Musical Geographies of Boston, 1865–1915

a poster :Musical Geographies of Boston, 1865–1915.

The city of Boston, Massachusetts, has played an essential role in the development of North American musical life since at least 1698, when a new edition of the Bay Psalm Book included the first music to be printed and published anywhere on the continent. By the late nineteenth century, Boston was home to such internationally renowned composers as George Whitefield Chadwick, Amy Beach, and Edward MacDowell. The period 1865–1915, from roughly the end of the Civil War through the onset of World War I, witnessed the city’s musical support industries flourishing in equal measure.

This ongoing digital mapping project, a byproduct of research into the life and work of music publisher Arthur P. Schmidt and the composers of the so-called Second New England School, visualizes the manifold musical products and services on offer in the Boston Directory between 1865 and 1915. The maps can help us to answer a historical question so basic that it is easily overlooked: “Who was there?” 

The project thus offers a bird’s-eye view of the city’s music making that is nevertheless finely detailed in the information that it presents to scholars. It joins those of digital historians like Louis K. Epstein and Lincoln Mullen in offering new, flexible means of visualizing the spaces of our musical past.



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Principle Investigator

Derek R. Strykowski
Associate Teaching Professor
Department of Music
University at Buffalo

Research Assistant

Raginee Rajesh Titar
Data Sciences and Applications MPS
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
University at Buffalo