CollectionsYour library (34)
TagsMusic (34), Harpsichord (17), Violin (11), Songs (9), Concertos (9), Lessons (5), Sonatas (4), Flute (4), Opera (3), Overtures (3) — see all tags
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About meCuthbert Ogle (d. 23 April 1755), an English musician who emigrated to Williamsburg, Virginia in the early months of 1755, advertised that he would be teaching music there, and then promptly died. Little is known about Ogle: Maurer Maurer writes of the man "It seems impossible to determine anything definite about Cuthbert Ogle's origin, his first appearance in Virginia, the extent of his musical training, or the nature of his private life and affairs."
John Molnar has discovered evidence which suggests that Ogle was a semi-prominent conductor and concert organizer in London during the early 1750s, most notably in 1751-52. Ill health seems to have prompted Ogle to travel to Virginia in February 1755 aboard the ship Dolphin, leaving his wife in London to manage his concert hall. Molnar also suggests that Ogle may have been sent to supervise the installation of the organ at Williamsburg's Bruton Parish church.
Ogle placed an advertisement in the Virginia Gazette of 28 March 1755, announcing that he would "teach young Gentlemen and Ladies to play on the Organ, Harpsichord or Spinett; and to instruct those Gentlemen that play on other Instruments so as to enable them to play in Concert." He was, at that time, living at "Mr. Nicholson's, in Williamsburg," but described himself as willing to "fix in any Part of the Country." The announcement was repeated in the issue of 11 April, but by then Ogle was already on his deathbed.
About my libraryThe musical library of Cuthbert Ogle is listed in its entirety in the appraisement of his estate, made at Williamsburg in September 1755 by well-known musician Peter Pelham, Charles Jones and John Low. Ogle's books, combined with his other possessions (which included a Fiddle & Case, Harpsichord and 2 Hammers, 1 Plain Gold Watch, 1 Spy Glass, 1/2 lb Green Tea, some Fiddle strings and an Old Hatt), were appraised at £69 3s. 4d.
While Ogle's early death prevented him from playing any significant role in the cultural life of Virginia, his library is one of the few collections which shed any light on the popular music of 1750s Williamsburg. Many of the composers represented here have "long since passed into obscurity," as Maurer puts it; Ogle's library did not include much "'great' music, but it was the music that was being played and sung by English amateurs and professionals."
Ogle's inventory is printed in Lyon G. Tyler, "Libraries in Colonial Virginia." William and Mary Quarterly 3:4 (April, 1895), pp. 251-253.
Two studies of Ogle's collection have been made:
- Maurer, Maurer. "The Library of a Colonial Musician, 1755." William and Mary Quarterly 3d Series 7:1 (January, 1950), pp. 39-52.
- Molnar, John W. "A Collection of Music in Colonial Virginia." The Musical Quarterly 49:2 (April, 1963), pp. 150-162.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Do you know of additional books which should be included here? Please contact Libraries of Early America coordinator Jeremy Dibbell.
GroupsLibraries of Early America
Real nameCuthbert Ogle
Favorite authorsNot set
Account typepublic, lifetime
Member sinceNov 9, 2008