Emerson Whithorne was a notable American composer and researcher into the history of music. He had a reputation as an authority on the music of China. Whithorne lived for a period in London, staying until 1915. The Times reported that Whithorne was prosecuted for playing the pianoforte at unsocial hours. In November 1913 he won the case brought by the landlord of his South Kensington flat. Whithorne was married to Ethel Leginska.