A Celebration of Women Writers

"Music In The Woman's Building." by Lena Burton Clarke
Publication: Elliott, Maud Howe, ed. (1854-1948) Art and Handicraft in the Woman's Building of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. Chicago and New York: Rand, McNally & Company, 1894. pp. 165-170.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


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DESIGN FOR BANNER.
MISS DIGBY.
ENGLAND.

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MUSIC IN THE WOMAN'S BUILDING.

FINDING myself appointed chairman of the Committee on Music in the Woman's Building, by Mrs. Potter Palmer, and feeling somewhat overcome at the immense and unexplored field for work that lay before me, it occurred to me that here also might lie the same opportunity for "helping women to help themselves" that has been the underlying motive of all the woman's work of the Columbian Exposition; therefore I submitted, with some hesitation, a little plan for securing amateur music in the Woman's Building to Mr. Theodore Thomas, Musical Director-General. Mr. Thomas found something worthy in the idea, and indorsed my plan heartily, lending me his advice and cooperation, which have proved of inestimable value. After studying the possibilities which lay in my original idea, that of affording a hearing in the Woman's Building for amateurs of distinction, I sent the following circular to all the Lady Managers, asking their sympathy and assistance in their various States:

"Believing that the progress of American women in musical knowledge and experience can not be more simply and effectively shown, the National Committee on Music in the Woman's Building at the Exposition has designed a series of musical illustrations after the following plan, briefly outlined: It is proposed to give semi-monthly concerts in the Woman's Building at Chicago during the six months of the Exposition, at which only women or girls who are amateurs, possessed of talent and a high order of musical ability, and who have been residents of America for at least ten years, will be permitted to appear. The qualifications of any one desiring to take part must first be tested and approved by a jury selected by the Woman's National Committee on Music, and satisfactory to Theodore Thomas, Musical Director of the Exposition. No musical prodigy will be admitted simply as such, nor is the diploma of any college or conservatory either necessary or sufficient. Each candidate will be rated upon her merits, technical proficiency not alone being considered. Permission to appear at


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MOORISH WOMAN PREPARING COUSCOUSSON. ALGERIA.

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FRENCH COLBERT POINT LACE FLOUNCE.
EXHIBITED BY LEFEBURE.
FRANCE.
these concerts will be a mark of high honor, and will confer a lasting distinction, the advantages of which can not be overestimated.

"Minnesota has decided to bestow a medal upon each successful candidate belonging to that State, and it is hoped that other States will follow its example. The concerts are intended to provide a public appearance for those amateurs of distinction who are shut out from the concert-room of the professional, and who, for various reasons, may not wish to appear therein. Quartettes, trios, either vocal or instrumental, choral and orchestral organizations of women will be eligible for examination. The examinations will take place not later than February, 1893, either at Chicago or at several cities in the different States. It is hoped that all candidates for these concerts will communicate with the chairman of the Woman's Board for their State, or with the undersigned, as soon as possible. It is also desired that all women following music as a profession, and wishing to appear in the Woman's Building, will make application to Theodore Thomas, Musical Director of the Exposition.

"The National Committee on Music in the Woman's Building congratulates itself that in the above plan it has the hearty sympathy of Theodore Thomas and of the entire Bureau of Music, and that it finds itself in complete harmony with the broader and more comprehensive scheme of musical illustration as outlined by Mr. Thomas in his first official bulletin, recently issued. It needs but a cordial response and earnest effort on the part of American women to win for their sex such a recognition as the great occasion alone makes possible."


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EMBROIDERED LINEN TOILET TABLE, DRAPERY, XVII CENTURY DESIGN. MADE AT MME. NARISCHKINE'S SCHOOL.
RUSSIA.

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BRONZE GROUP–
"BROTHER AND SISTER."
FRAULEIN FINZELBERG.
GERMANY.

The responses that came to me in return were many and earnest. Few States in the Union failed to appoint advisory committees and pass upon the applicants desirous of availing themselves of this opportunity of being heard in the Woman's Building. Many of these States followed the example set by Minnesota, and awarded diplomas–in one instance a gold medal–to the successful candidates.

The next step for the candidates, after passing the State examination, is to appear before the expert jury in Chicago, appointed by Mr. Thomas. This jury congratulates itself upon calling Mr. Mees of the Exposition orchestra its chairman, while the other members are the well-known musicians, Mrs. Clarence Eddy, Mrs. Bloomfeld Zeisler, and Mr. Burritt.

Owing to the unavoidable delays attendant upon such matters, the first examination by the final jury will not take place until June the 13th, the first concert on June the 15th. If the "médaille d'honneur" to be awarded each successfu1 candidate by Mr. Thomas' expert jury and the National Committee on Music, of which I have the honor to be chairman, prove a stepping-stone toward a larger sphere of usefulness, or a possible means of assisting women in the honorable struggle for independence, I shall feel that my work has been blessed beyond my deepest hopes.

I can not close this brief statement without expressing my sincere appreciation of the interest taken in this work by Mrs. Palmer, to whom I am deeply indebted, as are so many other women, for support and encouragement. My sincere thanks are also due to Mr. George H. Wilson of the Bureau of Music for his unfailing courtesies; and also to Mrs. Theodore Thomas, Mrs. George B. Carpenter, and Mrs. Edward Barbour for similar kindnesses.

LENA BURTON CLARKE.


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EMBROIDERED SCREEN.
GABRIELLE DELESSERT, NEE DE LABORDE.
FRANCE.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the
Celebration of Women Writers.
Initial text entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of volunteer
Mary Mark Ockerbloom.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom