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Ida Bowser Asbury

February 2, 2012

Ida Bowser Asbury (1870 – 1955)  was born the daughter of a painter and his wife in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 19th, 1870. She was of African- American, Indian, English and Scottish decent. Her talents in music led her to pursue a Certificate of Proficiency in Music at the University of Pennsylvania in 1887.  She promptly earned her degree in June of 1890, becoming the first African-American woman to graduate from Penn.

Soon after her graduation, she became a noted violinist and an influential music teacher until her marriage to a successful attorney named John Cornelius Asbury in 1901.  She later became a member of the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons. After an accomplished life, she passed away at the age of 75 in 1955.

 Janese Jackson, CAS ’14

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