Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Music



First Advisor

Alan L. Spurgeon

Second Advisor

Debra Spurgeon

Third Advisor

Andrew Paney

Relational Format



When examining the historical origins of music education in the United States there exists a gap in the research concerning female music educators. There have been many calls to action by researchers with the aim of focusing research on the contribution of women to music education. This project sought to document details about musical studies and female music educators at one institution of higher learning. The Troy Female Seminary was founded by Emma Hart Willard in 1817 and exists today as an independent secondary school for females (renamed the Emma Willard School in 1895). Relevant books, journal articles, master’s theses, and dissertations were reviewed. Although there have been volumes written about Willard, and her writings are available to read, little published material exists as to the musical studies of her students and the teachers that guided their learning. After reviewing related literature in early American music education and female music educators (ca. 1850–1920), two names of female music educators at the school, Miss Angelica Gilbert and Faustina Hasse Hodge (1820–1895), emerged. More information was needed to adequately answer the research questions of the project. Two investigations at the school archives in Troy, New York, produced information about female and male music educators, how music was explored as a discipline in early female education, and music examinations given each year for graduating students. Piano study and group study have been a part of the curriculum of the school since its opening in 1820, however musical study quickly expanded to include harp, voice, and guitar lessons. The school was host to The Seminary Conservatory, a program led by Miss Marion Sim from 1894–1905. With the addition of the conservatory faculty to the staff at Tory Female Seminary, music education grew to include harmony, counterpoint, vocal sight-reading, composition, and other courses. An investigation of an alumnae publication documented that sixty-four alumnae of the Troy Female Seminary (from 1824 through 1872) were music educators for some part of their lives. Information about other influential music educators at the school and conservatory is presented.



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