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Louisa Melvin Delos Mars
African American Woman
Composer
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Pianist
A musical pioneer
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Louisa Melvin Delos Mars

Louisa Melvin Delos Mars
Louisa Melvin Delos Mars, was one of the first African Americans to graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music, and the first African American woman to have an opera produced. The opera, "Leoni, the Gypsy Queen", was performed in Providence, Rhode Island in 1889. Louisa also directed, produced, and performed in her own operettas. She composed and copyrighted five full length musical dramas between 1889 and 1926. [Photo: The Colored American Magazine (vol. 5 1902)]

Details on her life are scant....born Louisa Melvin in Providence, Rhode Island around 1858. She was the oldest daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Melvin. During the 1880s she and her younger sister, Carrie Melvin Lucas, formed a duo, with Carrie playing violin and cornet with Louisa singing. Her sister, Carrie Melvin Lucas was the second wife of famous vaudevillian, Sam Lucas. The couple (who would later divorce) had a child who became a popular musician in her own right, Maria Lucas (Louisa's niece). [Info: American Opera by Elise K. Kirk]

I found on a census site that she was married to a man named William Delos Mars who lived from 1856 to 1927. The couple had two sons, Charles born May 19, 1883, and Christian born December 23, 1886 both in Providence, Rhode Island.

I'm unable at this point to find any more info on Louisa's life or for that matter when and where she died.

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