The 8th Triennial Porter-Campbell Symposium

19th-Century American Women Musicians


Monday, October 31st, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
* Please note that this event starts at 2:00 pm and not at 1:00 as was incorrectly listed in the CU Presents ad.

Imig Music Building, Room C-199
CU Boulder campus

Visiting scholars, Candace Bailey from North Carolina Central University, Petra Meyer-Frazier from University of Denver, and Bethany McLemore from University of Texas at Austin will present our next Porter-Campbell Symposium entitled, "19th-Century American Women Musicians."  


Binder’s Volumes and Women of Color in Antebellum South: The Case of the Johnson Sisters
Recent studies of antebellum binders’ volumes have focused attention on the musical world of elite white women. What is less known is how music functioned in the lives of women not members of the upper class. To that end, this presentation examines the music collection of Anna Johnson (1814-1922), a free woman of color from Mississippi. Johnson owned at least three binders of sheet music (one for piano, the others for voice), studied piano with at least three different teachers, and went to school in New Orleans.

cbaileyCandace Bailey, Professor of Musicology at North Carolina Central University, specializes in women and music in the US South during the 19th century and keyboard music in England during the 17th century. Her most recent publications are as co-editor of Beyond Boundaries: Music Circulation in Early Modern Britain, and Music and the Southern Belle (2010). Dr. Bailey is currently working on two books: Women, Music, and the Performance of Gentility in the Mid-19th Century South, and Charleston Belles Abroad: The Music Collections of Harriet Lowndes, Henrietta Aiken, and Louisa Rebecca McCord. She is past president of NABMSA and current chair of the SAM Committee on Diversity.


From the UK to the USA, Bound Volumes as an International Practice:
Expanding Our Exploration of a Revealing Domestic Artifact

Throughout the nineteenth century, many young women in the United States created a display memento of her years of music study by collecting her best sheet music into a bound, sometimes lavishly embellished, volume of music. The volumes provides us with a remarkable window into personal histories, domestic life, and countless cultural and political suppositions typical of their time. This practice was not restricted to the United States, however. This paper will compare two recently acquired volumes from England to contemporary American binders.

Petra Meyer-FrazierPetra Meyer-Frazier specializes in nineteenthcentury popular music in the United States. Dr. Frazier’s publication Bound Music Unbound Women (College Music Society Press) delves into women’s collections of popular parlor songs from sociological, musicological, and biographical perspectives. With active interests also in regional history and the connections between brain research and music, Dr. Frazier regularly presents papers both nationally and internationally. When she is not researching or teaching, she is busy with three teenagers.


Binding Songs, Binding Whiteness:
The Role of Women’s Musical Curation in Negotiating Racial Identity

Musical curation provided an artistic outlet for amateur women performers in the nineteenth-century U.S. and their resulting collections, called binders’ volumes, provide a valuable record of their musical practices. This presentation builds on a material feminist framework to argue that through the curation of musical materials, women actively participated in the construction and performance of not only their gender and class status, but also their racial identities.

BethanyCBethany McLemore is a PhD candidate and Assistant Instructor in Musicology at The University of Texas at Austin. Her primary research interests center around questions of performance practice of nineteenth-century popular song and the interactions of the body, music, and contemporary notions of femininity. She has presented at AMS, SAM, IASPM, Feminist Theory and Music, and 19th- Century Studies Association conferences, and at the North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music. Her presentation comes from her dissertation “Bound to Sing: Sounding Material Feminisms in Nineteenth-Century American Domestic Performance.”