Vahdah Olcott-Bickford (October 17, 1885 – May 18, 1980) was an American astrologer and guitarist, composer, arranger and teacher, sometimes known as "the Grand Lady of the Guitar".

She was born in Norwalk, Ohio

Her family moved to Socorro and then Los Angeles when she was an infant. She started guitar lessons at the age of eight and then, by chance, met the classical guitarist George C. Lindsay and played for him when she was still just nine. This was the start of a lifelong friendship in which Lindsay first tutored her and then introduced her to the famous guitarist, Manuel Y. Ferrer. Ferrer invited her to stay with his family in Berkeley where he gave her daily lessons for a year until he died suddenly in 1904.

Olcott-Bickford, now eighteen, returned to her parents' home in Los Angeles, where she published her first opus, "Theme for Variations on 'Nel cor piu non mi sento,''' a duo aria from L'Amor contrastato, better known as La Molinara, by Paisello, in 1905. She eventually went to New York, where she became involved in the musical and intellectual life and times of the period.

Olcott-Bickford moved to New York where she began performing and teaching. Among her early students were Cornelius Vanderbilt and Bernard Baruch. She met Evangeline Adams, a famous astrologer who helped her choose her astrological stage name, Vahdah. In 1919 she became the first woman to make a guitar recording.

In New York she became known through her concerts and teaching of the guitar. She lived for a time with the famous Vanderbilt family at Biltmore, and tutored both Mrs. Vanderbilt and her daughter, Cornelia. At this time she also became involved with astrology, from which she derived her new name, Vahdah. She was Evangeline Adams's only assistant for nine years, until 1922. Vahdha performed many astrological readings during her life.

Evangeline Smith Adams, (February 8, 1868 — November 10, 1932), was a well known late-19th / early 20th century American astrologer, based in New York. She ran a thriving astrological consulting business, gained widespread notability for successfully defending her astrological practice in court, and wrote a number of popular books about astrology. She has been described as "America's first astrological superstar".

During the period in New York Vahdah performed the Giuliani Concerto for guitar and orchestra. She also met Myron Bickford, organist, conductor, composer-musician and instrumentalist par excellence, and whom she married in 1915.

In 1923 Vahdah and Zarh (Myron's astrological name) moved to Los Angeles and established residence at 2031 Holly Hill Terrace, after a brief stay on West Adams near downtown Los Angeles. In Zarh's words: "Vahdah Olcott-Bickford's arrival in Los Angeles marked the beginning of activities which led to the creation of what was first called the "Los Angeles Guitar Society." This was the first guitar society to appear in the United States.

She amassed a large library of music, journals and correspondence about the guitar and other similar instruments. She also had a varied collection of sheet music for the guitar. Her house in the Hollywood Hills was damaged by the 1971 San Fernando earthquake.. The house was condemned and moving her quite large collection required as many as 15 men more than 2 weeks..

She died in Los Angeles in 1980 at the age of 94.

(Above information gathered from Wikipedia and other sources,)

We have prepared a PDF file from scans of the original sheet music, prepared in an easy to print black and white format.


Aloha Oe
Believe Me If All Those Endearing Charms – Fantasie
Carry Me Back To Old Virginny - Fantasie
Con Amore
Fifth Nocturne
Gladness - Song Without Words
Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still (One or two guitars)
Menuet a’ l’ Antique
Minuet In G
Old Black Joe
Russian Romance
Scenes That Are Brightest
Solvejg’s Song
Swan Song
Tyrolean Melody
Beauty's Dream - Bolero
Caprice Characteristique
Cupid's Wireless Telegram
Francesca Valse
Knight and Fair Lady
Manikin Dance
November - An Autumn Impression

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