Scope and Contents
The Grace Spofford Papers consist of biographical material, correspondence, diaries, business papers (mostly financial), memorabilia, speeches, writings, sheet music, photographs, organization files, and subject files. The bulk of the material is the files on organizations (primarily music-related) for which and with which Spofford worked. There are also a large number of subject files on women in music including biographical files on individual women musicians. Though there is one item dated 1795, the bulk of the materials are dated from 1935 to 1954.
Dates of Materials
Majority of material found within 1935-1954
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Access
Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (email@example.com) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright to unpublished materials may be owned by the creator, or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.
Biographical / Historical
Grace Spofford was born in 1887 in Haverhill, MA. She studied piano from age seven and entered Mt. Holyoke College in 1905, transferring after one year to Smith College. After receiving an A.B. from Smith in 1909, Spofford taught piano at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, OH, and gave recitals in small towns in the midwest. In 1912, she went to Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD, where she studied piano and organ, taught piano, wrote music criticism for the Baltimore Evening Sun, and published A Guide for Beginners in Piano Playing (1916) with her lifelong friend Elizabeth Coulson. An injury combined with a love of administrative work led to jobs as Executive Secretary at Peabody (1917-24) and first Dean of the newly established Curtis Institute of Music (1924-31) in Philadelphia. After moving to NY in 1931, she worked as Associate Director of the NY College of Music, Executive Secretary of Layman's Music Courses, and manager of the Curtis String Quartet. In 1935 Spofford became Director of the Music School of the Henry Street Settlement where she worked to de-professionalize music and encourage widespread participation in music "shared as a common experience of life." After her retirement in 1954, Spofford represented the U.S. at many national and international music and music education conferences, was a delegate to the International Music Council of UNESCO, and served on the International and National Councils of Women. She died in 1974.
23 boxes (12.25 linear feet)