Five years go by before the trail begins again with book two of Melodious Double Stops, published in 1931. This volume bears the dedication, "To Louis Persinger, in friendship and admiration." According to Groves, Persinger (born in 1887) had early lessons in Colorado, appearing in public at the age of 12. Hmmmm. Trott would have been thirteen years his senior. Could they have been students of the same Colorado teacher?
The second volume of Melodious Double Stops was Trott’s last published musical work. However, she published four books in 1932 and 1933. Two of these are written in French and targeted at children. One, Deux Enfants du Far-West, is an adventure story featuring a young girl and boy in the American west. The girl, “Sylvia,” is also the principal character in On demande une maman, Trott’s last published work. Published under the pseudonym of Colin Shepherd, it is a fictionalized account of a six-year-old’s life in an orphanage. It is actually the story of Trott becoming the foster parent of Riccarda McQuie. In the preface, publisher Henri Bourrelier writes, “The story told here... is special because it is true. Miss Colin Shepherd, professor of violin at the Conservatory of Denver, writer, journalist, and author of the celebrated adventure novel Deux Enfants du Far-West, wants to share the emotions of a foster-mother with us through the sweet soul of her little Sylvia.” In addition to writing these books in French, Trott published an English translation of a book on William the Conqueror by Lucie Delarue-Mardrus in 1932. That year also saw the publication of Jean Kay in Paris, a novelette in English which reads a bit like a Bridget Jones’ Diary from a more innocent time. One chapter begins, “Doesn’t it always happen that way? Here I was, writing long-neglected home letters like mad as the boat-train was leaving at nine-thirty next morning and all mail for U.S.A. must be posted before six in the afternoon. I had finished a short note to Bill, telling him that the Atlantic Ocean was no wider nor more impossible to bridge than the break in our friendship. (I quite prided myself on the neatness of that remark!) And I mentioned casually, but artistically, the charming young Frenchman who was so devoted to me on the boat, and who lives in Paris. I felt a little poetic exaggeration was permissible under the circumstances. And I was just in the midst of a very important letter to the folks—asking for my money P.D.Q. if you must know, as my month’s allowance was practically gone already—when my last stub pen gave up the ghost.”
Why the sudden literary output, and why in French? Perhaps this is the time during which she brought Riccarda to study with her former teacher in France, and had time on her hands? Could the amorous adventures of Jean Kay on her first trip to Europe have been inspired by the antics of her adopted daughter?
The last, and perhaps most tantalizing, piece of information I have is an entry in the 1938 Macmillan Encyclopedia of Music and Musicians, which reads, “Trott, Josephine, contemporary violinist, teacher, and composer; studied and taught at Berlin and Paris. She has published excellent study material for her instrument.” I wonder how it is that such an accomplished American woman is barely known in this country, yet included in a London encyclopedia? That some of her works, published in this country, can only be viewed at the British Library?
At this point the trail runs cold. Trott would have been sixty-four in 1938, certainly a reasonable age for retirement, and towards the maximum life expectancy for that time. As a professional violinist, teacher, composer, single mother, bilingual author, all in the days when women had only recently gotten the vote, Josephine Trott is a fascinating figure with a legacy beyond Melodious Double Stops.
Postscript: After this article was published in the AST Journal, I was sent a copy of Trott's obituary. She died in 1950 in Topeka, Kansas-- 50 miles from where I live!