Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

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Loraine Wyman Collection (Ethno.Arc.0128)

Brown University Library

Orwig Music Building
1 Young Orchard Avenue
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401-863-3759

Biographical note

Loraine Wyman was a professional singer and folklorist in the early part of the twentieth century. The youngest of Walter and Julie Wyman's three daughters, Loraine was born in Evanston, Illinois on October 23, [1885?]. When their parents separated, Loraine and her sister Florence accompanied their mother's move to Paris. There she studied singing with Blanche Marchesi. Wyman spent much of her adolescence in France, and there began her career as a professional singer, studying voice with Yvette Guilbert. She developed an extensive repertoire including classical and romantic lieder and chansons, opera and English and French folk songs.

Around 1910, Wyman moved back to the United States and became a popular recitalist giving performances in New York, Chicago, Montreal, Cleveland, Newport and many other cities. Eager to expand her repertoire, Wyman and her accompanist, Howard Brockway spent six weeks in 1916 collecting folk songs in the Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky. In addition to presenting recitals of these songs, she and Brockway published two collections of arrangements: Lonesome Tunes (New York: H.W. Gray, 1916) and Twenty Kentucky Mountain Songs (Boston: O. Ditson, 1920). She also published an article in the Journal of American Folklore describing her work collecting songs in Perce, Quebec.

In the mid 1920's, she married Henry McMahon Painter, a doctor. For a time they lived in Grez-sur-Loin in France. After returning to New York, Painter died in March of 1934 and Wyman on September 11, 1937.