B. Roy Emms

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About This Image

B. Roy Emms (1871-1933) grew up in Perry, Iowa. After a brief period of performing professionally with the Kirkhart Circus Co., he returned to Perry where went into business as an optician. A natural leader, he later served many years on the city council and served on the board of directors of the State Association of Opticians.

Emms served as the leader of the Perry Cornet Band. In 1899, he also founded the Boys Band of Perry, which underscores the fact that in these years it often fell to town band directors to provide instruction for novice players.

It is quite likely that the baton that Emms is holding in this picture is the one that was given to him by the members of the Boys Band as a Christmas gift in 1899 in appreciation of his efforts in founding and leading the band.

[Perry] Bulletin, August 18, 1894

Mr. Roy Emms, having filled his summer engagement with the Kirkhart Circus Co., returned to Perry on Thursday of last week. Roy will remain only for a short time before joining out again for the winter season.

The [Perry] Chief Reporter, November 23, 1899

THE BOYS BAND OF PERRY. During the [illegible] fall months Perry has been able to enjoy some very creditable band music without sending away from home. There seems to be plenty of good musical talent in the young lads that are growing up in our midst, and since several of them have placed themselves in the hands of an able director, they have formed a band of no little credit. The ages of the boys range from nine to fifteen years. They devote a good part of their spare time to their band and seem to enjoy it. Although they were organized only last February, they are now able to handle a very difficult grade of music. Director Emms announces that it is his intention to increase the band to twenty-five pieces as soon as he can [illegible]... [1]

The [Perry] Chief Reporter, January 18, 1900

The members of the Boys Band of Perry have presented their leader and instructor, Dr. B. Roy Emms, with a handsome baton to be used in directing the band. The stick is highly polished and is mounted with silver and ivory and bears a plate on which is inscribed "B. Roy Emms, from the Boys Band of Perry, Christmas '99." All of the boys seem to appreciate the interest their teacher has taken in their development as musicians and therefore appropriately presented this gift to him as a small token of their esteem. [4]

The [Perry] Chief Reporter, May 3, 1900

B. ROY EMMS. Mr. Emms is our only optician making an exclusive business at his profession and he is doing a heavy trade. Mr. Emms is well up in his branch and he has done some work for some of the best people in this section of the state. He is always ready to do his share for the advancement of the city, and he is a citizen who is a credit to Perry. He has lived twenty-four years in this part of the state and where ever he has been he has always played an honorable part. Mr. Emms' offices are supplied with everything necessary in his line, and he guarantees to please the most fastidious. This gentleman is entitled on his merits to generous recognition in these pages. [2]

Newspaper references