Ditson, Oliver, American music publisher, founder of the firm of Oliver Ditson & Co.; b. Boston, Oct. 20, 1811; d. there, Dec. 21, 1888. He established himself as a music seller and publisher in Boston in 1835. He became a partner of G. H. Parker, his employer, under the firm name of Parker & Ditson. He carried on the business in his own name (1842–57), but when J. C. Haynes joined the firm, Ditson changed its name to O. Ditson & Co. His eldest son, Charles, took charge of the N.Y. branch (Ch. H. Ditson & Co.) in 1867, the business being continued until his death. A Philadelphia branch, opened in 1875 by J. Edward Ditson as J. E. D. & Co., was in existence until 1910. A branch for the importation and sale of instruments, etc., was established at Boston in 1860 as John C. Haynes & Co. On Oliver Ditson’s death, the firm of Oliver Ditson & Co. was reorganized as a corporation, with J. C. Haynes as president (d. May 3, 1907); from 1907 until his death, on May 14, 1929, Charles H. Ditson managed the business; he was succeeded by H. H. Porter. In 1931 Theo. Presser Co. of Philadelphia took over the management of the firm. Its catalog embraced about 52,000 titles, and it also publ. the Musical Record (a monthly periodical) from 1878 to 1903, the Musician from 1896 to 1918, and several library series. The music house Lyon & Healy was founded by Oliver Ditson in Chicago in 1864 as a western branch.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire