Women in the Music Business (1916)
In an effort to gather more context for my next writing project on women and patronage of music in the 20th century, I have been browsing through old issues of Musical America.
Among the photographs included some striking and almost daring images of women, portrayed in a way that is so modern, so bold, and so daring, they stand out among the others.
These are women of business, making their way through the difficult world of the music industry and following their artistic passions. Women's history in music is said to be hidden. Yet, women's history in music can shine through the areas of music business that have yet to be highlighted.
One of the earliest magazines devoted specifically to classical music, Musical America holds a wealth of information on the culture of music in the United States at the turn of the century. Founded in 1898 the weekly issues are FULL of information from all cities across the United States and include announcements of concerts, stories of performer's lives, and issues of music in higher education as well as private musical instruction.
Here, for example, is a column on the business manager of Portland, Oregon's Symphony Orchestra. In this interview during her visit to New York, Mrs. Tait explains how she manages her orchestra. But she also talks about how she conducts outreach to the younger community in the Portland region through educational events and involvement of children.
Here is a full page on feminist beliefs held by men and women in the music industry, featuring couples who balance their musical careers.
|Vol. XXIV, No. 4, May 27, 1916, p. 3|
The articles may highlight what was considered important to the journalists but as I was flipping through the pages, I could not help but notice that the advertisements found in the margins also reveal an interesting facet for the history of women in music. Here is an advertisement for insurance against fraudulent bookings of artists. Catherine A. Bamman quotes:
"To my Patrons:
YOUR PROTECTION is mine. Have you ever had an 'unfortunate experience' in booking some artist? If so you will be interested to know that no artist or organization under my direction has ever paid me one dollar of advance money, or one cent that was not directly earned by commissions."
|Catherine A. Bamman|
Note that she is offering a business service in the music industry. She is also a business woman.
Soloists hiring out their talent are seen advertising their performance engagements through their managers. Although most advertisements seem to have included a portrait of the performer, there are occasional adds with only a name. Not all, but a good number of managers for these women were also women.
|Mariska Aldrich, Mezzo-Contralto,|
Season 1916-17 Now Booking
Manager: Annie Friedberg
|Hanna Butler, Soprano|
|Florence Austin, America's Violinis|
Third Tour of Main, 1916
|Grace Kerns, Soprano|
Management: Haensel & Johns, NY
|Astrid Ydén, Swedish Harpist|
Manager: Winton & Livingston, NY
|Dora Becker, American Violinist|
Manager: Regina Armstrong, NY
|Enrichetta Onelli, Soprano|
Management: Foster & Foster, NY
|Povla Frisch, Soprano|
Management: Florence L. Pease, NY