Biographies May Aufderheide, 1888-1972

Image: Cover of the Blue Ribbon Rag
Blue ribbon rag by May Aufderheide (Indianapolis, Ind.: J.F. Aufderheide, 1910). Performing Arts Reading Room, Library of Congress.

The participation of women in the world of ragtime should not come as a great surprise. May Aufderheide was perhaps the most famous woman to pen rags. A finishing school graduate, she was born in Indianapolis in May 1890. She learned to play the classics on the piano from her aunt May Kolmer, a noted musician, and was treated to the best music Europe had to offer when her parents took her on the traditional "grand tour."

Despite a serious grounding in art music, Aufderheide turned her attentions to ragtime. Her first rag, "Dusty," was published in 1908, the same year that she wed Thomas Kaufman. The early years of her marriage inspired a series of other compositions, among them "The Richmond Rag," "The Thriller Rag," and the "Novelty Rag."

By the 1920s, however, Aufderheide had stopped composing. Problems with an alcoholic husband and a deeply troubled adopted child allowed her no time or peace for artistic activities. After their deaths in the late 1950s, crippling arthritis and a series of strokes made it impossible for her to return to the piano. Aufderheide died in California in September 1972.

Selected Works at the Library of Congress

About this Item

Title
May Aufderheide, 1888-1972
Subject Headings
-  Aufderheide, May -- 1888-1972 -- -- composer
-  Popular Songs of the Day
-  Songs and Music
-  Progressive Era to New Era (1900-1929)
-  Biographies
Genre
biography
Online Format
online text
Description
Biography. Biography. Despite a serious grounding in art music, Aufderheide turned her attentions to ragtime. Her first rag, "Dusty," was published in 1908, the same year that she wed Thomas Kaufman. The early years of her marriage inspired a series of other compositions, among them "The Richmond Rag," "The Thriller Rag," and the "Novelty Rag."
Additional Metadata Formats
METSXML Record

Rights & Access

Rights assessment is your responsibility.

The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as holders of publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may be content that is protected as "works for hire" (copyright may be held by the party that commissioned the original work) and/or under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.

Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permission ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Users should consult the bibliographic information that accompanies each item for specific information. This catalog data provides the details known to the Library of Congress regarding the corresponding items and may assist users in making independent assessments of the legal status of these items as related to their desired uses.

Items included here with the permission of the rights holders are indicated as such in the bibliographic record for each item.

In some cases, the Library was unable to identify a possible rights holder and has elected to place some of those items online as an exercise of fair use for strictly non-commercial educational uses. The Library of Congress would like to learn more about these materials and would like to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information or know of their history. Please contact:  Performing Arts Reading Room.

Suggested credit line: Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as holders of publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may be content that is protected as "works for hire" (copyright may be held by the party that commissioned the original work) and/or under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.

Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permission ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Users should consult the bibliographic information that accompanies each item for specific information. This catalog data provides the details known to the Library of Congress regarding the corresponding items and may assist users in making independent assessments of the legal status of these items as related to their desired uses.

Items included here with the permission of the rights holders are indicated as such in the bibliographic record for each item.

In some cases, the Library was unable to identify a possible rights holder and has elected to place some of those items online as an exercise of fair use for strictly non-commercial educational uses. The Library of Congress would like to learn more about these materials and would like to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information or know of their history. Please contact:  Performing Arts Reading Room.

Suggested credit line: Library of Congress, Music Division.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

May Aufderheide, 1888 to 1972. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200035820/. (Accessed September 21, 2017.)

APA citation style:

May Aufderheide, 1888 to 1972. [Online Text] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200035820/.

MLA citation style:

May Aufderheide, 1888 to 1972. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200035820/>.