Women In American Music, Page 2


This is a continuation of the September, 2002 Feature, if you missed page one, check the link at the end of this page or use this link.


In part one of this issue, we looked at the development of popular music by women composers from Colonial times to 1915. We pick up that same year and note that by this time, socially little has changed for women in America. The right to vote has still not been extended to women and most women were either barred from many professions or entry into them was extremely difficult. It would take the upheaval of a world war to initiate major changes in America and once those changes began, things changed rapidly. American women continued to turn to music as a profession in the early 20th century. In spite of that, there still existed a huge segregation of participation in the music industry. Women were still mainly involved in the performance (mostly as singers) and education aspects while the composition and instrumentalist areas were dominated by men. Those segregation lines would continue well into the 1940's and beyond with few women being admitted to major orchestras until modern times (and even still, there are some holdouts).


After the first world war, things improved and we saw more women in the composing and song writing industry with published works and acclaimed as songwriters. After 1920, things really ramped up with the advent of the blues and jazz and many women performers and songwriters came on the scene and were very successful. For decades women have dominated the music industry in the song performance area and have advanced considerably in the song writing and composing arenas though men still hold an advantage. At least now it is not a stranglehold.


Let's continue our survey of women's compositions from 1915 on into the 20's.

Always Sweethearts


Music by: Ada Koppitz Harsch
Lyrics by: Harsch
Cover artist: unattributed photo


This song could well have been included in last month's issue of songs about aging for it speaks directly to the heart on the issue of sweethearts growing old together and holding their love for each other through all time. After a rather uneventful, even a little clumsy introduction this song moves into a beautiful and tender melody with a lovely lyrical sentiment;


Sweet-heart years have num-bered ma-ny
Since we pledged our love be-neath the old oak tree
Sweet-hearts, al-ways sweet-hearts,
Sweet-hearts we'll al-ways be
(see our lyrics link below for the complete lyrics)

Ada Koppitz Harsch wrote at least one other work we can locate, the Troopers, a march that is sometimes played today by marching bands. Otherwise, we get a chilling blank page when searching for her on the net and find absolutely no mention of her in any of our references. Chalk up yet another loss to our heritage and our next poster child for women's music.



Listen to and see this 1915 love song(scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version




The World Is Hungry For A Little Bit Of Love


Music by: Carolyn Ayres Turner
Lyrics by: Turner
Cover artist: unsigned

By 1915 the world was looking grim, the clouds of war were looming over Erope and headed towards America. Leave it to a woman to see the need for a change in the world's attitude and Turner has done a fine job of giving us a wonderful musical sentiment. The song opens with a wonderfully expressive verse that is languid and exudes care and love. The chorus is quite lovely and through the use of some modulations and liberal arpeggiation of chords, Turner shows her compositional and lyrical skill.


Carolyn Ayers Turner has also faded into obscurity. The Indiana state archives has a 1926 photo taken at the Indiana State fair that has Ayres-Turner in it but that is all we've been able to locate about her.


Hear and see this song(SCORCH format)

listen to MIDI version




The Star Of The East


Music by: Amanda Kennedy
Lyrics by: George Cooper
Cover artist: unknown


This song was actually originally published in 1883 as a piano solo reverie titled the Star Of The Sea (scorch format) and we featured it in our March, 2001 issue, Songs of the Sea. That work was a hugely successful one that time and for a number of years thereafter. For some reason, almost 40 years later, Kennedy dusted the work off and reissued it with this new title with lyrics by George Cooper. Perhaps Kennedy felt that in the darkness of the war, turning to God and the hope that the "star of the East" gave men 2000 years before was important. Or, maybe like some other composers before and after, she simply wanted to generate some cash from a proven war-horse work. Regardless of reason, musically this song is identical to the 1883 work. All that is different is the addition of these lyrics and some repeats. Dressed up in a new cover with a new name, I hope this work was successful for her and Cooper. A very ornate work and one that clearly carries it's 1880's style, I would be somewhat surprised if it was very successful.


Amanda Kennedy had a successful career as a composer, unusual during the period when she flourished. Her greatest hit was Star Of The Sea (1883), but she also wrote a number of other works such as the Adrienne Polka (1885), Beyond the Stars (1883) and I'll Sleep 'Neath the Soft Grassy Turf also published in 1883. In spite of her popularity and the wide spread publication of her work, finding information about her is a struggle.


Listen to and see this great work Printable! (scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version




Just Like The Rose


Music by:Ethel Bridges
Lyrics by:Harold Cool, Dorothy Terriss
Cover artist: unknown

By 1919, America had seen the end of the first world war and American women were struggling for more personal freedom and the vote. The 19th amendment to the Constitution had been adopted by a joint resolution of Congress and sent to the states for ratification. (It was ratified in 1920)
America's music was changing too, the fox trot and jazz eras were coming and our music became less naive and began to show a more urbane and cosmopolitan in nature. This fine work by a successful female songwriting team (with the interjection of a male lyricist) represents music that is on the cusp of the changes we saw from the Victorian era to the jazz age. Still a bit reserved, but less so; still reserved in tempo, lyrics and performance yet beginning to show a bit of a jazz age-fox trot abandon. The cover image is still firmly grounded in the Victorian age, but soon all that will change and women depicted on sheet music will be very different indeed.


Ethel Bridges (1879 - 1951) Bridges greatest collaboration was with the lyricist Dorothy Terriss (Theodora Morse )with whom she wrote several other songs; Hawaiian Lullaby (MIDI) (1919); Beautiful Hawaiian Love (1920); Ching a Ling’s Jazz Bazaar, (1920) with Howard Johnson; Whispering and Hawaiian Lullaby, 1919. Among her other works are Soldier's Life (1941) with lyricist Tom Woodburn. With so many best selling works to her credit, you would think that she would rate mention in more than a few reference volumes about American popular music yet I could find no mention of her beyond song titles in the over 30 reference works I have. What a slap in the face!


Hear this great old song Print it! (scorch format)

listen to MIDI version



Love Bird


Music by: Mary Earl & Ted Fiorito
Lyrics by: Earl & Fiorito
Cover artist: Wohlman


A work by Mary Earl may well have been the first true popular song that I learned to sing. In 4th grade, my teacher, Mrs. Forward taught us Beautiful Ohio, (MIDI) the song which in 1989 became the official state song of Ohio. That song has always stuck with me and it's dreamy waltz style was something that many of us from Ohio felt captured the heart of our beautiful state. Mrs. Forward, by the way, was the source of inspiration and the original batch of sheet music that became ParlorSongs.com (see our "about" history). Earl also wrote several other state oriented songs including Dreamy Alabama. (MIDI)


This work is unlike her state songs but similar is some respects. It has a dreamy yet energetic quality and shows much complexity and musical skill. Her use of staccato, sforzandos and tempo changes all combine to make this song a good example of the songcrafters art in 1921. A really interesting opening leads to an arpeggiated verse with a sort of slinking quality to it, a bit like sneaking in the shadows and sharing a secret with the love bird. The verse gives way to a more flowing chorus with an outpouring of love and emotion for a sweetheart who is away and dearly missed.


Mary Earl (1862-1932). Back in 1998, I said; "After researchingMary Earl , I'm wondering exactly what does a woman composer have to do to merit mention as an important, even unimportant, songwriter in America? Again, we have a successful composer who wrote a number of popular works who has been virtually snubbed by compilers of American music history. In addition to Love Bird, Dreamy Alabama and Beautiful Ohio (Both MIDI) Earl also wrote My sweetheart is somewhere in France (1917). I hope that someone, somewhere with the resources can correct these grievous oversights and capture the lost heritage of these fine composers and songwriters before it is gone forever."

Someone did! One of our helpful readers, David Meyers from Columbus Ohio's Columbus Senior Musicians Hall Of Fame, sent us a kind note identifying the "real" Mary earl. Mary Earl was a pen name for Robert A. "Bobo" King (b. Sept. 20, 1862 New York, NY, d. April 13, 1932 New York, NY) Nee: Robert Keiser At only age six, Robert was already taking piano lessons. He took a job in Ditson's music store as a young boy. A little later, Leo Feist, the Tin Pan Alley publisher, hired the younster, and before long, he was writing pop songs. In 1903, he had his very first hit song with "Anona".

King was one of those truly prolific composers whose output is not counted.
He wrote songs under his own name, under pseudonyms (very often a feminine
name), and even anonymously! As a result, there is now no way to estimate
his total output.

During WW1, King, like other composers, wrote inspirational war songs. Among them, we find: Lafayette, We Hear You Calling and When the Boys Come Home.

In 1918, he went to work for Shapiro-Bernstein Music Publishers under a
contract to produce 4 songs per month. Two of the songs he composed under
this contract were big hits: the 1918 Beautiful Ohio, (Midi) with lyric by Ballard Smith and his 1919 Dreamy Alabama, (Midi) words and lyric by King. ( both published under the pseudonym of Mary Earl.)

Some of the songs that are directly traceable to King are: Beautiful Hawaii, In Old Manila, Isle Of Paradise, Hawaiian Smiles, I Ain't Nobody's Darling, Why DiId I Kiss That Girl, Just Like a Rainbow, Apple Blossoms, I Scream, You Scream, Ain't My Baby Grand and Moonlight on the Colorado.

During the course of his career, he also composed various concert pieces
including Gavottes; Polkas; Marches, and Waltzes. (many thanks to David for this information, see his Columbus (Ohio) Musicians site at: http://seniormusicians.homestead.com/CSMHOF.html )

Hear this great old song

Listen to MIDI version



When We Were In Sweetheart Land


Music by: H.J. Tandler
Lyrics by: J. May Jacobs
Cover artist: Griffith

Regardless of what may have been happening socially or politically, the waltz still endured (endures) as a wonderful basis for a ballad and for love songs. Tandler and Jacobs have created a beautiful one for us that takes us back to nostalgic times. It's a guess as to the sex of H.J. Tandler but I'd bet it was a she. Use of initials was also a frequent practice by women composers. Of course, we may never know for Tandler is also a ghost of music past but I have been able to locate reference to some other songs (s)he wrote including On The Shores of Aloha Land (1923); When Twilight Comes, I'm Thinking of You (1926). Of course J. May Jacobs is a complete write off, no mention, no listings no nothing. What was I thinking when I thought I could find information about her?

Enjoy this rare old song Printable sheet music! (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version



Faded Love Letters


Music by: Luella Lockwood Moore
Lyrics by: Richard W. Pascoe
Cover artist: Roat

As we near the end of this month's feature, Faded Love Letters seems appropriate. For all the love, adulation, success and popularity all of these women songwriters enjoyed during the golden age of American song, it is all faded and lost, like the letters and love that Luella Moore has created this song for. It seems all for naught and perhaps the lyrics of this song could just as well relate to the lost care and heritage that these talented composers and songwriters left for us. It seems shameful that history has not returned the favor and has carelessly cast aside their names and efforts.


Luella Lockwood Moore (Born 1864, Pontiac, MI; died November 1927, Detroit). Usually referred to as Mrs. Luella Lockwood Moore in the press, this highly respected Michigan composer was the daughter of Timothy Lockwood, a popular music composer of the Civil War era. Her Nov. 21, 1927 obituary said that she "never received any conventional music education, but as a child she played in the churches of Pontiac after learning the hymns by ear from her mother." In 1915 the Detroit Symphony Orchestra presented Moore's orchestral suite, "My Lady's Boudoir," at one of their Wednesday night programs. Moore was the first Detroit composer ever to be so honored. By then she had several popular instrumentals and ballads to her credit. She was married to George Frederick Moore II, a principal stockholder of Edison-Moore Wholesale Dry Goods Merchants. They had a son, George Frederick Moore III, and a daughter, Ruth. Her husband preceded her in death by 30 years. She then lived with her son at 1129 Atkinson Ave., Detroit until his death in 1926. In November of the following year, she suffered a three-day illness and passed away in this home. She was survived by a brother, Baron Lockwood, of Sault St. Marie, MI, and a grandson, Jack Wiant, of Detroit. She was buried in Detroit's Elmwood Cemetery..

Her published works include. Montana Anna.,1909; Paprika "Hot Stuff," March Two-Step; 1909; That Auto Ought to Go, 1909; Arcadia, Intermezzo, 1910; Snowflakes, A Novelette, 1910; Unspoken Words, A Melody for Piano, 1910; This World Would Be A Lonesome Land,Without You, Dear, 1911; Laddie, A True Blue, 1914; Love's Eternity, 1915; Faded Love Letters (of Mine), 1922

A special thank you to Nora Hulse for providing this information to us about the composer. Nora is an accomplished performer and recording artist. She is a pianist who specializes in Ragtime work by women composers. For more information, visit her site at: http://www.nora.hulse.com/ . Nora has also teamed up with Nan Bostick , another writer and researcher of women composers to write a number of articles about women composers during the Tin Pan Alley Days. Check out their latest at, http://home.earthlink.net/~ephemeralist/ . We appreciate their help on this issue and others in the past.

Enjoy this vintage song Print this sheet music. (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version



Three O'Clock In The Morning


Music by: Julian Robledo
Lyrics by: Dorothy Terriss
Cover artist: unknown

For the final work in this, one of our largest issues ever, I've chosen one of the greatest and more lasting song hits by a golden age woman songwriter. And thankfully, one whom we know something about. With this then, I feel I can end this issue on a note of success and hope. This song was first published as a piano only work in New Orleans in 1918. Terris added lyrics to it and the completed song appeared in The finale of The Greenwich Village Follies of 1921 and became an instant hit. The song was recorded first by Frank Crummit and then by Paul Whiteman. The Whiteman recording was a multi-million seller as was the sheet music. Judy Garland sang it in the 1943 film, Presenting Lily Mars and it appeared in several other movies including The Eddie Duchin Story in 1956.


Dorothy Terriss (1890 - 1953) also often known as Theodora Morse, was born in White Plains New York in 1890. There are conflicting reports in several sources regarding her name. Probably the most reliable source; American Women Songwriters by Virginia Grattan states she was born Terris. Other sources say Terris was a pseudonym. Those sources offer no other indication of her maiden name so I'm inclined to believe Grattan's version. However, later information, see below, has shown Grattan to be wrong. Terris later married Theodore Morse and wrote under the name of Theodora Morse. She also wrote using the name Dolly Morse and D.A. Esrom (Morse backwards). She was one of American popular music's finest lyricists and contributed to many of her husband's songs. Terriss & Morse were one of the earliest Tin Pan Alley husband-wife songwriting teams. Theodora not only wrote with her husband, but also collaborated with other composers. Though her work helped with her husband's success, her most successful songs were not with her husband, but with others. Some of those successes were: Siboney, with music by Ernesto Leucuona and her most famous work, Three O'Clock in the Morning, (Scorch format) with Julian Robeldo and the beautiful waltz song, Wonderful One in collaboration with jazz great, Paul Whiteman. Terriss also wrote many Hawaiian themed songs and was the lyricist for the great 1917 Morse song, Hail, Hail The Gang's All Here. In April of 2003, I heard from one of Theodora's relatives, Teddy Furst Martin who is Morse's granddaughter. Martin offered a few corrections that are very helpful.

Martin tells us that Morse was actually born in Brooklyn, NY in 1883, not 1890, and thather maiden name was Alfreda Theodora Strandberg. She married Theodore Morse on March 7, 1907. Ms. Martin said that "Dada", as she called her, was quite a strong and independent woman and a role model for her. Martin lived with Morse from 1942 till 1950.

Enjoy this vintage hit song (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version



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