Dresser [Dreiser], (John) Paul
- Deane L. Root
(b Terre Haute, IN, April 22, 1858; d New York, Jan 30, 1906). American songwriter, lyricist, publisher and performer. He was the brother of the novelist Theodore Dreiser. He learned the guitar and piano, and at the age of 16 joined a travelling show, adopting the pseudonym Dresser. From 1885 he performed with the Billy Rose Minstrels, composed sentimental songs and wrote and acted in five plays. After his first successful songs, The Letter that Never Came (1886) and The Outcast Unknown (1887), he became one of the first American performers to enter music publishing, as a staff composer for Willis Woodward Co. He continued to write songs (e.g. The pardon came too late, 1891), and about 1894 helped found the George T. Worth Co. (eventually Howley, Haviland & Dresser, 1901). The company thrived, mostly on Dresser’s tragic and sentimental ballads such as ...