Emilie Wagner – Social Worker and Music Teacher

Emilie Wagner, Social Worker, Music Teacher

Her obituary as it appeared in the New York Times

Patchogue Advance, May 10, 1945

Train Hits Auto, Miss E. A. Wagner Dies, Brookhaven

Music Teacher Prominent As Social Worker

Founded Music Settlement in New York for Children in Slums More Than Half-century Ago

Miss Emilie A. Wagner, aged 66, of Hawkins lane, Brookhaven, a music teacher who founded the Music School settlement in New York 51 years ago, was killed at 3 p. m. Friday, when the car she was driving was struck by a Long Island railroad locomotive at the Yaphank avenue [now a/k/a Old Stump Road] grade crossing, Brookhaven.  She succumbed to a scull fracture.

The accident occurred during a fog.  The crossing is protected by a “stop” sign and a bell.

The Wagner car was being driven northward, and the locomotive was eastbound.

Miss Wagner was guest of honor at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Music School settlement a year ago in Town hall, New York.  The settlement was started with ten pupils and at its golden jubilee, it had more than 1,000.

Miss Wagner, who was born in New Bedford, Mass., was graduated from Goucher college, Baltimore, in 1894, when only 15 years old.  She then went to New York to help under-privileged children of the  lower East side receive instruction in music, which up to that time no one else had attempted.

She arrived in the city with only $50 in her pocket, but with a technical knowledge of the piano and violin and with the courage of her convictions.  Shortly after her arrival, she heard some children singing at the Sea and Land mission in Chatham square and asked the preacher if he knew any young persons who would like to have music lessons.  He got together a small class for her and thus the Music School settlement was born.

After two years at the mission, the class, which grew rapidly, received instruction from Miss Wagner at the College settlement in Rivington street.  Four years later, a whole house was taken at 31 Rivington street.  In 1901, the school moved to its present quarters at East Third street.

Besides her work in the city Miss Wagner did much as a volunteer teacher of children and organizer of entertainment in Brookhaven.

On order of Coroner Grover A. Silliman, M. D., of Sayville, who later gave a verdict of accidental death, the body was removed to the C. W. Ruland Sons’ Funeral chapel, North Ocean avenue, Patchogue, where the funeral service was held at 10 a. m. Monday, the Rev. Howard G. Clark, rector of Christ Episcopal church of Bellport, officiating.  Cremation followed at Fresh Pond, Queens.

Miss Wagner leaves a brother, Robert Wagner of California, and a cousin, Dr. Emily Pierson of Cromwell, Conn.