Clara L Scudder was very accomplished on the piano and organ. She learned from her father David Scudder who was a member of Craig’s Orchestra.
She went to Scotland and Europe to play in 1901-1902 (she appears on the 1901 Scotland Census as a visitor to Mary Jane Cargill in Glasgow) and William Ashby claims she went to England as a child prodigy. She certainly appears in New York papers from 1890, when she would have been 16. She was an organist at St. Augustine Church Brooklyn likely during this time period. She was listed as an organ teacher at the St. Augustine School in Raleigh, NC in 1907-1909.
She traveled with Loudin’s Concert Company as a singer and accompanist. She was organist for 14 years at St. Philips Church in Newark. She lived in Newark from at least 1885 until the end of her life in 1930. She is listed on censuses as an organist teacher.
William Ashby wrote, “In Newark, Negroes had a distinct cultural life. Certainly its most distinguished feature was the Sunday Afternoon Lyceum. [page 13] The meetings were held on Sunday afternoon[s?]… The favorite instrumentalist was Miss Clara Scudder. She was a marvel on the piano. “
Scotland 1901 Census
|Name:||Clara L Scudder|
|Estimated Birth Year:||abt 1875|
|Where born:||USA, New York|
|Civil parish:||Glasgow St Stephens|
|Address:||172 Sauchichall Street|
|Occupation:||Fish Jubilee Singer|
|ED:||The Waverley Temperance Hotel|
The Colored American, Dec 6, 1902, pg 4
Ashby, William. “Reflections of the Life of the Negro in Newark 1910-1916“
Ad from Richmond Plant, December 27, 1902
“Negro Problem” Standard-Union, Dec 5, 1894
Brooklyn Briefs The New York Age, Jan 9, 1892
“The Colored Congregations” Brooklyn Daily Eagle Jan 9, 1892
“Bloomfield and Montclair” Newark News, Nov 11, 1898, pg. 5
“Newark School Matters.” New York Age, Feb 8, 1890
Annual Catalogue of St. Augustine’s School, 1907-1909
1901 Scotland Census