Penn Library Department of Special Collections

William Penn

Keffer Collection of Sheet Music,
ca. 1790-1895

Content and design by John Bewley

Collection History
Guide Statistics
Focus on Philadelphia
Composers Publishers Lithographers Images and Music
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Philadelphia Composers and Music Publishers: Septimus Winner (1827-1902)

Portrait of Septimus Winner, ca. 1850s
Septimus Winner
Portrait of Septimus Winner, ca. 1870s
Septimus Winner

Septimus Winner, composer, teacher, performer, and music publisher, was born the seventh child to Joseph E. and Mary Ann Hawthorne Winner on May 11, 1827 in Philadelphia. Joseph E. Winner was an instrument maker specializing in violins. Mary Ann Winner was a relative of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Septimus later used the Hawthorne name as part of his pseudonym, Alice Hawthorne. He also used other pseudonymns during his career, including Mark Mason, Percy Guyer, and Paul Stenton.

Septimus Winner attended Philadelphia Central High School. Although largely self-taught in the area of music, Winner did take music lessons from Leopold Meignen around 1853. By that time he was already active as a teacher of the violin, guitar, banjo, and other instruments and was performing locally with the orchestra of the Musical Fund Society, the Cecillian Musical Society, and the Philadelphia Brass Band.

From around 1845 to 1854 Septimus Winner was partners with his brother Joseph Eastburn Winner in the music publishing business. Septimus continued to operate music publishing firms under slightly different name forms until 1902. He partnered with William H. Shuster as Winner & Shuster from 1853 to 1856, with M. A. Smith as Winner & Co. in 1863, with James F. Ferguson as Sep. Winner & Co. in 1866 to 1867, and with his son J. Gibson Winner as Sep. Winner & Son from 1873 to 1897.

Winner is best known for his popular songs, many of them published under the name Alice Hawthorne. These songs were so popular that they became known as a genre, Hawthorne's Ballads. In 1854 Winner arranged and added words to a melody written by Richard Milburn, a local singer and guitarist who worked in Winner's music store. Winner published the song as Listen to the Mocking Bird in 1855 under the Alice Hawthorne name and credited Milburn for the composition of the melody. He reportedly sold the rights of the song to another Philadephia music publisher, Lee & Walker, for five dollars and subsequent publications omitted Milburn's name from the credits. Listen to the Mocking Bird was immensely popular, selling close to fifteen million copies in the United States and more than five million in England and Europe.

Another of Winner's many songs is still familiar to audiences today, though not necessarily by its original title. Der Deitcher's Dog, or Oh where, oh where ish mine little dog gone is a text that Winner set to the German folk tune Im Lauterbach hab'ich mein' Strumpf verlorn in 1864. It too achieved tremendous success during Winner's lifetime.

Winner gained a great deal of notoriety in 1862 when he was arrested for treason after writing and publishing the song, Give Us Back Our Old Commander: Little Mac, the People's Pride. He wrote the song after General George B. McClellan was discharged as commander of the Army of the Potomac by President Lincoln. There was considerable popular support for McClellan and the song sold eighty thousand copies in the first two days it was available. Winner was released from arrest only when he agreed to destroy all remaining copies of the song. It resurfaced in 1864 when McClellan was a candidate for the presidency and was adopted in 1880, with new words, as a campaign song during Ulysses S. Grant's candidacy for a third term as president.

In addition to composing popular songs, Winner also produced more than two hundred instruction method books for more than twenty-three instruments. He wrote more than fifteen hundred easy arrangements for various instruments and almost two thousand arrangements for violin and piano.

The collection contains approximately seventy works by Septimus Winner. In addition to the these works, Winner also published two series: Sep. Winner's Penny Music, of which the collection holds fifty titles, and Hawthorne Ballads, of which the collection contains five titles.

Selected Compositions by Septimus Winner in the Collection

Item No.TitleImprintPlate No.Illustration
Box 14
no. 10
Col. Ellsworth's Funeral March / composed and respectfully dedicated to Francis E. Brownell Esq. by Sep. Winner Philadelphia : Lee & Walker, 1861 8265.4 Portrait of Colonel Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth / T. Sinclair's Lith.
Box 23
no. 7
Der Deitcher's Dog : comic ballad / by Sep. Winner Philadelphia : Sep. Winner & Co., 1864 None Decorative title page / Geo. F. Swain
Box 15
no. 47
Gen. Halleck's Grand March : op. 931 / by Sep. Winner Philadelphia : Lee & Walker, 1862 8638.4 Portrait of Major General Henry Wager Halleck / T. Sinclair's Lith.
Box 15
no. 21
General Hancock's Grand March / composed by Sep. Winner Philadelphia : Lee & Walker, 1864 9065.3 Portrait of General Winfield Scott Hancock
Box 23
no. 15
Gentle Maggie, I'm Coming Home from the Sea : a ballad : companion to Maggie by My Side / words and music by Alice Hawthorn [sic] Philadelphia : Lee & Walker, 1858 6526.4 Ornamental frame around title
Box 23
no. 18
The Heart's Mission : ballad. No. 34 / words and music by Alice Hawthorne Philadelphia : Lee & Walker, 1857 5924.4 Title set within a heart that has rays emanating from it / R. M. Gaw
Box 23
no. 22
How Sweet Are the Roses / by Alice Hawthorne Philadelphia : Winner & Shuster, 1853 None Young woman in front of whom sits a dog holding a rose in its mouth / Sarony & Co.
Box 23
no. 30
Listen to the Mocking Bird : as sung by Rose Merrifield / written and arranged by Alice Hawthorne Philadelphia : Lee & Walker, 1856 None A Mocking Bird
Box 23
no. 53
The Little Church Around the Corner / by Alice Hawthorne Philadelphia : Lee and Walker, 1871 11560-4 Church of the Transfiguration, New York / Herline & Co. Lith.
Box 23
no. 34
Maryland, My Maryland / Union words adpated and music arranged by Sep. Winner
Music adapted from the tune O Tannenbaum
Philadelphia : Lee & Walker, 1862 None Eagle bearing a banner "E Pluribus Unum"
Box 23
no. 37
My Cottage Home / by Alice Hawthorne Philadelphia : Winner & Shuster, 1853 None Young boy and girl sitting on the steps of a cottage
Box 15
no. 67
Rosecrans' Military Schottisch / composed by Sep. Winner Philadelphia : Winner & Co., 1863 None Portrait of General William S. Rosecrans / T. Sinclair's Lith.
Box 23
no. 52
Take Me Mother in Thy Lap / song & chorus / words by Alice Hawthorn[e] ; music by Sep. Winner Cleveland : S. Brainard's Sons, 1871 3566-3 Portrait of a child / S. S. Frizzell ; J. H. Bufford's Lith.
Box 23
no. 55
Village Polka Quadrilles / composed and arranged for the piano forte and respectfully dedictaed to John W. Gaul by Septimus Winner. 2nd ed. Philadelphia : S. Winner, 1850 None Color: young man and woman dancing. A village is in the background and a stream in the foreground / Winner Delk. ; printed by Wagner & McGuigan
Box 23
no. 61
The Wyoming Waltz / respectfully dedicated to Miss Maggie A. Swetland by her friend S. W. of Philada. Philadelphia : Winner & Shuster, 1854 None Small boat with two people in it on a moonlit river / Lith. of A. Brett


Philadelphia Music Publishers

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