Clara L Scudder


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
Registration Number:644/7
Registration district:Blythswood
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

The Crisis, May 1930

Census Records

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