Carrie Jacobs-Bond

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1901 front cover of Seven Songs as Unpretentious as the Wild Rose, bearing the imprint of the Bond Shop in Chicago

Carrie Minetta Jacobs-Bond (August 11, 1862 – December 28, 1946) was an American singer, pianist, and songwriter who composed some 175[1] pieces of popular music from the 1890s through the early 1940s.

She is perhaps best remembered for writing the parlor song "I Love You Truly", becoming the first woman to sell one million copies of a song.[2] An enduring favorite as a wedding song, it first appeared in her 1901 collection Seven Songs as Unpretentious as the Wild Rose, along with "Just Awearyin' for You", which was also widely recorded.[3]

Jacobs-Bond's song with the highest number of sales immediately after release was "A Perfect Day" in 1910.[4] A 2009 August 29 NPR documentary on Jacobs-Bond emphasized "I Love You Truly" together with "Just Awearyin' for You" and "A Perfect Day" as her three great hits.[5] Jacobs-Bond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Carrie Minetta Jacobs was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, to Dr. Hannibal Jacobs and his wife, Emma (Davis) Jacobs. She was a distant cousin of John Howard Payne, the lyricist who wrote "Home Sweet Home."[7] Jacobs was born in the house of her maternal grandparents at the corner of Pleasant Street (now Court Street) and Oakhill Avenue. Her father died while she was a child, and the family faced financial difficulties without him.

Front cover of "Just Awearyin' for You" (1901), with Jacobs-Bond's artwork, watercolors of the wild rose

During Jacobs' short-lived first marriage to Edward Smith, her only child, Frederick Jacobs Smith, was born.[8] This marriage ended in divorce in 1887.

Her second marriage in 1888 was to her childhood sweetheart, Dr. Frank Lewis Bond of Johnstown, Wisconsin. They lived in Iron River, Michigan, where she was a homemaker and supplemented the family income with painted ceramics, piano lessons, and her musical compositions.[2] When the economy of the iron mining area collapsed, the family doctor had no money.[2] Struck by a child's snowball, Dr. Bond fell on the ice, and died five days later from crushed ribs. Carrie was left with debts too large to be covered by the $4,000 in proceeds of his life insurance, and she returned to Janesville. Selling ceramics, renting out a room, and writing songs did not produce enough money to pay her bills. She slowly sold off their furniture and ate only once per day.[9]

After achieving some success with her composing, Jacobs-Bond moved with her son to Chicago to be closer to music publishers.[2] Soon she found that people enjoyed her simple and lyrical music.[10] Her lyrics and music exemplified sentimentality, which was intensely popular at that time.[2] Because Jacobs-Bond's attempts to have her music published were repeatedly turned down by the male-dominated music industry of the day, in 1896 she resorted to establishing her own sheet music publishing company. As a result, she was one of very few women in the industry, and perhaps the only one, to own every word of every song she wrote.[11]

To ease the pains of her rheumatism, in the early 1920s she and her son moved to Hollywood, California, where she continued performing and publishing. She named her home there "The End of the Road" (also the title of her 1940 book). She was an early supporter of the Theatre Arts Alliance, which created the Hollywood Bowl near her home.[12][13] Jacobs-Bond died in her Hollywood home of a heart attack. She is buried in the "Court of Honor" at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Poetry and art[edit]

Carrie Jacobs-Bond also published books of children's poetry and an autobiography. She drew the artwork for her sheet music covers. The wild rose, her trademark artwork, appears on many of her publications.

Legacy and honors[edit]

Former U.S. President Herbert Hoover wrote in her epitaph: "Beloved composer of 'I Love You Truly' . . . and a hundred other heart songs that express the loves and longings, sadness and gladness of all people everywhere . . . who met widowhood, conquered hardship, and achieved fame by composing and singing her simple romantic melodies. She was America’s gallant lady of song."[4] The Los Angeles City Council honored her as "one of America’s greatest women."

Music career[edit]

Carrie Jacobs-Bond studied piano with area teachers while a child. A performer named "Blind Tom" toured the country, instantly memorizing any song played to him and then playing it back. After his part of the program, young Jacobs was prodded to go to the piano. She awed the crowd by playing back Blind Tom's song.[2] She began writing music in the late 1880s when encouraged by her husband to "put down on paper some of the songs that were continually running through my mind."[4] After her return from Iron River, Michigan, and the death of her second husband, she took up residence at 402 East Milwaukee Street, Janesville, Wisconsin, where she wrote the song "I Love You Truly".

A young female singer who lived across the hall from Jacobs-Bond had to leave unexpectedly, so she asked Jacobs-Bond to entertain her manager and another man. When the two men arrived, Jacobs-Bond invited the men into her apartment. The manager, Victor P. Sincere, saw some of her manuscripts lying around and asked whether she had written them. After Jacobs-Bond said yes, Sincere asked her to perform a song;, so she played "I Love You Truly" for him. When he asked whether she would like to have the song performed in public, she answered "no" because she had not copyrighted the song, and someone could steal it. Jacobs-Bond had second thoughts, so she went to the telephone at the corner drugstore and called opera star Jessie Bartlett Davis, even though they had never met. Jacobs-Bond hoped that Davis would make the song as popular as she had "Oh Promise Me" (by Reginald De Koven and Clement Scott) in 1898. Davis volunteered to pay the cost to publish Seven Songs as Unpretentious as the Wild Rose.[9]

After moving to Chicago, Jacobs-Bond slowly gathered a following by singing in small recitals in local homes. She published her first collection with the help of opera star Jessie Bartlett Davis. Seven Songs: as Unpretentious as the Wild Rose, which was released in 1901, included two of her most enduring songs—"I Love You Truly" and "Just Awearyin' for You".[14] The success of Seven Songs allowed Jacobs-Bond to expand her publishing company, known as the Bond Shop, which she had originally opened with her son in her apartment in Janesville.[2] Before the end of 1901, David Bispham augmented Jacobs-Bond's celebrity by giving a recital of exclusively Jacobs-Bond songs in Chicago's Studebaker Theatre.[10] Within a few years, Jacobs-Bond performed for Theodore Roosevelt, gave a recital in England (with Enrico Caruso), and a series of recitals in New York City.

She collaborated with African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and in 1906, they published five songs with lyrics by Dunbar and music by Jacobs-Bond.

In 1910 she published "A Perfect Day", for which 25 million copies of the sheet music were sold.[2] It was the most popular of her compositions during her lifetime[2] although "I Love You Truly" was more frequently performed later.[15]

During World War I Jacobs-Bond gave concerts in Europe for U.S. Army troops.[16] "A Perfect Day" was especially popular among them.[17]

Carrie Jacobs-Bond was the most successful woman composer of her day, by some reports earning more than $1 million in royalties from her music before the end of 1910.[18] In 1941, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs cited Jacobs-Bond for her contributions to the progress of women during the 20th century.[19]

Jacobs-Bond's life and lyrics serve as testimony to her resilience in overcoming hardships[20] such as poverty, her father's early death, her divorce, her second husband's death, and her son's suicide in 1932 while listening to "A Perfect Day" on the phonograph.[21]

Published works[edit]

Sheet music[edit]

Song books[edit]

Autobiography[edit]

Jacobs-Bond, Carrie. The Roads of Melody: My Story. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1927. 224 pp.

Poetry[edit]

Jacobs-Bond, Carrie (1921). Tales of Little Dogs. Chicago: P.F. Volland Co. OCLC 2593983. 
Jacobs-Bond, Carrie (1926). A perfect day and other poems: from the songs of Carrie Jacobs Bond. Chicago: P.F. Volland Co. OCLC 16702810. 
Jacobs-Bond, Carrie (1940). Palmer, Jamie, ed. The End of the Road. Hollywood, CA: George Palmer Putnam. ISBN 1-4191-2942-2. 

Short Stories[edit]

Jacobs-Bond, Carrie (1930). The little monkey with the sad face and other stories. New York: John Day Co. OCLC 2559682. 

Sung by Elsie Baker, 1912

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1911 recording of Elizabeth Spencer (soprano) singing "Just Awearyin' for You" (w. Frank Lebby Stanton m. Carrie Jacobs-Bond)

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1911 recording of Evan Williams (tenor) singing "Just Awearyin' for You"

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Instrumental-only rendition by the McKee Trio, 1915

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Jacobs-Bond's bio on Infoplease.com". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Wisconsin Hometown Stories: Janesville". 2008-01-17. 0:45 minutes in. Wisconsin Public Television. WPNE-TV.
  3. ^ Jacobs-Bond revised "I Love You Truly" and republished it in 1905. Jacobs-Bond's Infoplease.com bio lists "I Love You Truly" together with "Just Awearyin' for You" and "A Perfect Day" as being the three songs for which she is most remembered. Frank Lebby Stanton wrote the lyrics for "Just Awearyin' for You"; Jacobs-Bond, the music. She alone wrote both words and music for those other two songs, as is the case with the preponderance of her songs. "Linger Not" and "Until God's Day" are two other songs on which Stanton and Jacobs-Bond collaborated. Tubb, Benjamin Robert (1999-12-13). "The music of Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1861-1946)". PDMusic. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  4. ^ a b c Rick Reublein, America's First Great Woman Popular Song Composer. Musicologist David A. Jasen (in A Century of American Popular Music [annotated edition] [New York: Routledge, 2002], ISBN 0-415-93700-0, ISBN 978-0-415-93700-9) chose those three of Jacobs-Bond's works for inclusion among the most noteworthy U.S. songs of the 20th century.
  5. ^ "Carrie Jacobs-Bond sings again" on National Public Radio, 2009 August 30 (accessed 2009 August 30). Judith Durham's 1970 London performance of "A Perfect Day": Durham, Judith (1970). "When you come to the end of a perfect day". Meet Judith Durham [television special] (London). Retrieved 2011-04-03. Song starts at 44 seconds into the video.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ As of 2009 one book-length biography is available: Peggy DePuydt, A Perfect Day: Carrie Jacobs-Bond, the Million-Dollar Woman (New York: Golden Book Publisher, 2003), 334 pp., ISBN 1-58898-915-1, ISBN 978-1-58898-915-4, though it is a popular rather than scholarly treatment. See also her autobiography and Judith E. Carman, William K. Gaeddert, Rita M. Resch, & Gordon Myers (editors), Art Song in the United States, 1759-1999: An Annotated Bibliography (3rd edition with foreword by Phyllis Gurtin) (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001), passim, ISBN 0-8108-4137-1.
  7. ^ "Jacobs-Bond bio on the Songwriters Hall of Fame site.". 
  8. ^ Jacobs-Bond bio, University of Colorado
  9. ^ a b Wallechinsky, David; Irving Wallace (1981). The People's Almanac. 
  10. ^ a b Carrie Jacobs-Bond collection, circa 1896-circa 1944 (Library of Congress)
  11. ^ "Carrie Jacobs Bond Sings Again", NPR
  12. ^ Musical Metropolis: Los Angeles and the Creation of a Music Culture, 1880-1940 - Kenneth Marcus - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  13. ^ "Barn Door Acoustics at the Birth of the Bowl". Findery. 
  14. ^ "She revised "I Love You Truly" in 1905 and republished it in 1906.
  15. ^ "A Perfect Day" became an ersatz vesper hymn on the carillon of the Mission Inn in Riverside, California. Jacobs-Bond was staying in the Mission Inn in 1909 when from her 4th-floor window she beheld the sun going down over Mount Rubidoux, inspiring her composition of the song at the end of that same day.
  16. ^ "Jacobs-Bond bio on the Songwriters of Fame site.". 
  17. ^ Rick Reublein, "America's First Great Woman Popular Song Composer", Parlor Songs
  18. ^ Iron River Iron County Museum, Hunts-upguide.com.] The Wisconsin Stories site on Jacobs-Bond estimates that in 2009 values, the amount would be $20 million.
  19. ^ "SHOF Jacobs-Bond site.". 
  20. ^ Peggy DePuydt's biography (A Perfect Day: Carrie Jacobs-Bond, the Million-Dollar Woman [New York: Golden Book Publisher, 2003]), esp. pp. 329-334 describes Jacobs-Bond's funeral in sentimental terms.
  21. ^ Rick Reublein, "America's First Great Woman Popular Song Composer" site. Understandably, the death of her only child affected Jacobs-Bond profoundly. She dedicated her 1940 book of poetry, The End of the Road, to him. Jacobs-Bond, Carrie (1940). Palmer, Jamie, ed. The End of the Road. Hollywood, CA: George Palmer Putnam. ISBN 1-4191-2942-2. p. iii.

Further reading[edit]

  • Becker, Janet Hattersley and Maude Haben Luck. Spark of Melody: The Life and Music of Carrie Jacobs-Bond. [Madison]: Dept. of Debating and Public Discussion, Univ. Extension Div., Univ. of Wisconsin, 1944. OCLC 16699121
  • Bernhardt, Marcia A. Carrie Jacobs-Bond: As Unpretentious As the Wild Rose. Caspian, MI: Bernhardt, 1978. OCLC 6559358
  • Bruce, Phyllis Ruth. From Rags to Roses: The Life and Works of Carrie Jacobs-Bond, an American Composer. Thesis (M.A.)--Wesleyan University, 1980. OCLC 6842418
  • Carrie Jacobs-Bond. Madison, Wis: Demco Library Supplies, 1939. OCLC 17156210
  • Good, Machelle. Carrie Jacobs-Bond: Her Life and Music. Thesis (M.M.)--Butler University, 1984. OCLC 13412164
  • Jacobs-Bond, Carrie. A Perfect Day and Other Poems: From the Songs of Carrie Jacobs Bond. Joliet, Ill: P.F. Volland Co, 1926. OCLC 16702810
  • Jacobs-Bond, Carrie. The Roads of Melody. New York: D. Appleton and Co, 1927. OCLC 926805

External links[edit]