Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Chadwick O. Jenkins

Committee Members

Philip Lambert

Anne Stone

Denise Von Glahn


George Chadwick, Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, MacDowell Colony, Edward MacDowell


This dissertation examines constructions of New England identity and changing perceptions of urban and rural by investigating the history and reception of four American composers between 1885 and 1935: George Chadwick, Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, and Edward MacDowell. Using the concept of place as a critical lens, I examine how each composer engages, consciously or not, with regional identity myths and narratives, often present in other New England literature, poetry, art, and music.

In the Chadwick, Ives, and Ruggles chapters, I examine how one representative work both reflects and constructs the composer’s sense of place drawn from their experience of Boston, Massachusetts, Danbury, Connecticut, and Arlington, Vermont, respectively. In the MacDowell chapter, the focus is on the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Each case study reveals how similar aspects of a place-based New England identity, and its associated myths and historical narratives, affected these disparate composers and locations. Often the choices made by these composers have ramifications, intended or not, that reveal certain ideological positions reflective of their experience of place.