June 11, 1918|
Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
August 27, 1988 (aged 70)|
New York City
Higginbotham was born on June 11, 1918, in Worcester, Massachusetts. While her closest connection in the popular music of the 1930s and 1940s was Billie Holiday, the prolific songwriter was niece of the classic African American jazz trombonist J. C. Higginbotham. She was a music student of choral conductor Kemper Harold of Morehouse College fame and Frederic Hall. She was also a concert pianist at age fifteen and joined American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1944 when she was around the age of 26. She was a composer of nearly 50 published songs. However, as an African American woman who worked as a composer on Tin Pan Alley during a period when composers there were overwhelmingly white and male, has made some scholars and musicologists speculate that Higginbotham might have composed many more songs that were never published and/or where she was never given a credit as a composer or co-composer. It is known that she, like a few other composers, used a pseudonym, in her case "Glenn Gibson", in what was probably an effort to conceal the fact that she was female, and an African American female at that. While Higginbotham remains one of the least well-known or heralded songwriters, her large contributions to jazz and popular song are undeniable. Higginbotham died on August 27, 1988, in New York City.
Her popular-song compositions included:
Also see ASCAP pages for a partial list.