Skip to main content

Philip Hale papers

Identifier: MRBC-MS-00145

Scope and Contents

The Philip Hale Papers consist of .5 linear feet. The collection consists of primarily of letters and photographs.

The WRITINGS series contains a notebook used by Hale during his student years at Yale University and a brief manuscript by Hale. CORRESPONDENCE contains letters written to Hale by individuals, including Walt Whitman, and letters by Hale (photocopies) to Walt Whitman. SERIES III. Contains notes in Mrs. Philip Hale's hand on her husband and other items associated with her. PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEMORABILIA contain photographs of Hale as a child, during his student days at Yale and from his early days in Boston, as well as photographs of various homes associated with Hale. WRITINGS ON PHILIP HALE contains a few articles on Hale's writings.

Dates of Materials

  • 1850s-1936


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the works or their legal representatives.

Biographical / Historical

Philip Hale was born in Norwich, Vermont, on March 5, 1854, the son of William and Harriet Amelia (Porter) Hale. After his parents moved to Northampton, Mass., he studied organ and piano and became at age fourteen the organist of the Unitarian Church in Northampton. He studied at Phillips Exeter Academy and at Yale University (A.B., 1876), where he continued his musical studies. After an apprenticeship in the law office of his uncle in Albany, N.Y., Hale was admitted to the New York Bar in 1880 and practiced law for two years. At the same time he was organist of St. Peter's (Episcopal) Church and was music critic for the Albany Times. This was followed by five years of music study in Europe (1882-1887), largely in Berlin, Dresden and Paris.

Upon his return to the United States, he lived in Albany, N.Y., served as organist at St. John's (Episcopal) Church in Troy and served as music critic for a variety of newspapers. In 1889 he became the organist for the First Religious Society (Unitarian) of Roxbury, Mass., and held the position for seventeen years. In Boston he served as music critic for the Post (1890-1891) and the Journal (1892-1898). At the Herald (1903-1933) he served as music and drama critic and became known for his program notes for the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1901-1934).

Philip Hale married Irene Baumgras in Berlin, Germany, July 9, 1884, the daughter of Peter Baumgras of Washington, D.C. Hale died in Boston on November 30, 1934.

Hale was also the editor of Musical Record (1897-1901) and the Musical World (1901-1902) and edited or wrote introductions to various editions of music. After his death a compilation of his program notes was published: Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes, edited by John N. Burk (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran, 1935).

[Sources: "Philip Hale," The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 14 (1917): 462-463; "Philip Hale," Groves Music Online (2006)]


1 boxes (.5 linear feet)


The Philip Hale papers contain writings of Hale's, letters to him and his correspondence with Walt Whitman, items related to his wife, Mrs. Philip Hale (Irene Baumgras), photographs of Hale and his homes. Included is a notebook from his student days at Yale University.


This collection is organized into five series:
  1. I. WRITINGS (1876)
  2. II. CORRESPONDENCE (1871-1921)
  3. III. Mrs. PHILIP HALE (Irene Baumgras) (1935)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Philip Hale papers were donated to the Smith College Libraries' Mortimer Rare Book Room by his wife, Mrs. Philip Hale, and his niece, Emily Hale (Smith College, Assistant Professor of Spoken English, 1936-1940).

Related Material

Philip Hale Collection, Special Collections, Music Department, Boston Public Library

Processing Information

Processed by Melvin Carlson, Jr., 2006
Philip Hale papers
Finding Aid
Melvin Carlson, Jr.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (

Repository Details

Part of the Mortimer Rare Book Collection Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063