> contact us > mailing list
> employment > our history
> privacy policy > returns policy
Home > History
site search

The Presser Story

The Theodore Presser Company is the oldest continuing music publisher in the United States. Its founder, Theodore Presser (1848-1925), is remembered not only as the publisher of The Etude music magazine and the founder of the publishing firm, but also as a philanthropist in the cause of music education.

Portrait of Theodore Presser (1848-1925) With a background of study at the New England Conservatory in Boston and the Leipzig Conservatory in Germany and the experience as a college music instructor, Mr. Presser was sensitive to the needs of the music teachers in cities and towns throughout the United States. His plan was to provide these teachers with the material they required in their work - music and practical guidance as well as information about the international music world - that would be available to them readily and inexpensively.

In October, 1883, with $250.00 in cash, Theodore Presser began publication of The Etude in Lynchburg, Virginia. The immediate success of his new music magazine prompted him to seek larger publishing facilities in Philadelphia in 1884. His need for music for The Etude led him not only to secure, but also to publish new music, at first only in the magazine and then later, separately.

The publishing company that Presser founded was so successful that in 1906 he was able to express his appreciation to those who made this success possible by establishing the Presser Home for Retired Music Teachers in a suburb of Philadelphia. His philanthropic zeal is continued to this day through his foresight in forming the Presser Foundation in 1916, nine years before his death. Each year the Presser Foundation awards scholarships, grants and funds specifically to further the cause of music education and music in America.

Following the purchase of the John Church Company in 1930, the Theodore Presser Company acquired the Oliver Ditson Company in 1931. Through this acquisition, Presser traces its origins to 1783, when Batelle's Book Store (later the Oliver Ditson Company), began a music publishing business in Boston.

In 1972, the Theodore Presser Company acquired Elkan-Vogel and its agencies (including Hamelle et cie., Henry Lemoine et cie. and others), making Theodore Presser Company the most important distributor of French music in the United States.

Now, in addition to its own catalogs, Presser represents the music of more than 70 American and foreign publishers.

Today the Theodore Presser Company is dedicated to carrying out the aims and goals Mr. Presser established more than a century ago: service, with integrity, to music and musicians, commitment to quality, and a vision for the future.

© 2001 Theodore Presser Company, All Rights Reserved