• IdentificationMidwest MS Epstein
  • TitleInventory of the Dena Epstein Root & Cady Research Papers, 1843-1987, bulk 1858-1871 Midwest.MS.Epstein
  • PublisherThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • RepositoryThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • Physical Description3.6 linear feet (3 boxes, 4 card boxes)
  • Date
    • Bulk, 1858-1871
    • 1843-1987
  • Location1 14 6
  • AbstractResearch notes and other materials concerning the firm of Root & Cady, which published music in Chicago from 1858-1871. The materials were collected in support of a master’s thesis at the University of Illinois Library School and also include information on other, contemporaneous, music publishers and composers.
  • OriginationEpstein, Dena J. Polacheck, 1916-

Gift, Dena J. Epstein, 1992.

The Dena Epstein Root & Cady Research Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

The Dena Epstein Root & Cady Research Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Dena Epstein Root & Cady Research Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

See also the Dena J. Epstein papers, Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Lenore Glanz, 2010.

Music librarian and musicologist.

Dena J. Polacheck Epstein (1916- ) earned a BA from the University of Chicago, and both BS and MS degrees from the University of Illinois-Urbana. In the early 1940s she began collecting materials and notes for her master’s thesis on the Root & Cady publishing firm in Chicago. Her 1943 thesis was titled Music Publishing in Chicago Prior to 1871: The Firm of Root & Cady, 1858-1871. This was only the first of three published incarnations, the second having been issued as a continuing series of chapters in Music Library Association Notes, with additions by both Epstein and Notes editor, Richard S. Hill; and, third, in 1969, thoroughly revised, with the same title, for issuance as No. 14 in the series, Detroit Studies in Music Bibliography.

Epstein continued to collect information on the music publishing business while employed in several different libraries. In 1964 she became Assistant Music Librarian at the University of Chicago and remained there until retiring in 1986. Her files, notes, and correspondence relating to African-American folk music before the Civil War are today an important collection in the Columbia College Center for Black Music Research.

Pre-fire Chicago music publishing firm.

Root & Cady was the most interesting and important firm within a thriving music trade in pre-Fire Chicago. Led by senior partner, Ebenezer Towner Root, junior partner Chauncey Marvin Cady, and Root’s older brother and composer, George Frederick Root, whose wildly successful compositions included The Battle Cry of Freedom and Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the firm was said to be manufacturing and selling more music than any New York firm when the fire of 1871 decimated its assets, forcing the firm into bankruptcy and an ultimately unsuccessful restructuring.

Research notes and other materials about the Root & Cady firm as well as about other music publishers and the publishing trade in the third quarter of the nineteenth century by Dena J. Polacheck Epstein.

Includes mostly research notes from secondary sources such as newspapers, city directories, contemporary publications, and later publications about musicians and the music trade. Includes notes about pre-Fire publications in several large libraries, and also some correspondence by Epstein involving her attempts to find relevant detail and facts about the persons and business she was investigating, both for her thesis on the Root & Cady firm and her subsequent publications. Contains, in addition, directory listings, lists of Root & Cady music publications, programs, clippings, information on some songs and composers, drafts of Ms. Epstein’s publications, a publishing agreement and contract, and reviews of her book, as well as royalty statements.

Virtually all of the information and materials are taken from secondary sources. To give credence to Ms. Epstein’s diligent researching in these sources, their dates of publication, rather than the date they were noted by Ms. Epstein are given in container labels. Almost all of the collection is based on notes that Ms. Epstein took from contemporary commentary and histories. Everything belonging to the Root & Cady firm, unfortunately, seems to have been destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

  • Names
    • Board of Music Trade of the United States of America.
    • Cady, C. M., (Chauncey Marvin), 1824-1889
    • Epstein, Dena J. Polacheck, 1916-
    • Henry Tolman. (Firm)
    • Higgins, H. M., (Hiram M.), 1820-1897
    • Lyon & Healy.
    • Root & Cady.
    • Root, George F., (George Frederick), 1820-1895
    • Work, Henry C. (Henry Clay), 1832-1884
  • Subject
    • Business
    • Chicago
    • Civil War
    • Manuscripts, American -- Illinois -- Chicago
    • Music
    • Music --United States -- 19th century
    • Music printing -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Plate numbers
    • Music publishers -- Illinois -- Chicago
    • Music publishers -- United States
    • Music publishing -- Illinois -- Chicago
    • Music publishing -- United States -- History -- 19th century
    • Publishers and publishing -- Illinois -- Chicago
    • Publishing -- Contracts
    • War songs -- United States -- 19th century