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Michael Cummings collection of P.S. Gilmore

Collection IM-M135-2004: Michael Cummings collection of P.S. Gilmore


  • Creation: 1850 - 2004

Scope and Contents

The Michael Cummings Collection of P.S. Gilmore Materials documents the life and music career of Irish-American Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore and highlights the activities of the Patrick S. Gilmore Society, founded by Michael Cummings in Boston in 1969. The collection was artificially created by Michael Cummings and includes correspondence, concert programs, photographs, and lithographs, audio and visual recordings, and newspaper and magazine articles. Much of the material documents the National Peace Jubilee of 1869 and the World's Peace Jubilee of 1872, both held in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition, the correspondence and newspaper articles from the nineteenth century are copies of original documents.

Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. The wax cylinder is not accessible, and access to the remaining audio and video recordings requires advance notice.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note

Patrick Sarsfield (P.S.) Gilmore, the "Father of the American Concert Band," was born in County Galway, Ireland, on December 25, 1829. Most sources give the town of Ballygar as Gilmore's birthplace.

His musical career began when he started playing the flute as a teenager. With no positions available for flutists in the Athlone-based Irish Regiment band, Gilmore switched to the cornet. Gilmore accompanied the Irish Regiment when it went to Canada in 1848. Shortly thereafter he moved to Boston, where he worked with a local music publisher and dealer. In the 1850s Gilmore opened his own music store, earned a reputation as a cornetist, and conducted several bands in and around Boston.

When the Civil War broke out, the Boston band that he organized in 1859 enlisted with the Union Army via the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers. Although the band's tenure with the army lasted less than a year, it performed musical and medical duties at several battles including Bull Run and Antietam. For the duration of the war, Gilmore was in charge of reorganizing the Massachusetts military bands and managing the music for the inauguration of the Louisiana governor in 1864.

Gilmore's popularity and prestige were particularly enhanced by his organization and staging of two music festivals: the National Peace Jubilee of 1869 to raise money for the widows and orphans of Civil War soldiers, and the World's Peace Jubilee of 1872 in honor of the end of the Franco-Prussian War. Both events were held in Boston, Massachusetts, and both jubilees were large-scale festivals (the first lasting five days and the second lasting eighteen days) that included vocal and instrumental music. For each occasion, special coliseums were constructed to house the large band, choir, and audiences; the first coliseum (the "grand") and the second coliseum (he "great") could hold tens of thousands of people.

After the conclusion of the second jubilee, Gilmore turned his attention back to conducting bands, where he integrated more and more woodwinds (based upon European models) into what had traditionally been brass bands. Gilmore began leading the New York Twenty-seventh Regiment Band in 1873. He led this band for almost twenty years during which it performed nearly once a day.

In addition to conducting bands, organizing, and managing music programs, Gilmore also authored several pieces of music and poems, including "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."

Gilmore died unexpectedly in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 24, 1892.

Sources: Jere T. Humphreys. "Strike Up the Band! The Legacy of Patrick S. Gilmore." Music Educators Journal 74, no. 2 (October 1987): 22-26.


14.25 Linear Feet (12 containers)

Language of Materials



The Michael Cummings Collection of P.S. Gilmore documents the music career of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, American band conductor and composer, and the activities of the Patrick S. Gilmore Society. The collection particularly highlights the National Peace Jubilee of 1869 and the World's Peace Jubilee of 1872, with programs, lithographs, tickets, medals and bookmarks. The collection also includes correspondence, photographs, and newspaper and magazine articles.


Arranged into seven series. I. P.S. Gilmore Biographical Information; II. Music and Concert Programs; III. Sheet Music; IV. Graphic Materials; V. the Patrick S. Gilmore Society; VI. Artifacts; and VII. Audio and Video.


Purchased from Michael Cummings (2004). One of the National and World's Peace Jubilee Medals from 1869 was a gift from Tim Clancy (2006).

Related Materials

Patrick Gilmore Collection at the University of Maryland.

Processing Information

Published materials received from Michael Cummings have been cataloged and can be located in the Boston College Libraries online catalog by using advanced search Local Collection Name and entering "CUMMINGS".

Processing Information

As a result of a library systems change in 2017, the identification number of this collection was modified from M135_2004-1 to IM.M135.2004.

Michael Cummings Collection of P.S. Gilmore
Sarah K. Nytroe
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States