June Music

Eli Whitney

Singing is how the slaves got through the back-breaking, hot, miserable job of picking cotton. Singing got them into a rhythm and took their minds off the work.

 

Robert Fulton

 

John James Audubon

Listen for the songs of the birds!

 

Peter Cooper

Peter Cooper was a Beautiful Dreamer, wasn't he? This Stephen Foster song wasn't written about him, but would have been a popular song in his lifetime as it was written in 1864.

 

William prescott

Harvard's Alma Mater was composed after Prescott graduated, but likely he returned in later years and heard it sung.

 

George Peabody

This hymn was composed the year Peabody died.

 

Mary Lyon

Mount Holyoke College Good Night Song

 

Charles Goodyear

Goodyear would have been 23 years old when this ever-popular song was written--perhaps it brought him comfort when the world was so rough on him?

 

Cyrus McCormick

McCormick, who was the helper of farmers, was 50 years old when Old McDonald Had a Farm was first sung.

 
 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This Christian Children's Hymn was written in 1848 when Emerson was 45 years old. As a minister, he is likely to have joined in singing this popular hymn. He was a lover of nature and often took long walks to think through his sermons.

nathaniel hawthorne

Here is a love song composed by Stephen Foster two years after Hawthorne married. I could see him singing this to his wife. :)

 
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Louis Agassiz

A tribute to Agassiz by Longfellow.

The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz

It was fifty years ago

     In the pleasant month of May,

In the beautiful Pays de Vaud,

     A child in its cradle lay.

And Nature, the old nurse, took

     The child upon her knee,

Saying: "Here is a story-book

     Thy Father has written for thee."

"Come, wander with me," she said,

     "Into regions yet untrod;

And read what is still unread

     In the manuscripts of God."

And he wandered away and away

     With Nature, the dear old nurse,

Who sang to him night and day

     The rhymes of the universe.

And whenever the way seemed long, 

     Or his heart began to fail,

She would sing a more wonderful song, 

     Or tell a more marvellous tale.

So she keeps him still a child,

     And will not let him go,

Though at times his heart beats wild

     For the beautiful Pays de Vaud.

Though at times he hears in his dreams

     The Ranz des Vaches of old,

And the rush of mountain streams

     From glaciers clear and cold;

And the mother at home says, "Hark! 

     For his voice I listen and yearn;

It is growing late and dark,

     And my boy does not return!"

 

Henry Wadsworth Lonfellow

 

George Jones

Not a song, but a look at Boss Tweed's New York.

 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 

Henry David Thoreau

 

Maria Mitchell

The Vassar College Choir sang this song for 70 years.

 

Cyrus W. Field

Just a few years before Field laid the first transatlantic cable in 1858, Jenny Lind--the Swedish Nightingale--under the promotion of P.T. Barnum, was performing in concert halls in the  United States.

 

Elias Howe

I haven't been able to verify if this is the same Elias Howe who invented the sewing machine, but if it is, he also collected and published folk tunes. Here is one of them.

 

Susan B. Anthony

 
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Elizabeth Blackwell

Brave women like Elizabeth 'rose up' and made it possible for all women to do the same! Words from the speeches of Susan B. Anthony:

Rise up!

There shall never be another season of silence.

Deepen your sympathy then convert it to action.

Pray every single second of your life, not on your knees but with your work.

Think your best thoughts,

speak your best words,

do your best work.

There is so much yet to be done.

Rise up!

 

Louisa Alcott

The Hutchinson Family performed in New England. While there is no direct mention of seeing them perform, the Alcott's were very interested in the emancipation of the slaves.