Augusta Browne

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Augusta Browne (1820–1882) was an American composer who became renowned in the 1850s as part of the first wave of female composers in the country.[1] She was the most prolific of that group,[2] and Wake, Lady Mine, written in 1845, is one of her most well-known works.[3]


Augusta Browne Garrett was a female composer, publisher, author, and trailblazer during a time when men dominated each of those fields. Born in 1820 in Dublin, Ireland, she is celebrated as "the most prolific woman composer in America before 1870".[2] She composed over 200 works[2] for piano and voice in addition to numerous hymns and secular pieces.[4] Browne was driven by the desire to write and produce music for the masses. She often collaborated with either men or women, creating musical settings to accompany lyrics written by her musical partner.

In addition to her musical works, her articles and journals led her to be respected in the literary world as well,[4] where she published two books – one about her brother entitledHamilton, the Young Artistessays, religious tracts, poetry, and short stories. She was dedicated to her opinions, and was willing to express those that rebutted common beliefs and interests at the time.

One of her most famous articles criticized the popular "minstrel music" of the mid-1800s, calling it "melodic trash", an idea which at the time made more than a few people cringe. Despite this affront, her article was reprinted in several music journals – quite a feat for a woman at that time. In many ways, Browne influenced the realization of women and their accomplishments in music and the arts.

Augusta Browne now is buried in New York’s Green-Wood Cemetery.


  1. ^ Neuls-Bates 1978, pp. 269–283.
  2. ^ a b c Tick 1983, p. 150.
  3. ^ Chase 1992, p. 161.
  4. ^ a b Chase 1992, p. 160.


  • Chase, Gilbert (1992). America's Music, from the Pilgrims to the Present (illustrated, revised ed.). University of Illinois Press. pp. 160–161. ISBN 9780252062759. 
  • Neuls-Bates, Carol (December 1978). "Sources and Resources for Women's Studies in American Music: A Report". Notes, Second Series. Music Library Association. 35 (2): 269–283. JSTOR 939679. 
  • Tick, Judith (1983). American women composers before 1870. Issue 57 of Studies in musicolog (illustrated ed.). UMI Research Press. p. 150. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Wikisource-logo.svg Moore, John Weeks (1880) [1854]. "Browne, Augusta". Complete Encyclopaedia of Music. New York: C. H. Ditson & Company. 
  • Browne, A. H. C. (1857). Hamilton, the Young Artist: With an Essay on Sculpture & Painting. Lippincott. 
  • Moore, John W. (1973). Complete Encyclopaedia of Music: Elementary, Technical, Historical, Biographical, Vocal, and Instrumental. New York: AMS. 
  • Pendle, Karin (1991). Women & Music a History. Bloomington: Indiana UP. 
  • Tawa, Nicholas E. (1980). Sweet Songs for Gentle Americans: The Parlor Song in America, 1790-1860. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green U Popular. 

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