In 1918 and 1919 thirty-seven young women, friends and neighbors of my grandmother Fannie Mae Turner were members of the Edelweiss Club in Montgomery, Alabama. These are snapshots from their lives, place and times.

While looking for possible sources that can account for why the name of “Edelweiss” was choosen for the club, I came across this piece of piano music.

There were several piano teachers giving private lessons in the community. Recitals and musicals by these classes and other groups happened regularly. The second number on the program below is Edelweiss, op. 31 – Lange!

The Montgomery Times Sat, Mar 02, 1912 ·Page 3

I’ll be looking for a delicious salad course to share when we get to “S”.

The women in Edelweiss were a musical group. Some, like Bertha Loveless, sang at weddings and at community affairs, other’s played the piano for gatherings and weddings. Many played piano duets or solos at their graduation from State Normal School. My grandmother Fannie played the piano, although she wasn’t playing by the time I came around. Perhaps some of them played “Edelweiss”.

Madeline Abercrombie

Madaline Abercrombie not only played the piano, but taught others to play during her years as a teacher in Montgomery schools. Later she decided to only teach in her own home.

My Fannie wrote to my future grandfather, Mershell,

Our club held it’s first meeting last Friday evening at Madeline’s. She put on a strut too. We certainly had a good time. We are all feeling okay.

The Alabama Journal January 9, 1973

I wondered what the price of a piano was in those days.

The Montgomery Advertiser, Nov 25, 1915

There were also wanted advertisements like those below.

The Montgomery Advertiser, Sunday May 6, 1917

You can read a full post about Madeline Abercrombie from 2021 here Madeline Abercrombie

16 thoughts on “M – MUSIC

    1. I took piano for several years too. I never played in a recital but I remember a piece I played “The Wild Horseman” and wish that I had kept playing.

  1. Wouldn’t you just love to be transported back in time for a day or two with this fine company?
    We need stories like these. Thank you for sharing with us, Kris.

  2. This an inspirational piece! We had a piano player at our church who was self taught and never charged us anything for her services. Our community has never produced a musician who could play the piano! I love this history—thank you Kirsten

  3. Teaching piano had been a time-honored source of income for women as long as I can remember. We had several female piano teachers in my neighborhood, and my music-teacher mom also learned piano from a home instructor. Yet another career connection for the Edelweiss women.

    1. And it was something women could do after they married and their children were old enough. I took piano lessons from a woman who came out to houses to give the lessons. Mrs. Fowler. Not a very nice person. Later I took lessons from a man who was also a music teacher and choir director. He also came to the house.

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