Clara Mae Campbell was born on 29 May 1884, the first of six children of Abner and Ella Aughe Campbell of Frankfort, Indiana. Abner was a tailor by vocation and a Vaudeville performer of song and dance by avocation. Recognizing the musical talents of his daughter very early in her life, Abner began performing his Vaudeville acts with his charming and beautiful daughter when she was six or seven years of age, and she went on to a successful stage career of her own as a young teenager.
Clara met Charles H. lgelman, of Richmond, Indiana, who was working in his uncle's clothing store in Elwood, Indiana, and they were married on 11 March 1903. Following the birth of her first child, Clara and Charles moved back to Richmond where Charles became the manager of his uncle Lee Nusbaum's Richmond store. They resided at 427 S. 4th St. for several years, moving to their final home at 408 S. 8th St. in 1913. Although by this time she was the mother of 3 children, her musical career flourished, with many performances throughout Indiana, as well as writing several published piano pieces.
Unfortunately and suddenly on Thanksgiving Day, 1910, Charles lgelman died of a ruptured appendix, leaving a bereaved wife, Clara, and 3 children. Realizing that providing for her family now fell on her shoulders, and confident of her musical talents, she left her children in the care of their grandparents, and she moved to Chicago to receive additional voice training. It was there that her voice was "discovered" and. she was offered an opportunity to make an appearance in New York City with an opera company. When she made her initial appearance before an audience of critics, she scored a great hit and was tendered a contract with an opera company in New York. This lead to the prima donna role with the first company of "The Chocolate Soldier", performing throughout the United States in cities such as San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago, and Seattle. The opera's success was such that Clara was given the prima donna role of Maid Marian in the Ralph Dunbar production of "Robin Hood". In May, 1921, Mrs. lgelman brpught her company back home to Richmond where it performed on the stage of the Washington Theater. During her stay in Richmond she recorded 2 songs, "Until" and "In the Garden of My Heart" at the Gennett recording studio.
When Clara Campbell lgelman's New York career ended, she returned to Richmond, where she spent the rest of her life. She continued to perform in the local area at a variety of locations, including the Murray Theater in Richmond. She began a very successful career as a voice teacher, and her pupils were widely acclaimed. In 1928 she married Z. Jay Stanley, a prominent Richmond attorney. Clara Mae Campbell lgelman Stanley died on 14 November, 1960.
For data housekeeping purposes she is listed in these webpages as the one-off composer of the rag The Solitaire (1909).
Further sheet music at DBE: ON HOLD