Edward MacDowell's Mysterious Malady

Schwab, Arnold T.
March 2006
Musical Quarterly;Spring2006, Vol. 89 Issue 1, p136
Academic Journal
The article discusses the investigation on the illness of American composer, Edward MacDowell. He is the first American composer to become internationally famous, and is considered by American critics as the prime local music contributor. However, his career is shortened by illness, and then an early death. His wife, Marian Nevins MacDowell writes their memoirs, which she entrusts to her foster daughter, Nina Maud Richardson. Miss Richardson turns over the material to the Library of Congress. James Huneker's account hints at syphilis due to the use of the term "locomotor ataxia". It is Dr. Loomis LeGrand Danforth's record on MacDowell's death certificate that declares the cause of death as Pareses (Dementia Paralytica) which can be the result of syphilis.


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