Collection Number: MS 321

Physical Location: Archive Room File Cabinet

Extent: 1 folder.

Creators/Collectors: Powell, John

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

User Restrictions: Gloves must be worn when handling photographs.

Preferred Citation: John Powell Photograph, MS 321, Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Mrs. Lila Marshall, 1996.


Biographical/Historical Information:

John Henry Powell was a world-renowned pianist and composer who was born in Richmond, Virginia on September 6, 1882. He studied music under F. C. Hahr and after graduating from the University of Virginia in 1901, he went to Berlin to study under Theodor Leschetizky. His professional debut as a pianist was in Vienna in 1906 and he spent the next eight years performing in Europe. His first American tour was in 1916. In 1928 he married Louise Burleigh (1890-1961), a playwright and artist in her own right.

Some of Powell’s musical works include “Sonata Virginianesque”, “Sonata A Flat”, “Sonate Noble”, “Rhapsodie Negre”, “Natchez-On-the Hill”, “Variations and Double-Fuge”, and “Overture: In Old Virginia”. His folksongs include “At the Fair”, “Hoochee-Coochee Dance”, “Circassian Beauty”, “Merry-go-round”, “Clowns”, “Snake-Charmer”, “Banjo-Picker”, “In the Hammock”, “Dirge”, “From a Loved Past”, and “In the South”.

Powell was passionate about the preservation of folk music that he considered to be “Anglo Saxon.” He uncovered folk songs and ballads and played them in concerts so that more people could enjoy the music and its history.

Powell is also well known for his work in eugenics which began in the early 1920s. He supported racial integrity legislation that passed the General Assembly of Virginia in 1926. He proposed amendments to the legislation and encouraged other states to follow Virginia’s laws as a model to prevent “mongolization” of the white race. He worked closely with Earnest Sevier Cox, Madison Grant, Dr. Walter Ashby Plecker, Lothrop Stoddard, H. Norton Mason, Marcus Garvey, and promoted the Anglo-Saxon Clubs of America in an effort to preserve the white race in America. He also edited the writings of his colleagues and had a close relationship with The Richmond-Times Dispatch. He was considered by many to be “the founding father of racial integrity legislation” in Virginia.

John Powell died in Richmond, Virginia in 1963.

Scope and Content: This is a photograph of John Powell and includes an autograph and inscription of music by Powell.

Persons: Powell, John.

Subjects: Powell, John -- 1882-1963 -- Portraits

Record Types: Photographs.