Born: Au­gust 3, 1820, Par­sons­field, Maine.

Died: Sep­tem­ber 29, 1915, Hyde Park, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Buried: Mt. Au­burn Ce­me­te­ry, Cam­bridge, Mas­sa­chu­setts.


Emerson was the son of Lu­ther Em­er­son and Eli­za­beth Ush­er, hus­band of Ma­ry Jane Gove, and fa­ther of Eli­za­beth Em­er­son.

He at­tend­ed the Par­sons­field Sem­in­ary and Ef­fing­ham Aca­de­my. He orig­in­al­ly planned to be a doc­tor, but his love for mu­sic per­suad­ed him to pur­sue a ca­reer as a mu­si­cian.

He stu­died un­der Isaac Wood­bu­ry, a po­pu­lar teach­er of the day. Af­ter se­ver­al years of stu­dy in voice, pi­ano, and or­gan, he moved to Sa­lem, Mas­sa­chu­setts, be­gan teach­ing, and took charge of his first choir, at the sa­la­ry of $100 per year.

By 1853, he felt con­fi­dent enough of his abi­li­ties to show his mu­sic to the pub­lic. The Rom­berg Col­lection was sub­se­quent­ly pub­lished, but found lit­tle mar­ket.

After eight years in Sa­lem, Em­er­son moved to Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts, ac­cept­ing the po­si­tion of or­gan­ist and mu­sic­al di­rect­or at the Bul­finch Street Church.

In 1857, he be­came as­so­ci­at­ed with the Ol­iv­er Dit­son pub­lish­ers in Bos­ton.

Eventually, Find­lay Col­lege in Ohio award­ed Em­er­son the de­gree of Doc­tor of Mu­sic. He be­came mu­sic di­rect­or for the col­lege in 1891.