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Carrie Jacobs Bond

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Biography

Born: August 11, 1862; Janesville, WI   Died: December 28, 1946; Glendale, CA  
Carrie Jacobs Bond is generally considered America's first great woman composer of popular songs, a sort of female counterpart to Stephen Foster. She was also a gifted singer, painter, and music publisher.

At the age of four, young Carrie Jacobs could play on the piano virtually any tune she heard. She studied piano as a child and teen with C.G. Titcomb and blind composer J.W. Bischoff, but was forced to abandon musical instruction in her
Read more late teens after her father's death and the family's subsequent destitution.

At 18 she married E.J. Smith and soon gave birth to a son, Frederic. The marriage was a failure, but a second one in 1887, to Dr. Frank Lewis Bond, provided Carrie with financial and emotional stability over the next seven years, a time the couple lived idyllically in Iron City, MI. Her first manuscripts date to this period: When Church Is Out (her first surviving song), was written in 1887, though not published for a decade. 1895 would be a fateful year for Carrie Bond, in both good and bad ways: her first published songs appeared -- Is Molly Dead? and Mother's Cradle Song -- and her husband died from injuries suffered in a fall. That same year she resettled in Chicago with her son, now nine years old. She took in boarders and continued writing songs to eke out a living, producing such memorable efforts as Have You Seen My Kittie? and The Bird Song, both from 1899.

She soon founded a music publishing house, the Bond Shop, a business she managed with the help of her son, who quit school at 17 to join her. Over the next decade Bond produced some of her finest songs, including the two most popular, I Love You Truly (1901) and A Perfect Day (1910).

By the early '20s, Bond had become a national figure for both her songs and vocal talents. She had even sung at the White House for two presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and Warren Harding. But by now she had been forced to move her publishing house to Hollywood, CA, owing to declining health. In 1932 her son Frederic, himself in poor health, committed suicide. Bond continued writing songs in the 1930s and '40s, turning out such efforts as My Mother's Voice (1942). She died of a heart attack at the age of 84. Read less

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