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The Lady Played the Trombone

... (and cornet, and drums)

1913 was a special year for women in Arizona. For the Phoenix Pioneer Band, it marked the appearance of their first woman member.

Noted in the Arizona Republican newspaper of May 12, 1913, “A new feature which has been recently introduced is that of the appearance with the band of lady musicians. One of the members of the organization which rendered a concert last evening was a lady trombonist. It is believed that with a little encouragement a number of excellent women musicians will gladly become identified with the band for the concert work.” An article the following year named the trombonist: Mrs. C. Hartman, known to friends as Emma, wife of barber Charles Hartman.

Emma C. Juleg Hartmann (later, Hartman) was something as a trailblazer for the women of Phoenix. Born in St. Louis, Missouri to German immigrants, she married at the age of 23 to Charles Hartmann, also a first-generation German-American. The couple moved to Phoenix soon after with their daughter, Viola.

Emma’s musical talent first broke in to Phoenix circles in 1906, when at the age of 27 she played the cornet in the Myrtle Orchestra. This ensemble may have been better termed a trio, as it was composed of Miss Myrtle Plough on violin, Mrs. May R. Porter on piano, and Emma, which must have made for some interesting music. Regardless, for at least two years they provided music at dances, fetes, and fraternal events in Phoenix and Mesa.

Emma was dedicated to her music. During her time playing with the Myrtle Orchestra, Emma spent several months in St. Louis studying with famed bandmaster and cornetist Charles Seymour. Seymour offered her a cornet position in his band, but she turned it down to return to Phoenix.

After the Myrtle Orchestra apparently broke up, Emma because associated with the Arizona School of Music, Phoenix’s main private music school, notable in part for their over-the-top Mission Revival building at 420 N. Central Ave. Mrs. Hartman played in the school’s Stuchal Orchestra (named for its concertmaster) from about 1911 to 1915, playing cornet at first, then switching to trombone.

Arizona School of Music (McCulloch Collection, Arizona State University)

At 34, Emma was evidently a sturdy woman in the pioneering spirit. In March of 1913, she entered a variety of competitions at the town picnic and came in first place in Ladies’ Ball Throwing, and second place in Throwing Ball Through Barrel and Ladies’ Nail Driving (16 seconds). (The following year she won nail driving as well as ball throwing.)

The year 1913 was a notable one in Phoenix history, for one big reason: it was the first year women had the right to vote in general elections. Arizona was a progressive state in women’s suffrage, but it was slow in coming. Efforts were made to pass it through the Territorial legislature (1883), in the Territorial Constitutional Convention (1891), through legislature again (1903), in and in the State constitution (1912), narrowly failing each time. But in the general election of 1912, a citizen’s initiative giving women the vote finally passed. Voter registrations opened up in 1913. Emma Hartman was near the front of the line to register, doing so in April, 1913.

RIGHT: Emma's the one holding the baby, about 1920. ( family photo)

Next thing you know, in May, 1913 Mrs. C. Hartman is playing trombone in the Pioneer Band, amongst 19 men. She was one of four trombonists.

While her time in the Pioneer Band was brief, she continued to be involved in musical pursuits, after 1918 playing drums in the Phoenix Ladies’ Orchestra (another trio), the City Band, and the City Orchestra.

The Hartmans moved in retirement to Glendale, California between 1937 and 1940, and Emma passed away in 1943 at the age of 63. And as far as we know, the ONLY woman member of the Phoenix Pioneer Band.

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