Cover image for Women and music in America since 1900 : an encyclopedia
Women and music in America since 1900 : an encyclopedia
Burns, Kristine Helen.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
2 volumes : illustrations ; 27 cm
General Note:
"An Oryx book."
Added Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML82 .W625 2002 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference-Music
ML82 .W625 2002 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference-Music

On Order



The 20th century heard a rich sound coming from America: women making music. Other works may be strictly biographical or cover only one type of musician. This two volume, A-to-Z encyclopedia represents the first major effort to describe the role of women in all forms of music in the U.S. since 1900. Entries cover such material as, important individuals, biographical overviews, gender issues, education, music genres, honors and awards, organizations, and professions.

The significance of an individual's contribution, rather than their popularity, determined who was featured in this collection. Included individuals must also have been born in, been a resident of, or made most of her contributions in the U.S. Each entry concludes with a short list of further readings. Photos accompany nearly 100 entries. A preface, an introductory historical overview, a chronology, a guide to related topics, a list of contributors, a general bibliography, and an index help to present the full spectrum of American women who changed the face of music in the 1900s.

Author Notes

KRISTINE H. BURNS is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of the Electronic Music Studios, Florida International University.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

As the editor points out, "The major role that women have played and continue to play in the musical culture of the United States is indisputable." This encyclopedia is "the first major attempt" to document that role. Approximately 300 of the A^-Z entries are for women in a broad range of musical forms--Anonymous 4, Joan Baez, Cher, Judy Garland, Bernadette Peters, Leontyne Price, LeAnn Rimes, Barbra Streisand, and the Supremes, to give just a few examples. A number of educators, patrons, and researchers are also included. All of the women were born in or made most of their contribution in the U.S., were born in or lived chiefly during the twentieth century, and "advanced the role of women in music." The intent is not to be exhaustive but to identify major contributions, focusing on those who have won awards or been the first or most successful. In addition, there are entries for topics in education (Children's choirs, Piano pedagogy); gender issues (Feminist music history, Male gaze); genres (Asian American music, Church music, Motown); honors and awards (Country Music Hall of Fame, Fulbright Fellowship Program); organizations (Grand Ole Opry; Performance ensembles, classical); and professions (Audio production, Music librarian). Signed entries range in length from half of a page to just over four pages for Garage rock and heavy metal bands, Rock and popular music genres, and a few others, and each includes a list of further readings. A chronology and a topical list of entries appear at the front of each volume. Volume 2 concludes with a bibliography and an index in which entry headings are denoted with bold type. Information on many of these women is readily available in other sources. However, combining selective biographical coverage with entries for topics that address a variety of related issues provides useful context and a unique perspective. This set would be a valuable addition to academic and larger public libraries as well as any library that specializes in music or in women's studies.

Library Journal Review

Burns (music, Florida Intl. Univ.) oversees this alphabetically arranged reference set on women composers, performers, teachers, and scholars from all genres of music since 1900, as well as issues, organizations, and broad topics. Individuals were selected for having made "contributions that have advanced the role of women in music" rather than for popular appeal. Thus, Jean Ritchie, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, and Melissa Etheridge rated full articles, while Hazel Dickins, Lucy Shelton, and Holly Near did not. Advisory and editorial boards assisted in selecting both the 400-plus entries, which are signed and include short bibliographies, and the 200 featured authors, most of whom are not musicologists. These authors lend an earnest "dedicated amateur" aspect to the project, which makes it accessible and yet invites further research. Typical of the thematic entries are the essays under "F": "Female Inferiority, Theories of," three articles headed "Feminist" (music criticism, music theory, and musicology), "Film Music," "Fluxus," "Folk Music," and "Fraternities and Sororities." These "foundation entries" may mention women for whom there are no separate entries or may supplement information found elsewhere in the book. Presumably, the index (not seen) will lead readers to people whose names appear only in the topical essays. The text includes 100 photos, most familiar studio portraits of performers, and a compiled bibliography concludes Volume 2. There are encyclopedias that cover American music (e.g., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians) and others that address specific genres of women in music (e.g., Virginia L. Grattan's American Women Songwriters: A Biographical Dictionary), but no other source so comprehensively covers American women and music simultaneously. Enthusiastically recommended for large public libraries and music libraries.-Bonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Libs., College Park (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Alphabetically arranged, this encyclopedia includes entries on gender issues, education, genres, honors and awards, organizations, individuals, and professions. The editorial board defines "American" as someone who was born or has resided in the US, or made most of her contributions in the US. Women born elsewhere, such as Lotte Lehmann, who had significant careers while living in the US, are included. In addition, women who are universally regarded as the best in their field, whether rap or systematic musicology, have been included. Burns has pulled together an impressive advisory and editorial board as well as a notable roster of contributing authors. Associate editors were responsible for writing "foundation entries" in their areas of expertise, including topics such as gender issues and women in music technology. Besides women's organizations, important women's subcommittees within other organizations are covered, as are associations in which women have been historically underrepresented. Each entry includes a brief bibliography, and the second volume ends with a comprehensive bibliography. Burns's compilation analyzes important contributions by topic but more importantly in terms of its cultural interpretation of women and music. This set will become an essential reference tool. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All collections. K. A. Abromeit Oberlin College

Table of Contents

Introduction: Historical Overview
Guide to Related Topics
Women and Music in America Since 1900: An Encyclopedia