Helen May Butler

Helen May Butler

Birth
Keene, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 16 Jun 1957 (aged 90)
Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Plot Section 15, Lot 43
Memorial ID 30999900 · View Source
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Bandmaster. Born on a farm in Keene, New Hampshire, she moved to Providence, Rhode Island with her family when she was a child. She studied music under Bernard Listerman, concertmaster for the Boston Symphony, and became an accomplished violin and cornet player. Butler became the first woman to have an all female orchestra when she organized the Talma Ladies Orchestra in 1891. In 1898, she directed a traveling military band that performed at concerts across the nation. Their motto was: "Music for the American people, by American composers, played by American girls." The band, dressed in sharp military styled uniforms, performed for President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 and at the Republican National Convention in 1904. Referred to by the media as "The Female Sousa", she was a personal friend of John Philip Sousa and performed on the same bill at concerts with him as well as Giuseppe Creatore, and Patrick Conway. After leaving show business in 1920, she retired to northern Kentucky and later announced herself as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1936 although her campaign was unsuccessful. She married James Herbert Young in 1911 and was also a member of the Eastern Star and the August Willich Relief Corps. She died at her residence in Covington, Kentucky in 1957 when she was 90 years old. Butler was inducted into the Women Band Directors Hall of Fame in 1995. A large hat and a cornet from one of her performances are displayed at an exhibit in the Smithsonian.

Bio by: K Guy


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: K Guy
  • Added: 30 Oct 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 30999900
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Helen May Butler (17 May 1867–16 Jun 1957), Find A Grave Memorial no. 30999900, citing Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .