New Books Network

Glenda Goodman

Cultivated by Hand

Amateur Musicians in the Early American Republic

Oxford University Press 2020

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in HistoryNew Books in MusicNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & Society September 10, 2020 Kristen Turner

Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven were all working in Europe during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, so perhaps it is no surprise that...

Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven were all working in Europe during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, so perhaps it is no surprise that musicologists have diligently studied these men and their music. Yet, the musical culture of the generation born around the time of the Revolution in the United States has been all but ignored.

In Cultivated by Hand: Amateur Musicians in the Early American Republic (Oxford University Press), Glenda Goodman begins to remedy this oversight. Through a penetrating examination of music manuscript books, Goodman analyzes the gendered and classed dynamics of the white New England gentry who made these hand-copied music documents. She also reveals how enslaved labor supported the wealth that allowed her subjects the leisure and resources to participate in amateur music making.

These books, often but not exclusively created by women, are intertwined in the developing culture of a new nation and expose America’s dependence upon British artistic production.

Glenda Goodman is an assistant professor of music at the University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in seventeenth and eighteenth century American music. Widely published in musicology and history journals, Goodman was an ACLS postdoctoral fellow in the history department at the University of Southern California.


Kristen M. Turner is a lecturer in the music and honors departments at North Carolina State University. Her research centers on race and class in American popular entertainment at the turn of the twentieth century.