March Composed & Dedicated to The United States Marine Corps, by A Lady of Charleston.
Southern woman composer’s patriotic march celebrating the War of 1812 heroics of the United States Marine Corps
Rare c.1820s “New Edition” of this Southern woman composer’s patriotic composition dedicated to the United States Marine Corps.¹
“Lady of Charleston” Eliza Crawley Murden’s March Composed & Dedicated to The United States Marine Corps was first published by G.E. Blake in 1814–1815 [Wolfe 6360]. It has been described as being likely the first published composition of sheet music by a Southern woman [see Bailey below].
The occasion of this composition’s origin was the heroic part the Marines played in the final major battle of the War of 1812, the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. Blake, one of Philadelphia’s biggest music publishers, was no stranger to capitalizing upon the young nation’s patriotic fervor.
In 2010, author Candace Bailey provided an incorrect publisher attribution for the first edition (John Cole’s Baltimore edition was c.1825), however, her observations upon the composition itself are notable:
The first publication of a southern woman’s music appears to have been printed in Baltimore when John Cole of No. 123 Market Street published The United States Marine March, composed by a “Lady of Charleston, South Carolina” around 1814 or 1815. This work initiates a trend, for the extant data clearly shows that Baltimore became somewhat of a publishing haven for women composers—almost completely unnamed, of course. In 1977, Bunker Haven identified the composer as Eliza Crawley Murden (1784–1847), a Charleston poet. She published a book in 1808 [see Stoddard & Whitesell 871] whose title page reads “Poems by a Young Lady of Charleston” ... [The composition]...is a piano solo in C major that consists of militaristic dotted rhythms and octave flourishes in the right hand. A key change to C minor/E-flat major in the B section and a dew ornaments round out the technical requirements of the composition. The fistfuls of chords may see, unladylike to the modern observer, but considering the “pianoforte” of the early nineteenth century, the texture becomes less overtly masculine (pp140–141).
Murden’s music (which includes no lyrics) is to be played in 2/4 time. An instruction to the player or players directs that the tune should be performed Maestoso—in a stately and dignified manner. It is fitting that this neoclassical composition celebrating martial prowess should be played in this way.
Description: March Composed & Dedicated to The United States Marine Corps, by A Lady of Charleston.
Philadelphia: Published and sold by G. E. Blake, No. 13 South 5h. Street. [1820s]. “New Edition.” Folio, engraved sheet music. [1(blank), 2–3, 4 (blank)]pp. Removed. Foxed; two short separations along spine; Very Good.
Not in OCLC. Wolfe 6363 records 1 copy at Harvard. Not found online in the Levy Sheet Music Collection. Ref. Bailey, Music and the Southern Belle… (SIU Press, 2010). Not in Lawrence, Music for Patriots….