Nebraska Authors

Charles Wakefield Cadman

Born 1881-12-24 Johnstown, PA (USA)

Died 1946-12-30
Los Angeles, CA (USA)

Not a Nebraska author. In the early twentieth century Cadman was regarded as an authority on Native American music. He began by studying the work of ethnologists Alice Fletcher and Francis LaFlesche. He came to Nebraska in 1909 to study the traditional instruments and music of the Omaha and Winnebago tribes. He met and began a collaboration with Francis LaFlesche and assisted LaFlesche in collecting wax cylinder recordings of traditional Omaha tribal music, now in the Library of Congress. He also worked with LaFlesche on an opera, composing the music for the opera Da O Ma, completed in 1912, but never performed. A final version of the opera transposed its milieu from the Omaha to the Sioux, to seek greater public interest. LaFleshe withdrew from a later attempt at collaboration with Cadman. Cadman worked with other Native American advisors and his "Indianist" works remained popular through the 1920s. Their popularity receded as romanticism was supplanted by modernism, interest in jazz, and perhaps, some skepticism about certain forms of cultural appropriation. Cadman is included in the public side of the database for his connections to Francis LaFlesche and Alice Fletcher.

Places Lived

Pittsburgh, PA
Los Angeles, CA

Author Of

  • Journalism
  • Music and Audio


Composer; Collector of Native American Music; Music Composition--Native American Themes; Opera


Ph.D. in Music, 1924, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA


Music Critic for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, 1908-1910

Places Worked

Scored movies for Fox Studios
He gave lectures and recitals with Tsianina Redfeather, an Indian singer, in both America and Europe from 1909 to 1923


The California Pacific International Exposition at San Diego declared September 4th Cadman Day, 1935


Worked with Francis La Flesche in Nebraska to record Native Indian music
Charter Member, The Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA


His output includes five operas, orchestral suites, chamber works, cantatas, piano works, violin works and over 250 songs.
Published Songs include:
“At Dawning” (1906)
“From the Land of Sky-Blue Water” (1908)

Published Operas include:
Shanewis (The Robin Woman). 1918.
A Witch of Salem. 1926.
The Willow Tree. 1931.

Other music:
The Sunset Trail. 1925.
American Suite for Strings.
The Thunderbird Suite for Piano.
The Vision of Sir Launfal.
Four American Indian Songs and Prairie Sketches.

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Charles Wakefield Cadman

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)