Family Association











Research and Publications Committee












Copyright Elizabeth Haydon Keithcart, 2008

Printed with permission of the author




The watershed of music education in the United States originated with

     tributaries from Puritan families, churches, and communities.  Elizabeth

     Haydon Keithcart traced one branch of the Dickinson family to the well-

     spring of music education in the Connecticut River Valley through her

     doctoral dissertation, Dickinson Tributaries in the Watershed of Music

     Education: Martha Dickinson Bond (1856-1936) and Clarence Dickinson



          The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of music educators

     on students’ life-long learning and musicianship, through the life stories and

     family history of Martha and Clarence.  Recommendations were made, based

     on the findings, for music educators, music therapists, and teacher educators.

Martha taught music to her children and grandchildren.  She also taught

    Elizabeth’s piano teacher, Robert L. Fife, who told her in her first lesson and

    later during doctoral interviews that her great-grandmother, Mrs. Bond, was

    the best!”

Martha introduced her younger brother, Clarence, to music from his

    infancy.  Clarence’s contributions are documented in numerous music

    reference books as composer, organist, author, and educator, notably in a

    1993 dissertation by David Weadon.

Archival research was conducted in libraries, churches, and historical

    societies in several states, including the Clarence Dickinson Collection of

    Sacred Music, William Carey College, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Martha’s

    collection was reassembled as Elizabeth’s mother and aunts gave her Martha’s

    sheet music, books on teaching music, photograph albums, and journals.

          Elizabeth found that the Dickinsons were involved in the early stages of

    music education in the United States through Psalm singing, singing schools,

    and musical societies.  She discovered that Baxter Dickinson (1795-1875), the

    grandfather of Martha and Clarence, was associated closely with leaders in

    music education as it was introduced into the public schools in the 1830s in

    Boston and Cincinnati.  Further, as Clarence taught ministers and church

    musicians at Union Theological Seminary in New York, Martha successfully

    introduced music into the schools attended by her children and grandchildren.

This in-depth inquiry into the musical development of Martha and Clarence

    was placed in the context of the Dickinson family.  Their father, William

    Cowper Dickinson (1827-1899), was a graduate of Amherst College (1848),

    a minister and professor.  Martha’s aunts, who were educated at Amherst

    Academy, were Martha’s first teachers.  Through family and community

    connections, Martha and Clarence were influenced by the same, inspiring

    music educators as their sixth cousin, the poet and pianist Emily Dickinson




    Copies of the dissertation may be reviewed at the American Antiquarian Society,

    Amherst College Library, The Jones Library, the Forbes Library, and the Historic

    Deerfield Library in Massachusetts; Lake Forest University, Illinois; William Carey

    College, Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and the Butte County Library in Gridley,

    California.  The document may be accessed online by typing in “Dickinson

    Tributaries” at the following link for ProQuest:




MDB pix & family pix 058


                                                         Martha Bush Dickinson Bond, c. 1915.

                                                          Photo courtesy of Dorothy Bond Fry.



Clarence Dickinson Collection 2006 1 349


                                                      Clarence Dickinson leading a choir, c. 1945.

                                                Photograph from Clarence Dickinson Collection of

                                                           Sacred Music, William Carey College.




                                                   North Amherst birthplace of Baxter Dickinson.

                                                   Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Haydon Keithcart



spring summer 2005 967


                                                    John Haydon and Elizabeth Haydon Keithcart,

                                                     on behalf of their mother, Sara Bond Haydon,

                                                    donated an autographed copy of Helen A. and

                                                Clarence  Dickinson’s 1917 Excursions in Musical

                                               History to Dr. Gene Winters William Carey College,

                                                                  Hattiesburg, Mississippi.


                                             Dr. Winters’ parents, as Deans of the School of Music

                                                 at William Carey College, accepted the Clarence

                                                   Dickinson Collection of Sacred Music with the

                                                   agreement to keep the collection of books, art,

                                                            manuscripts, and furniture intact.










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