Distinguished Staff Alumni » Hannah Babcock

Hannah Babcock

Hannah Babcock
Emeritus Director of Music
At twenty-one years of age, Miss Babcock became in 1876 a teacher of music at the New York Institute. She had studied with Albert Ross Parsons, a master musician and thus brought exceptional training as well as remarkable native ability to the task. And for many years she gave without stint of her best to helping in the artistic development of blind boys and girls in this school. She was a paragon of devotion as well as a teacher of great skill and success. When she began to teach in the school of which her uncle, Mr. Wait was superintendent, she had no thought that all her professional life was to be bound up with its service.Hannah Babcock

Increasingly however, she became a power in the school, was presently made chief of the music department, and as low; as she had physical strength she served the school and its pupils with zeal and success. While her first thought was always of this school she was able through her labors here to become musical leader to the largest number of the blind in the United States.

She was co-laborer with Mr. Wait in producing a large volume of useful material in New York Point, including piano, organ, voice compositions and standard books for the serious studies of the art. These became available for all the country through the American Printing House for the Blind. Thus in a very large sense she became music mistress to the blind of the United States.

Miss Babcock's influence in molding the musical careers of her pupils was immense; but she added much to the general spirit of the school by her enthusiasm, her buoyancy, her masterful optimism. She developed interests outside the school and kept herself close to great movements that spurred her to personal growth and kept her own spirit fresh and vigorous.

Since her retirement in 1914 from active service, though retaining connection with the Institute as Emeritus Director of Music and always maintaining a living interest in the school's work and in its pupils' musical achievements, she has enjoyed the exercise of her functions as active member of Sorosis, the oldest woman's club in the world, in serving the causes of temperance, woman's suffrage, religion, patriotism through various organizations with which she was affiliated. These closing years were rich in the abundant life of a cultivated, vibrant, vigorous personality. Miss Babcock died suddenly June 24, 1931.

From: NYIEB Yearbook 1931 - Ninety-sixth Annual Report of the Board of Managers, pg 37-39.
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