Mildred Milligan Tribute Page

Mildred Milligan was the first lady of the harp in Houston. She was teacher to Cynthia Cooper, Betsy Paine, Donna Mathews, Mary Jane Sinclair, and many more. She took her students to the White House to perform for FDR’s inauguration.  Mil (as she was called) seemed to know everybody.  She studied in Paris with Marcel Grandjany. Mary Jane Sinclair is graciously crafting an article for us so that we can associate this remarkable woman with the scholarship named for her.  She has also provided us with these photos. Information on the scholarship competition can be found here:     

A group of ladies with Mildred Milligan at the end of a train car
Photograph of Mildred Milligan
Old photo of Mildred Milligan

Mildred Milligan was born in Indiana on August 14, 1893. Later, her parents, Frank and Maudand brother, Jimmy, moved from Indiana to Franklinton, Louisiana. Frank Milligan was a real estate salesman. Mil attended a girl’s finishing school, Ward Belmont, in Tennessee. This is probably where she began playing the harp. She and her family moved to Houston in 1920. She opened a harp studio on Caroline Street. In 1929, she played on the luxury liner, the USS De La Salle Transatlantique to Europe.

She studied with Marcel Grandjany in Paris. Mil wrote a series of articles for the Houston Press detailing her Paris adventures.

Mil’s harp ensemble played for all types of social events. Mil cabled the White House and offered their services for Franklin Roosevelt’s first inauguration ball in 1933. She and her students raised the monies for travel and departed for Washington from Houston’s Union Station. Also, she played for the king of Hollywood, Clark Gable, in the home of his wife, Houston socialite, Ria Langham Gable, at her daughter’s wedding. Mil’s ensemble of twelve harpists performed live on Rudy Valee’s NBC radio show from The Scottish Rite Cathedral on July 9, 1936.

Mil turned her efforts toward developing the orchestra program in the public schools. Mil worked with Victor Alessandro and Dorothy Hughes who were directors of Music Education in HISD. Along with Beryl Pierce, Mil developed the Houston Youth Orchestra. In the 1940’s, Mil traveled by bus to teach in Bryan-College Station. Her ensemble played in the homes of Houston mayor, Oscar Holcolmb, Margaret Kinkaid and James Baker, senior. Mil’s studio was also visited by famed harpist, Robert Maxwell. Mil chartered the San Jacinto Chapter, of the American Harp Society in the early 1960’s. By 1972, Mil lived at 2621 Sage Road which is now the Galleria 2. Mil continued teaching her fifth generation of harpists until she moved to a student’s home in Warrenton as her house was now purchased by Gerald Hines for the newest addition to the Galleria.

She continued to travel to Houston, teaching at Cynthia Cooper’s home until 1976. Mildred Milligan passed away on April 4, 1986 at the age of 92. To honor their beloved teacher, Mil’s former students, Mary Jane SInclair, Virginia Robbins, Patricia John and Cynthia Cooper established the charter for the Mildred Milligan Scholarship Competition. The first competition took place in 1988. Mildred Milligan taught five generations of harpists. She was the first person to offer harp lessons and arrange harp performances in Houston. Mil’s harp continues to play on in the hearts of her students and the recipients of the Mildred Milligan Scholarship Award.

Mary Jane SInclair
September 9, 2021

Melody's Milligan Benefit Sunday September 12 2 pm to 4 at Melody's Traditional Music

Downloadable Product Information

Here at Melody’s we offer a wide array of music books and accessories.  In the music book category, you may have a choice between PDFs (or MP3s) and paper books. If there is a choice, you are required to click either the paper version or PDF version before you can put an item into your cart. There should be no shipping charge for download music.  If there are physical products in your cart at the same time, your total will reflect shipping for those physical items.

Products that are download only will have a narrow blue banner toward the top of the description.   Products that are only available as physical/paper will not have a choice for you to make in order to add to your cart, nor will they have the narrow blue banner signifying download only.

After you check out, you are directed back to your receipt where you can download your music. Also, you will receive an email thanking you for your order with links that will take you to your downloads. Please add to your approved e-mail list. If you do not receive an e-mail within a few minutes after you place your order, check your spam folder.

If you created an account with us, you can also find your downloads by going to “My Account” and clicking on the “Downloads” link.  We highly recommend that you create an account so that you can refer to your order history whenever you want.

Depending on your computer settings, when you click on your download link, 1 –  it may open automatically, 2 – it may go into your “downloads” folder, or 3 – your computer may prompt you to “save as”. 

If you have a problem with your downloads, please contact us at  for assistance. Because our website contains so many titles, on occasion we have overlooked uploading a PDF here or there.  When you notify us of this, we make the correction immediately.  Please note that downloads are not “returnable.”


Depending on your computer settings, when you click on your download link, 1 –  it may open automatically, 2 – it may go into your “downloads” folder, or 3 – your computer may prompt you to “save as”.  If you can’t find your PDF, look in your “downloads” folder first.  The title of the PDF may not match the title of the book, so you may want to change the title to what you will remember. After you have located your download, please either remember that it is in your “downloads” folder, or better yet, move it to another folder on your computer with a name that you will remember.

Your respect of the copyright laws will help support the musicians and arrangers who created this music, and will encourage more harp music to be produced in the future. Please do not make multiple copies to pass on to others. You can help keep downloadable harp music viable and available by encouraging your students, friends, and relatives to purchase their own copies. Thank you for your assistance in this endeavor.


On our website,, we offer a wide selection of paper and download music. We were always in a quandary about publications having several parts, or that include sound files. After realizing that we can place multiple files into one folder and “zip” it up, we are now able to offer book + cd options.

What we do: sound files and the PDF book are placed into a folder and zipped. The zipped folder is inserted into the product on the back end of the web site.

What you receive: after you purchase, you receive a zipped folder. This is a folder that literally has a picture of a zipper on it, indicating there is more than one document in the folder.

What you do with it: Generally by double clicking on the folder, it automatically opens up. The challenge lies in whether or not you have a program that unzips these folders. If you do, it is as simple as double clicking and the contents are revealed. Alternately, you can right click on the folder, which brings up choices, one of which is “open with” – you then click on your unzip program.

If you don’t have a program to unzip your files you’ll have a challenge! Recently I bought a small laptop for my zoom lessons. This laptop did not come with winzip, or any other kind of program that unzips these folders. The computer kept wanting me to purchase winzip for $29.  I found another program that does a great job, and it is free. 7-zip unzips all my compressed (zipped) folders! It is open source and you can find out more here:

We hope all this information is helpful to you.

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