Arthur Rudolph Grant was born in 1887 to Jeffry and Diana Grant in Jacksonville, Florida[1]. He started music at a young age, being listed as a music teacher as early as age twelve in the 1900 US census. His educational career continued, as the 1910 US census lists him as a public school teacher in Florida[2]. His teaching didn’t last long after that, as he soon left to receive his Bachelor of Arts from Howard University, graduating from the Teacher’s College with a diploma in education in 1911[3]. From there, he went to the Washington Conservatory of Music. He graduated there in 1913 with a diploma of “the entire curriculum offered”[4].

After his graduation from the conservatory, Grant moved to Austin Texas to become the vocal director at Samuel Houston College. The Crisis describes him as “a young tenor of large voice of excellent quality and emphatic sentiment”[5]. In the following years, he received more education, achieving an M.S. from Columbia University, and later an M.Mus. from the Chicago College of Music[6].

By 1919, Grant moved to New York City, and became the organist and choirmaster of the Salem Methodist Church[7]. Within a month, he hosted a choral concert there, featuring a mixture of white classical music, Negro spirituals, and ballads[8]. This was his official job for the rest of his life, but it was not his only musical presence. Grant was a prolific composer, with at least (NUMBER) pieces copyrighted in the Library of Congress Copyright records. Interestingly, while researching in the Library of Congress, we found some of his pieces that belong to a Broadway musical entitled “The Logic of Larry” (1919). There are very few records about this musical, and many of them list the play as Barry McCormick’s work with no credit to Arthur R. Grant. Another interesting aspect of Grant’s work is that it seems to be meant for a white audience. One of his pieces, “Bobbsy”, describes a young man playing a song to his crush, and he describes her to have golden hair – making her likely white.

In the 1938, Arthur Grant married Marie Grant[9], and the two had a son named Robert[10]. She died before 1940, leaving Grant widowed. He followed not too long after, succumbing to an illness in 1949. He continued composing up until 1948, his last recorded publication entitled “Forget-Me-Not, My Little Flower”[11].

Finding information on Arthur R. Grant has been a struggle, both because there were multiple Arthur R. Grants active in the time he was alive, and not much was written about the Arthur R. Grant we’re interested in. He switched to going by Rudolph Grant in the newspapers, though he may have gone by that name in his personal life for longer. Arthur Rudolph Grant was a prolific composer and accomplished scholar, and there are likely many, many stories of his that we will not be able to encounter through our archival databases.



[1] Year: 1900; Census Place: Jacksonville, Duval, Florida; Roll: 168; Page: 10; Enumeration District: 0048; FHL microfilm: 1240168

[2] Year: 1910; Census Place: Jacksonville Ward 5, Duval, Florida; Roll: T624_159; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 0078; FHL microfilm: 1374172

[3] Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.), 05 June 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>

[4] Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.), 23 May 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>

[5] Bois, William Edward Burghardt Du. Crisis. Crisis Publishing Company, 1913.

[6] New York Times, August 5, 1949. New York City.

[7] The broad ax. [volume] (Salt Lake City, Utah), 01 Nov. 1919. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>


[9] New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Marriage Licenses


[10] Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02664; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 31-1697


[11] Office, Library of Congress Copyright. Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third Series. 1948.