What is a choir mother?

I was researching the descendants of Abraham Lincoln the other day and I learned that Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln’s granddaughter, (Robert’s daughter, aka Mamie) was married to Charles Bradford Isham, and that she was what was referred to as a “choir mother” at Grace Church, where I now sing with the Choral Society of Grace Church.

I don’t technically know what a choir mother is, but I can guess. When Grace Church decided in 1892 to have a vested choir of men and boys, they also built a boarding school to house and educate the boys. I’m guessing the choir mother was there to look after and be a surrogate mother of sorts to the boys who were now away from their families?

I took this on the way to choir rehearsal last night. I love people. I love that someone painted this on a board built around a construction site. I’m also trying very hard not to think too much about the fact that in just a couple of hours I will once again be under the knife (oral surgery, related to a dental implant I may or may not be getting depending on how this second bone grft went, and I will find that out today).

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

4 thoughts on “What is a choir mother?

  1. Good luck on the bone graft. Let us know how it went when you are able.

    So sick of rain here in the South, dismal and bleak. But I’ve been hibernating and updating my blog every day. Can’t wait to see the sunshine on Friday.

  2. Hope all went well today and that you’re in recovery mode with Finney and Bleeck providing comfort, or at least, diversion.

  3. Everything went fine, but I’m just so tired of healing and looking weird. I want this to be over!! But thank you for asking.

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