It only took me three years to complete this particular Gena project. Three years, yet, I kept at it even though I did take extended breaks at times to work on other Gena projects that needed attention. Three years……
From December 1910 to December 1951 Gena wrote hundreds of letters to these people. Forty-one years of handwritten letters almost impossible to decipher at times because of her terrible penmanship and she always wrote in haste….even she admitted that.
Her narrative of being invited to join, as one of the first women composers, the National League of American Pen Women….an honor that she describes as being “thrilled as a child at Christmas.”
What did I learn most of all about Miss Branscombe ? – perseverance, determination, generosity, self-promotion, graciousness, strength of character for no matter the ups and downs and frustration. All these attributes she maintained as a professional inspiring optimistic influence on herself then sharing these with her family, friends, colleagues and anyone who walked into her path of life.
“There has been something on my mind for some time – and I hope you won’t think me a very – meddlesome – sort of person – to be thinking about it even. But it’s this – you published American compositions long before other people. You’ve published more big things – with no hope of financial return – you’ve published more American women’s things than anyone else - and all this in the days when it wasn’t fashionable and patriotic – and all that to boost American music! I feel that that thing should be recognized and known and advertised in a strong way. You’ll probably just think I’m – very fresh – but I know I’m right. I think it would be most interesting to know – to have a complete record – of all the American compositions of your catalogue published long before the tide began to turn in favor of giving the American composer a chance. Forgive me if I rush in.”
Ever thankful for having a publisher who understood the importance of our country’s musical talent, Gena wrote hundreds of letters to Mr. Schmidt and his employees grateful for their support, appreciative of their hard work promoting her music and always sending those all-important royalty checques!