Mabel McKinley

singer/songwriter / late 1800s-early 1900s

Birth: Mar. 8, 1877 / Death: Jun. 7, 1937
Somerset / Pennsylvania

Mabel was the only child of Abner McKinley and Anna "Annie" Endsley.

"The President's niece, Mabel McKinley Baer, although having a serious physical impairment (One leg was shorter and smaller than the other, requiring her to use crutches), was gifted with tremendous musical abilities. She started the serious study of music at the age of fifteen under the direction of Isadore Luckstone. She was an indulged child....she traveled around the countryside in her own special pony cart. In her youth she sang with church choirs and performed for guests at the White House....during both terms of her uncle's [President William McKinley] administration of the affairs of the Nation.

In 1903, she performed with a vaudeville company for twenty-five weeks at the then fabulous wage of $1000 a week....
Mabel McKinley became a national celebrity....she composed a number of popular songs which became part of her repertoire....
she possessed a strong and dramatic artistic temperament....She became a "concert singer" and debuted at the Aeolian Hall
and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.....Although Mabel and her husband had no children of their own, they had a
foster son, Charles Rice of Mt. Vernon, NY....After he husband died, she returned to Somerset, residing at
114 S. Kimberly Avenue....She became the choir director of St. Paul's Reformed Church and gave voice lessons....
Although Mabel McKinley Baer's last years were not particularly happy ones for her, she was able to bring music
and culture to the community of Somerset during the depths of the Great Depression."

(From an article in "Laurel Messenger," November, 1991, by Douglas Reed Weimer.)

Note that she used the name "Vivian Grey" when writing her songs.

Oak Park Oak Leaves January 15, 1910 (pg8)


  • Family Theatre Lancaster, PA /1909

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