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John H. Foote

1855-1862 With Rohe & Leavette as Salesman  31 Maiden La., NYC
1863-1865 Music Store/Importer of Instruments 31 Maiden La., NYC
1865-1866 In partnership with Stratton

105 E.22nd St., NYC 

(factory) 31 Maiden La., NYC

1866-67 Music Store/Importer 31 Maiden La., NYC
1868-1882  Music Stores/Importer 31 Maiden La., NYC & Chicago
1883-1896  Music Stores/Importer 31/33 Maiden La., NYC & Chicago


John Howard Foote (1833-1896) was born on 11 November 1833 at Canton, CT.  As a boy, he was trained as a clock maker in Bristol, CT and later worked as a journeyman in the machine works of Woodruff and Beach in Hartford, CT.  In 1852, Foote moved to NYC.  In December of 1853, he was hired by the musical instrument importers of Rohe & Leavitt, and continued to work for them until 1863 when the partners retired and Foot bought out their interests.  Except for a short-lived partnership with John F. Stratton in late 1865, Foote managed his large and successful importing business by himself until his death on 17 May 1896.


Foote is probably best remembered as the founding patron of the musical instrument collection of the Smithsonian Institution.  In an 1882 letter to the Smithsonian Institution, Foote wrote “most of my goods, though not of my manufacture, are made to order by different makers from drawings, descriptions and in some cases models furnished by me.”  In 1868, Foote established a branch store in Chicago.  His firm served as the sole American agent for several French instrument manufacturers, including Antoine Courtois Mille.  The company ceased operations in 1894.



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