Slumber Sea Chanteys

Cover of "Slumber Sea Chanteys"
Cover of “Slumber Sea Chanteys”

Slumber Sea Chanteys (1910) was the only sheet music Paul Elder ever published (there are a few pages of music in Knight of the Burning Pestle). It is a selection of children’s lullabies on nautical themes. It is also the first Paul Elder I ever bought, though I only realized it five years later when I began to collect Elder in earnest.

Composer Carrie Stone Freeman was profiled in the Music section of the Los Angeles Herald on 4 Dec 1910:

Local composers were well represented at the last meeting of the Harmonia Club Thursday afternoon … Among the songs of special interest to club members were those by Mrs. John J. Abramson, president of the club and hostess for the day, and Carrie Stone Freeman. Mrs. Freeman has written successfully for the voice and her publications include not only the Slumber Sea Chanteys, which are proving so delightful for little folk to sing, but are also most beautiful for the trained singer or a real by-land song, but also “Invitation,” Twilight,” “Lullaby” and “Eastertime Psalm.”

Freeman was also profiled in the Oxnard Courier of 16 Mar 1917:

Carrie Stone Freeman in 1910.
Composer Carrie Stone Freeman in 1910.

Carrie Stone Freeman, chairman of music for Southern California Women’s club, has a new theory of learning music from nature. Mrs. Freeman is well known in this section in club work and has visited with clubs in this county many times. This is her advice: Listen to the birds and learn to sing. Try to catch and put into musical notation the clear, vibrant joyous calls of the Meadowlark and the mockingbird. Go where you will, is the big outdoors, land or water, and learn from the greatest music master in the world–Nature.

Here is the unique “teachology” of a brilliant Los Angeles woman who bids fair to catch the eye of the nation with her simple solution for developing one of the primal instincts of man–love of music. She is Carrie Stone Freeman, state chairman of music for the Los Angeles and Southern districts of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs. “Trying to catch the notes of the birds,” said Mrs. Freeman, “not only gives a person the opportunity to learn some of the truest sound values, but it also trains the ear. “Spare moments can be utilized for this study, for instance, while a train stops on a siding, while you are standing waiting for a car, if at some interurban point where the fields are at hand or as you sit in your garden reading or sewing. The birds are everywhere.”

Mrs. Freeman is speaking to club women in almost every part of the state, so popular is her subject proving. Just a few days ago she received a manuscript copy of the new song written by the well known American composer, Mrs. H. H. A. Beach; words by Ina Coolbrith of San Francisco. It is dedicated to Mrs. Freeman and is called “Meadowlark.” The motif of the composition is one of the meadowlark calls which Mrs. Freeman frequently uses in announcing her arrival at the artistic Freeman home at the western terminus of Sixteenth Street. Mrs. Beach heard her using it, while a house-guest, and begged permission to build a song on it.

Asked what she thinks of “ragtime,” Mrs. Freeman said “I don’t think. It was a tidal wave for a while and naturally it is receding. I think it will soon die altogether. I never talk against it. I simply offer something better in its stead.”

Co-author Lucia Chase Bell (1848-1938) also wrote the Elder publication Obil, Keeper of Camels. Her husband, Thomas Cowan Bell (1832-1919), was one of the founders of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

I can find no information about co-author and illustrator Rita Bell James.

Title page of "Slumber Sea Chanteys"
Title page of “Slumber Sea Chanteys”
Page 3 of "Slumber Sea Chanteys"
Page 3 of “Slumber Sea Chanteys”

Scientific Singing

Scientific Singing cover
Cover of “Scientific Singing”, with the author’s EST monogram at lower right

In his 1916 book Scientific Singing, E. Standard Thomas wastes no time in getting to his point:

Do you realize that you can sing? Do you realize that to sing is a normal expression of your spiritual nature? Do you realize that song has a place in every life?

Clearly, Thomas was a singing teacher, and this book was his manifesto. In his next breath, he confronts your fears:

Why don’t you sing? Because I have no voice. Why do you say you have no voice? You have never proved it.

The real reason why you do not sing is because you do not appreciate the value singing will be to you. You do not realize that in your everyday life singing is of actual worth. Singing is not a great mystery. It is but the expression of ideas you are conceiving every day. The gift of song is possessed by all. It is within your grasp. You can appreciate it. You can attain it. You can express yourself in song.

Scientific Singing title
Title page of “Scientific Singing.” The frontispiece is the author’s music studio, designed by famed architect Bernard Maybeck in 1910

Edgar Standard Thomas (1883-1952) was the adopted son of Captain Richard Parks Thomas (1826-1900) and his wife Jane Watson Thomas (1829-1919). Capt. Thomas was a Civil War veteran and owner of the Standard Soap Company in west Berkeley. (Edgar’s middle name “Standard” was taken directly from the name of the soap company.)

Capt. Thomas owned a large tract of land north of the UC Berkeley campus, an area he called “La Loma” (Spanish for “hill”) but which is now colloquially called “Nut Hill,” possibly referring to Capt. Thomas’s well-known eccentricities.

The Thomas home was located on what is now Greenwood Terrace. The San Francisco Call society pages of 6 August 1911 reported that

Mrs Thomas and her son, Edgar Standard Thomas, have returned to their North Berkeley home after an absence of two months in the east. The Thomas home, ‘La Loma,’ has been one of the show places of Berkeley for 30 years. Mrs Thomas recently built her son a studio overlooking San Francisco Bay.

After Capt. Thomas died in 1900, his widow Jane subdivided the La Loma Park tract. Edgar’s new studio, a photo of which appears on the frontispiece, was designed in 1910 by famous architect Bernard Maybeck. It was located along Buena Vista Way, between Greenwood Terrace and La Loma. The studio burned in the 1923 Berkeley fire and was not rebuilt.

Edgar Thomas and his parents are buried in the same plot in the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.

I wish to thank Daniella Thompson for sharing her extensive research on Capt. Thomas and La Loma Park. Here is a three-part article Daniella wrote for the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association website:

Scientific Singing p56
Scientific Singing, page 56-57