Supported by a University of Iowa Arts and Humanities Initiative grant, musicologist Marian Wilson Kimber traveled to several archives over the summer, doing research for her book in progress, Feminine Entertainments: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word. The book explores the contributions of American women to melodrama, and the intersection of poetry and music in performance from the Progressive era to World War II. Wilson Kimber worked with elocution books and ephemera at the Jerry Tarver Elocution, Rhetoric and Oratory Collection at Ohio State University [http://library.osu.edu/find/collections/rarebooks/RBMScollections/TarverCollection/]. While in Columbus, she examined the programs of African American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, whose works were frequently performed with music, at the Ohio Historical Society [http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Paul_L._Dunbar]. Wilson Kimber also traveled to the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville to see the papers of Kitty Cheatham (1865-1946), a performer known for her children’s concerts and renditions of spirituals.
In July, Wilson Kimber also presented “Music on the Rappahannock: Women, Accompanied Recitation, and Sentimentality on the Battlefield,” at the Third Biennial North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music, held at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. Her paper explored female elocutionists’ addition of sentimental musical accompaniments to poetry about soldiers and battle, making these texts appropriate for women on the platform.