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date: 29 September 2020

Spiller, Isabele Taliaferro locked

(18 Mar. 1888–14 May 1974),
  • Elliott S. Hurwitt


music educator and performer, was born Cary Isabele Taliaferro in Abingdon, Virginia, the daughter of Granville L. Taliaferro and Josephine Outlaw Taliaferro. She was educated in Philadelphia public schools, graduating from Girls Commercial High School, then earned a teaching certificate from the New England Conservatory of Music (Boston). Her early professional experience remains obscure. In 1912 she joined a famous vaudeville act, the Musical Spillers, eventually marrying its leader, William Newmeyer Spiller. The act was already a vaudeville favorite by this time, and soon she was touring with them throughout the Americas. Originally a trio, the act stabilized as a sextet, evenly divided between men and women, shortly before she joined.

Isabele Taliaferro Spiller remained with the Musical Spillers from 1912 to 1925 playing multiple instruments and acting as the primary teacher of new members of the band The Spillers were best known as a saxophone ...

A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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