Woman of the Century/Kate J. Brainard
KATE J. BRAINARD. BRAINARD, Mrs. Kate J., musical educator, born in New York City, 18th February, 1835. Her father. Rev. D. K. Jones, compiler of the first hymn and tune book ever used and made popular in this country, was of Welsh descent. Her mother was a woman of great natural gifts, both of voice and mind, and a regular contributor to the literature of the day. The daughter inherited in a marked degree their musical talent. When but a very little girl, she studied the elements of music under her father and began piano lessons when seven years old. At an early age she surprised her friends by carrying the alto in part-singing, "making it up" with wonderful correctness. At fifteen she was obliged to begin to earn her living by teaching piano. At the same time her musical studies were faithfully carried on under the best masters. Vocal lessons were begun at that time and she made rapid progress in florid singing. Her last year in the East was spent with the best vocal teachers in Boston. In 1855 she moved to Chicago and there became quite noted as a vocalist In 1858 she was married, and in 1865 moved to St. Louis, where she was looked upon as one of the leading sopranos, receiving a large salary in one of the choirs. In 1866 Mrs. Brainard assumed charge of the music in Mary Institute, the female department of Washington University, numbering in recent years nearly four-hundred girls. Mrs. Brainard's class-work, as systematized and developed in that institute, is remarkable. During her career in Mary Institute she has frequently spent her vacations in the East with some prominent teacher, to obtain new ideas for her work. Among these was a trip to Europe, where she studied in Paris and London with Viardot, Garcia and Sainton Dolby. Many girls with promising voices have been started on their musical career by Mrs. Brainard. During the past twenty-five years her name has been associated with the progress of musical art in St. Louis, and many singers now prominent as professionals or amateurs refer to her as their conscientious guide during their struggles and studies. She has been deeply and actively interested in church work since she was thirteen years old, at which time she united with Dr. Hatfield's church in New York City. During forty-three years of teaching she has done an enormous amount of labor, having gained a reputation abroad as well as at home. Mrs. Brainard gives a portion of her time to private pupils.