Grateful American® Foundation

Hey all you music fans: When, and where, did the first music store open in the US?

December 13th

gwmusic4December 13, 1759 — The first music store in America opened today in Philadelphia by Michael Hillegas. In 1757, the first public concert took place in town. And historians tell us that as early as 1730 music lessons began to be advertised in what would become “the city of brotherly love.”

Of course, strict Calvinists and Quakers were opposed to the enjoyment and playing of music, which they considered a worldly amusement and therefore it was unholy. In 1716, Quakers in Philadelphia advised members of the Society of Friends “against going to or being in any way concerned in plays, games, lotteries, music and dancing.'”

So an entire shop that sold music — including ballads, carols, folk songs, hymns, and ribald songs performed in taverns — was a dramatic shift in beliefs and behaviors. Among the shop’s collection was secular music.

Words of Wisdom

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.

— Plato (424-347 BC) was a philosopher and mathematician in Classical Greece, and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world

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