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Eleanor Smith

Eleanor Sophia Smith (June 15, 1858 – June 30, 1942) was an American composer and music educator. She was one of the founders of Chicago's Hull House Music School, and headed its music department from 1893 to 1936.

Born into a musical family, Smith taught herself to play the piano and later became a classically trained musician. Earning a teaching degree, she began publishing music compositions for children using the philosophy of Friedrich Fröbel, advocating for less memorization and drilling and more attention to intuitive appreciation of music. Studying composition and voice in Germany, she also toured the country observing choirs and their teaching techniques.

Returning to the United States in 1890, Smith began working at the settlement house, Hull House, as a music instructor. Within three years she had co-founded the Hull House Music School, a school which followed her progressive teaching ideas, cross-training students in vocal music as well as instruments. Simultaneously, she worked in several institutions in the Chicago area which trained music educators.

Smith published numerous compilations of songs, including two six-volume textbook series, which were widely used throughout the United States. Most of her writings were focused on children's voices and contained short songs written with attention paid to the limited range and short attention span of children. Many of her compositions were still being used in music education programs in the latter part of the 20th century.

Birth and Death Data: Born June 15, 1858 (Atlanta, Illinois), Died June 30, 1942 (Midland)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1911 - 1932

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, lyricist, songwriter

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-10972 10-in. 9/15/1911 A dew drop Elizabeth Wheeler Female vocal solo, with piano composer, lyricist  
Victor B-12825 10-in. 1/22/1913 The oriole's nest Elizabeth Wheeler Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer, lyricist  
Victor BVE-36175 10-in. 9/10/1926 A dew drop Erva Giles Female vocal solo, with piano composer, lyricist  
Victor BRC-71990 10-in. 3/23/1932 Hallowe'en Anna Howard Female vocal solo, with piano songwriter  
Victor BRC-71991 10-in. 3/23/1932 Autumn colors (Swedish folk song) Myrtle C. Eaver ; Lucy Isabelle Marsh Female vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor [Trial 1926-04-12-02] 10-in. 4/12/1926 A dew drop Mrs. S. J. Marble Female vocal solo, with piano composer, lyricist  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Smith, Eleanor," accessed July 13, 2024,

Smith, Eleanor. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from

"Smith, Eleanor." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 13 July 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier


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