Biography of Prof. Robert Allyn Reed

Prof. Robert Allyn Reed. It is not given to every individual to find a business career that is entirely congenial. The musical genius too frequently finds that circumstances produce for him an environment in the necessary pursuits of every day life that is not satisfying and that bars him from progress and happiness. Happily, however, this has not been the experience of Prof. Robert Allyn Reed, of Coffeyville, who has achieved great success through a broad and comprehensive training and the possession of exceptional inherent talent, and who, as proprietor of the New York School of Music, occupies a very important place in musical circles of Kansas.

Professor Reed was born February 14, 1871, at Troy, Madison County, Illinois, and was named for Dr. Robert Allyn, who was dean at that time of the Illinois State Normal School. On the paternal side he is of Scotch ancestry, and on the maternal of German descent, the Reeds being of an old Maine family. Professor Reed’s branch is of colonial origin and dovetails with the ancestry of Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed. Andrew D. Reed, the father of Professor Reed, was born in 1832, in Maine, and as a young man removed to Illinois, where he was married. He became a teacher of mathematics and law in the State Normal School at Lebanon, Illinois, but too close devotion to the duties of the schoolroom, and the attendant confinement of such a position, caused his health to break down and he was advised to seek a different climate. Accordingly, in 1872, he removed to Appleton City, Missouri, where he established the first dry goods and clothing store, and continued as a successful man of business there until his death, in 1881. A man of intelligence and broad knowledge of important subjects, he rose to be a foremost citizen of his community, and served on the school board and as a member of the city council. His political belief made him a republican and his religious connection was with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in the work of which he was always active. Fraternally he was a Mason. Mr. Reed married Miss Susan E. Hegler, who was born in Kentucky, in 1838, and who still survives and makes her home at Jefferson City, Missouri. To this union there were born five children: Prof. Robert Allyn; Carrie, the wife of W. P. Morris, yardmaster at the State Penitentiary at Jefferson City, Missouri, in line for promotion to warden; W. D., who is a contractor of Kansas City, Missouri; Edward, who is engaged in the jewelry business at San Francisco, California; and Alva W., who for a number of years was a machinist in the employ of the Pullman Car Company, at Pullman, Illinois, prior to his death at Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1914.

Robert Allyn Reed received his early education in the public schools of Appleton City, Missouri, where he was graduated from the high school with the class of 1889. Later he attended the high school at Springfield, Illinois, for a time, but gave up his literary education to begin the study of music. His first preceptor was Prof. George F. Root, of Chicago, under whom he studied vocal music, and subsequently he was with Professor Friemal, also of Chicago, under whose teachings he mastered various instruments. After much further preparation under other noted teachers of Yonkers, New York, and New York City, he entered upon a very interesting period of his career, being for eight years on the road in operatic work.

In 1905 Professor Reed came to Coffeyville to settle permanently, here establishing the New York School of Music, which has grown and developed into one of the largest and most prominent institutions of its kind in the state. Assisted by his wife and a corps of talented and thoroughly competent teachers, Professor Reed teaches music in all its branches, vocal and instrumental, and many of his pupils have gone forth into the world to achieve fame and success. At this time a band of forty-six pieces is under Professor Reed’s direction, as well as five different orchestras, and pupils come to the institution from a radius of forty miles, including such points as Nowata, Oklahoma, Claremore, Jefferson, Caney and Cherryvale, Kansas, and from other cities in Kansas. The school, perfect in its every appointment, and offering attractions and inducements to the students, is attractively located at No. 108 West Tenth Street.

Professor Reed owns a residence two miles west of Coffeyville, with six acres of orchards and shade trees, a beautiful country home. In politics he is a republican, but his only office has been that of music supervisor of the public schools, which he held in 1914. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Fraternally, he belongs to Keystone Lodge No. 102, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Coffeyville; Coffeyville Chapter, No. 89, Royal Arch Masons; Lochinvar Commandery No. 52, Knight Templars; Loyal Order of the Moose No. 1193, Coffeyville; and Coffeyville Camp of the Woodmen of the World. He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and an active worker in matters pertaining to the civic welfare.

Professor Reed was married October 12, 1905, at Appleton City, Missouri, to Miss Bessie G. Grider, daughter of H. C. and Bianca Grider, of Appleton City, where Mr. Grider is a grain merchant and capitalist. Two children have been born to Professor and Mrs. Reed: Robert Grider, born August 13, 1907, a bright and interesting lad who is making rapid progress in his studies, as shown by the fact that he is already in the fifth grade in the public schools; and Susan Bianca, born April 14, 1914.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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