The Business of Music: Bailey’s Music Rooms

A new exhibition opening in Roger H. Perry Hall, drawn from materials in Champlain College’s Special Collections, features sheet music and promotional items from three Burlington music businesses in operation between the 1860s and the 1920s, including Bailey’s Music Rooms.

Cable March and Two Step, by Lou H. Dockstader, distributed by Bailey’s Music Rooms, 1903. Llewellyn Collection of Vermont History, 2010.1.8.

The Queen City March, by Chas. Janke, published by Bailey’s Music Rooms, 1922. Llewellyn Collection of Vermont History, 2010.1.56.

Alden L. Bailey (1845-1921) opened Bailey’s Music Rooms in St. Johnsbury, Vermont circa 1870 and soon expanded to Burlington, Newport, Barre, Morrisville, and St. Albans, Vermont; Ticonderoga and Glens Falls, New York, and Berlin Falls; and Laconia, New Hampshire. His Burlington store, first located on Main Street and later in the YMCA Building at the corner of College and Church Streets, became his business headquarters.



Bailey’s Music Rooms sold pianos, organs, player pianos, phonographs, and sheet music. In addition to advertisements in local periodicals and event programs, Bailey’s distributed a wide variety of free printed cards and other giveaways, including bookmarks and postcards depicting the Burlington area.

Kranich & Back Pianos Advertising Card, Distributed by Bailey’s Music Rooms, c. 1900. Local History Collection, 2015.38.1.

Ivers & Pond Advertising Card, distributed by Bailey’s Music Rooms, c. 1880. Local History Collection, 2016.82

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Vermont sheet music in Champlain College’s Special Collections  is the focus of a Humanities Research for the Public Good project funded by the Council of Independent Colleges and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Find out more about our sheet music collection here. This multifaceted project provides undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct in-depth studies of the  music and present their research to the public. This exhibition and related blog posts were developed to supplement the student work.

-Erica Donnis, Special Collections Director


Bailey’s Music Rooms Advertisement, in Program for Lake Champlain Chatauqua Assembly and School of Methods, 1901. Llewellyn Collection of Vermont History, 2010.1.1681.