Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



In the three decades before the Civil War, immigrants from the Northern United States flooded into New Orleans in search of new economic opportunities. These newcomers brought to the Southern city many elements of Northern life, such as Protestant churches, English-language newspapers, public schools, and distinct political views. They also brought with them musical practices specific to that region: Protestant church music, amateur choral societies, instrumental concerts, music publication, and English-language opera all flourished from the late 1830s until the late 1850s. This dissertation situates the musical practices of New Orleans during the decades preceding the Civil War within the larger context of American music history. Through an examination of new archival evidence, it demonstrates how these “Americans”—the term used at the time to distinguish the city’s English-speaking residents from its French-speaking inhabitants—recreated a musical culture similar to those they left behind in the North. These New Orleans residents participated in the burgeoning national system of sheet music publication, introduced musical instruction into the city’s newly minted public schools, and developed a performance tradition of sacred concert music similar to those in Boston and New York. Examining these aspects of New Orleans’s musical past offers important lessons about the nature of American musical identity in the antebellum era and sheds new light on the far-reaching influence of Northern culture in the age of Jacksonian democracy and westward expansion.



Committee Chair

Boutwell, Brett



Included in

Musicology Commons