Owen, [Esther] Anita
- Christopher A. Reynolds
(b Brazil, IN, Nov 1874; d New Haven, CT, Oct 25, 1932). American songwriter and publisher. She was among the most successful female songwriters of her generation. The daughter of John Dale Owen, a composer born in Wales, she was raised in Indiana and went to school near Terre Haute at St. Mary’s in the Woods. While there she sold her first song, evidently a setting of “Ave Maria.” Her obituary in the New York Times describes Owen as the composer of 200 works, yet it is unlikely that more than about half of those were ever published. In 1894 she composed and published her first and most enduring hit, the sentimental waltz song “Sweet Bunch of Daisies,” which sold a million copies. This song, the first of several about daisies, became a standard with country string bands and Appalachian fiddlers, and was also recorded by the blues harmonica player El Watson in ...