Raymond Hubbell

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Sheet Music for Poor Butterfly, 1916 PoorButterfly.jpg
Sheet Music for Poor Butterfly, 1916

John Raymond Hubbell (June 1, 1879 December 13, 1954) was an American writer, composer and lyricist. He is best known for the popular song, "Poor Butterfly".


Life and career

Hubbell was born in Urbana, Ohio. He attended schools in Urbana and studied music in Chicago, where he formed a dance band. [1]

He worked for Charles K. Harris Publishers as a staff arranger and pianist. His first compositions for stage musicals were the songs for Chow Chow (lyrics and book by Addison Burkhardt), which ran for 127 performances in Chicago in 1902. Renamed and revised as The Runaways in 1903, the show ran for 167 days in New York and then toured for several years. Hubbell began composing music for the Ziegfeld Follies in 1911 and eventually scored seven editions. [2]

In 1915 he was hired as musical director for the New York Hippodrome after the previous music director, Manuel Klein, left abruptly after a disagreement with Lee Shubert and Jacob J. Shubert. Hubbell also wrote the score for "Good Times", which ran for 456 performances at the New York Hippodrome. [1] He continued composing for the theater until 1923. The song he is most remembered for, "Poor Butterfly", was written for one of the first shows he wrote for the Hippodrome, The Big Show. According to his obituary, [3] he thought his best song was "The Ladder of Roses", written for the 1915 Hippodrome hit, Hip-Hip-Hooray.

His last Broadway work was the score for the 1928 musical Three Cheers, starring Will Rogers. [4] In reviewing the show, Brooks Atkinson wrote "Most of the music is unpretentiously melodious." [5] Soon after he retired to Miami, Florida.

He was one of the nine founding members of ASCAP in 1914. For 23 years he was head of the membership committee, and for 7 years was its treasurer. [3] At the age of 50, Hubbell opted for retirement [1]


Hubbell suffered a mild stroke on March 7, 1947. [6] He suffered a serious stroke on November 28, 1954, and died on December 13. [3] He was survived by his wife Estelle, whom he married in about 1914.

Partial list of works

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Raymond Hubbell | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  2. "Follies Chronology I". www.musicals101.com.
  3. 1 2 3 R. Hubbell Dead; Composer Was 75, New York Times, December 14, 1954, 34.
  4. "Raymond Hubbell". nfo.net. Archived from the original on 2010-07-03. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  5. J. Brooks Atkinson, "Will Rogers Wins in 'Three Cheers," New York Times, October 16, 1928, 28.
  6. Raymond Hubbell, Composer, Ill, New York Times March 8, 1947, 10.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Parker, Bernard S. (2007). World War I Sheet Music - Volume 1. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 74, 147, 161, 260, 274, 349, 405. ISBN   978-0-7864-2798-7.
  8. Parker, Bernard S. (2007). World War I Sheet Music - Volume 2. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 763. ISBN   978-0-7864-2799-4.