Daniel Henry Beissenherz is one of the best-known and most accomplished musicians and music teachers in the city of Indianapolis.
He is a native of German and was born in Sachsenberg, a small city in the principality of Waldeck and Pyrmont, March 4, 1838.
His father, Daniel Beissenberz, was a musician of superior attainments, and in moderate circumstances, who lives to be seventy-nine years of age. His mother's maiden name was Joannetta Katherine Daudey. His paternal grandfather and grandmother lived to be respectively 78 and 79 years of age, and his grandfather engaged in the baking business. On the maternal side his grandfather Daniel Daudey and his grandmother Katherine Rosina Dudey lived to middle age.
Young Beissenherzg attended the common schools in his native city, and received his first instruction in music from his father and several other teachers, and at the age of fifteen, as was the custom in middle and north Germany, was bound an apprentice of Daniel Langenbach in Iselom, Westphalia, where he served three years, receiving instructions from his son, J ulius Langenbach, through whose influence he obtained a position in the orchestra of the City theater at Elberfield, Prussia.
In 1849 Mr. Beissenherz emigrated to the United States and landed in the city of New York and thence traveled to Hartford, Conn., where he remained till the spring of 1852, when he accepted a position as leader of a dramatic company in the New England states, where he met Miss Anna Hathaway, a favorite actress, and who subsequently became his wife. After marriage Mr. Beissenherz accepted an engagement in the cities of Lowell and Worcester, Mass., and in 1854 removed to New York, where they remained until 1866, with the exception of a short season at the Baltimore museum, under the proprietorship of Harry Jarret. Joseph Jefferson was the stage manager while Mr. Beissenherz was prompter. Included in the company were Miss Develin, who afterwards became Mrs. Edwin Booth, and Edwin Adams, who became celebrated and is well remembered as a star in Enoch Arden. Finding it diffic ult to obtain a situation in connection with his wife Mr. Beissenherz, though advice of friends and in response to personal ambition, determined to qualify himself as became a leader, and began the study of the violin under a competent teacher, Henry Reyer, and in harmony and composition under Professor Schilling.
In 1858 Mr. Beissenherz obtained the position as leader in the old Bowery Theater, New York, and in 1859 in the new Bowery theater. In 1865 Mr. Beissenherz held the position of leader in the Park theater in Brooklyn, of which Mrs. Conney was manageress. In 1866, he was the leader in Wood's theater, New York, and the same year became stage manager and musical director in the Varieties of St. Louis. He then became music teacher at Lincoln, Ill., but returned to St. Louis in 1871, where he remained until March, 1874, when he came to Indianapolis, and became the musical director at the English Opera house, where he remained until Mr. English relinquished management. Since that time Mr. Beissenherz has had no connection with orchestra or bands, but has devoted all of his time to teaching the different instruments in bands and orchestras. Mr. Beissenherz had always voted Democratic ticket. He was made a Mason at Worcester, Mass, in 1852. He organized the first musical protective society in New York and was its president until he removed from that city. He is a member of the German club, president of the Indianapolis Musician's Protective association, and was first vice-president of the National League of Musicians of the United States. Mr. Beissenherz organized and was elected first president of the American Federation of Musicians.
He is a member of the Lutheran church and was married June 15, 1852, to Anna Hathaway, well known actress in the east. Three children have been born of the union. The oldest Henry Savels Beissenherz, Annie Celeste and Agnes Mary. Henry and Agnes are living. Anne Celeste died in Indianapolis in 1878. As a musician Mr. Beissenherz stands in the front rank, and his devotion to the welfare of the craft entitles him to the gratitude of all musicians. Through his arranging for bands and orchestras, he is one of the best-known musicians in the country.
As transcribed from:
Men of progress, Indiana : a selected list of biographical sketches and portraits of the leaders in business, professional and official life : together with brief notes on the history and character of Indiana Indianapolis: Indianapolis Sentinel Co., 1899, pg. 298-9