Image Source: Wikipedia

J. W. Bischoff

John W. Bischoff (27 November 1850 in Chicago – May 30, 1909 in Washington, DC) was a blind musician and composer. Blind from age two, Bischoff went on to become a noted organist, compiler of musical collections, and composer. His compilations included a significant number of his own works, and include Gospel Bells (1883), God Be With You (1880) and Not Half Has Been Told (1877). He was the principal organist at the first Congregational Church in Washington from 1874 till his death in 1909.

Bischoff lost his sight at about two years of age, and attended the Wisconsin School for the Blind. Later he studied singing with Ludden and Bassini in Chicago and studied organ under Creswald. He moved to Washington, DC in 1875 and became the musician at First Congregational church. He was a great composer of music, and was considered one of the greatest composers and greatest organists of the country. For Gospel Bells in 1880, Bischoff worked with noted minister Jeremiah Rankin. He continued to spend time in Wisconsin, and wrote that much of his composing was done during the summer when he would visit his cottage on Lake Winnebago in that state.

Bischoff married Mary Jane Vandergrift, daughter of Howard Vandergrift, in Mount Carroll, Illinois in about 1870. They had met in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where Bischoff lived at the time. They had two children, a son and a daughter. They divorced in 1895. His daughter was Lucile and his son was John E.

At his death, he was married to Elisie Bond Bischoff, who was also a musician.

Bischoff died the morning of May 30, 1909 of heart disease after three weeks of illness

Birth and Death Data: Born November 27th, 1850, Died 1909

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1897 - 1926

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 3901 7-in. 11/3/1897 Good night Jean Moeremans Saxophone solo composer  
Victor BVE-34574 10-in. 3/2/1926 Om Gud så kläder gräset H. William Nordin Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor [Trial 1913-04-12-03] Not documented 4/12/1913 Goodnight, sweet dreams Alice Everson Female vocal solo composer  
Victor [Trial 1916-10-07-01] Not documented 10/7/1916 Rest Eva Bodine Female vocal solo, with piano composer  
Columbia 38183 10-in. 8/5/1912 I heard the voice of Jesus say Frank Croxton Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 45927 10-in. 8/7/1915 Take me, Jamie dear Marie Sundelius Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia W106772 10-in. March 1926 Our darling (Polka) Ehrenwert Instrumental Quintette Instrumental quintet composer  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Bischoff, J. W.," accessed June 16, 2021,

Bischoff, J. W.. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from

"Bischoff, J. W.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 16 June 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier



Send the Editors a message about this record.