child from a previous marriage....

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Thompson, Will Lamartine (07 November 1847–20 September 1909), composer and publisher, was born in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, the son of Josiah Thompson and Sarah Jackman. His father was self-educated and worked for a time as a clerk on the wharf in Pittsburgh. He became a successful merchant and, about the time of Will’s birth, moved to East Liverpool, Ohio, where he established the mercantile firm of J. Thompson and Company. Three of his sons, including Will, were to be partners in the firm, and Will also served on the board of directors of the East Liverpool Bank, which his father established in 1873. The Thompson family was highly regarded in the East Liverpool area, and Josiah Thompson was elected to the fifty-eighth (1868), fifty-ninth (1870), and sixtieth (1872) sessions of the Ohio legislature....