Woman of the Century/Julia E. Houston West
WEST, Mrs. Julia E. Houston, soprano singer, born in Ashhumham, Mass., 22nd June, 1832. She is descended from the Tread wells, of Portsmouth, and other well-known families. Taste and talent for music were her inheritance from her father, who was a good general musician and 'cello player, and her mother, who was for several years the chief singer in Dr. Duckinersher's church, in Portsmouth. At an early age her accurate ear and fine voice began to attract notice. She sang in public at fourteen, and at eighteen took the leading part when "The Song of the Bell" was given in Fitchburg. Her singing attracted so much notice that she at once received an invitation from the organists, Bricker and Bancroft, to enter the quartet which they were directing in Boston. She sang for some years in Worcester, and in 1856 she accepted a place in Boston, in Dr. E. E. Hale's church. There she remained three years, when she accepted a call to the Old South Church. In 1867 she returned to Dr. Hale's church, where she remained until her withdrawal from church work, in 1881. The record of oratorio music in the principal cities of the country bears her name as that of one of its greatest exponents. During the war she was often heard in patriotic assemblies, and she sang in the "Ode to Saint Cecilia" at the dedication of the great organ in Music Hall, in the second Jubilee in Boston, in the great celebration in that city of the Emancipation Proclamation, and lately in the festivities on the two-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of Haverhill, Mass. She has sung in oratorio in New York. Chicago, Philadelphia and JULIA E. HOUSTON WEST. Washington. She has appeared with Parepa, Formes. Adelaide Phillips, Nilsson, Guerrabella, Rudersdorf and many others. She visited Europe, where she studied with Randegger and Madame Dolby. She sang in a reception in Rev. Newman Hall's church, in London. Her voice is an extended mezzo-soprano of even quality. She was married in 1870 to James F. West, a well-known business man of Haverhill, Mass., where she now resides.