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date: 18 February 2020

Atwill, J(oseph) F(airfield) locked

  • Barbara Turchin
  • , revised by Meredith M. Eliassen


(b Boston, MA, June 4, 1811; d Oakland, CA, Nov 29, 1891). American proprietor of music stores and sheet music publisher. From 1833 to 1849, Atwill operated a “Music Saloon” music store and publishing business on Broadway in New York City, using printing plates of the Thomas Birch Company. He married Eliza Dugliss in 1834. After suffering financial setbacks, the business was taken over by Samuel C. Jollie, and Atwill left his family to travel to San Francisco. He arrived penniless on 28 October 1849 but hit paydirt in the gold fields. Unlike many miners who sent paper money drafts home, Atwill sent about $75,000 in gold dust to New York. He brought his wife and daughters to California in 1854. Atwill moved his East Coast stock to California and established California’s first music store, a tiny metal-constructed building at 158 Washington Street that withstood San Francisco’s many firestorms. In New York, Atwill published Vincenzo Belini’s ...

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