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.