Born: March 20, 1833, Stock­bridge, Ver­mont.

Died: Jan­u­a­ry 20, 1914, Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois.

Buried: Grace­land Ce­me­te­ry, Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois.



Henry was the son of Or­son Per­kins and bro­ther of Will­iam Per­kins.

He in­her­it­ed mu­sic­al tal­ent from his par­ents: his fa­ther was a not­ed sing­ing teach­er, and his mo­ther an ex­cel­lent vo­cal­ist.

He re­ceived his first mu­sic­al train­ing from his fa­ther, and at­tend­ed some of the best lit­er­a­ry schools in his youth. His for­mal mu­sic ed­uc­a­tion be­gan in 1857, when he en­tered the Bos­ton Mu­sic School, where he gra­du­at­ed in 1861.

For over 20 years, Per­kins de­vot­ed con­sid­er­a­ble time to con­duct­ing mu­sic fes­ti­vals and con­ven­tions through­out Am­er­i­ca, from Maine to Ca­li­for­nia, and in teach­ing in nor­mal mu­sic schools in New York, Ohio, In­di­a­na, Wis­con­sin, Io­wa, Col­o­ra­do, Kan­sas, and Tex­as.

He al­so served as Pro­fess­or of Mu­sic at the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Io­wa (1867–69); prin­ci­pal of the Io­wa Aca­de­my of Mu­sic, Io­wa City, for five years; and prin­ci­pal at the Kan­sas Nor­mal Mu­sic School for five con­se­cu­tive sum­mers.

He com­posed vo­cal mu­sic for choirs, Sun­day schools, pub­lic schools, cho­ral so­ci­e­ties, con­ven­tions and fes­ti­vals.

He helped or­gan­ize the Mu­sic Teach­ers’ Na­tion­al As­so­ci­a­tion in 1876, and served in near­ly ev­ery of­fi­cial ca­pa­ci­ty in that or­gan­i­za­tion, 1887–97.

He al­so or­gan­ized the Il­li­nois Mu­sic Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion in 1886, and served as its pre­si­dent for 10 years.

He set­tled in Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois, in 1872, and was a not­ed mu­sic cri­tic for pa­pers there. In 1891, he es­tab­lished the Chi­ca­go Na­tion­al Col­lege of Mu­sic.