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Purdy, William T. 1882 - 1918 | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Purdy, William T. 1882 - 1918

Purdy, William T. 1882 - 1918 | Wisconsin Historical Society

music teacher, composer, b. Aurora, N.Y. He attended Hamilton College. In 1906 he moved to Chicago, where he worked as a clerk in the office of a local corporation and was part-time music instructor at the Drexel Conservatory. Encouraged by a college classmate, Carl Beck, who wrote the words, Purdy composed the music of the song, "On Wisconsin," and personally introduced it to the student body of the Univ. of Wisconsin on Nov. 10, 1909. Unable to derive a living from his other compositions, Purdy returned to Aurora, N.Y., where he died penniless, suffering from tuberculosis nine years later. Madison Capital Times, Feb. 17, 1919; W. A. Titus, Wis. Writers (Chicago, 1930).

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[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]