hulapages.com THE COVER ARTISTS
William & Frederick Starmer
A selection of Hawaiian sheet music
designed by the Starmers:
The name Starmer is very familiar to sheet music collectors, as it appears on thousands of covers from the turn of the century until the early forties. The identity of Starmer was a mystery for many years, until sheet music collector Mike Montgomery discovered an invoice from William A. Starmer to the Jerome Remick Music Company for services rendered, with a heading listing Starmer as an Artist and Medical Draughtsman. That was the first clue in a series of discoveries which has eventually, at least partially, revealed the mystery.
William Austin Starmer and his brother Frederick Waite Starmer were both commercial artists, but we may never know for certain if both of them designed sheet music, or if just William did. Very little is known of these talented siblings other than census and immigration records.
The brothers were born in Leeds, England to James and Ann E. Starmer. The 1881 England census has the family living at 26 Woodsley Grove in Leeds. James is listed as a Boot and Shoe Maker. William was born in March of 1872, Frederick on September 2, 1878. There was also an older brother, Edwin J. Starmer, who was born in 1868. The family is still at this address in the 1891 census, with William (now nineteen) listed as a Litho-Artist.
It appears the Starmer brothers first came to America in 1898. William returned to England in June of 1900 to marry his fiance Julitta M. Dawson. The rest
of the family arrived in 1904 on the Carpathia from Liverpool. James, Ann, William, and
Julitta were all on the ship, and registered at Ellis Island on June 10th of that year.
William and Frederick went back to England frequently, perhaps to renew their visitors
visas, as there are ship records for them every two or three years up until 1924, when
they became naturalized citizens.
William's wife Julitta passed away on February 26, 1922.
The 1930 census has William Starmer remarried to Edith Mary, an English woman who first entered America with her family in 1877 at the age of six. They were married in 1925, and were living at 2734 8th Street in Queens. William's son was living with the couple, and was listed as an accountant for a local electric light company. In the mid to late 1930's, William and Edith took yearly trips to England under passport number 288626. Their home is listed as 27-34 8th Street, Astoria, Long Island.
With the advent of World War Two, Frederick became a post warden back in England, and was involved in 200 air raids, including the Battle of Britain. In Long Island, William was a warden for the Astoria Police as well, colorizing maps of the precinct zones for civilian defense.
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