TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Administrative Information

Biography of John Alden Carpenter

Scope and Content of the Collection

Organization

Selected Search Terms

Container List

Series 1: Correspondence, 1904-1963

Series 2: Works, 1915-1945

Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1917-1961

Series 4: Photographs, 1890-1964

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Inventory of the John Alden Carpenter Papers, 1890-1964, bulk 1900-1950


The Newberry Library
Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610-7324
USA
Phone: 312-255-3506
Fax: 312-255-3646
E-Mail: specialcolls@newberry.org
URL: http://www.newberry.org

Machine-readable finding aid encoded by Martha Briggs, 2004.

©2004.


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Creator Carpenter, John Alden, 1876-1951
Title John Alden Carpenter Papers
Dates 1890-1964,
Dates bulk 1900-1950
Extent 3 linear feet (3 boxes, 1 oversize box)
Abstract Correspondence, mostly incoming, to American composer John Alden Carpenter, wife Rue W. Carpenter and daughter Genevieve; also material relating to Carpenter’s works; a miscellany of personal records; and a collection of photographs, many of them of well-known musicians.
Language Materials are in English.
Repository Newberry Library, Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
Collection Call Number Midwest MS Carpenter
Collection Stack Location 3a 37 1

Administrative Information

Cite As

John Alden Carpenter Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Provenance

Gift of Mrs. Patrick Hill (daughter Genevieve Carpenter), 1977; gift of Mrs. Ivor LeClerc (Joan Pirie LeClerc, granddaughter of Carpenter’s second wife Ellen), 1979, 1987.

Processed by

Virginia H. Smith, 2004.

Access

The John Alden Carpenter Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum, and items in each folder will be counted before and after delivery to the patron (Priority I).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The John Alden Carpenter Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

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Biography of John Alden Carpenter

American composer.

John Alden Carpenter was born in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1876. His first piano teacher was his mother and he later studied in Chicago with Amy Fay, who was a student of Liszt’s, and W.C.E. Seeboeck, who had been a pupil of Brahms and Rubinstein. After graduating from Harvard, Carpenter returned to Chicago to work for George B. Carpenter and Company, a family shipping-supplies company of which he eventually became vice-president. He then began dividing his time between business and musical composition.

Carpenter studied briefly with Edward Elgar, and from 1909-1912 with Bernard Ziehn in Chicago. In 1913, he established his reputation with his song-cycle Gitanjali, based on poems of Rabindranath Tagore. In 1915 he produced his first major orchestral work, Adventures in a Perambulator – inspired in part by his only child, Genevieve (Ginny) and Concertino for piano and orchestra. Carpenter composed ballet scores: The Birthday of the Infanta in 1919, Krazy Kat, based on the cartoons of George Herriman, in 1922, and Skyscrapers in 1926.

Carpenter is perhaps most famous for his great output of piano pieces and songs, among which are Looking-Glass River, with lyrics based on the poems of Robert Louis Stevenson, Two Night Songs, with lyrics by Siegfried Sassoon, and Four Negro Songs, based on poems of Langston Hughes. His work in general has an impressionistic lightness, but ranges widely in expression from light and humorous to the poetic and moody, from jazz-inspired to patriotic, and from the popular to the non-Western. After 1937 Carpenter devoted himself mainly to revising and rearranging earlier scores. One of his last compositions was The Seven Ages (1945), based on the Shakespearean soliloquy.

Carpenter married Rue Winterbotham, a designer and interior decorator, in 1900 and following her death in 1931, he married Ellen Borden. Besides his composing, he was active in the Chicago musical scene, guiding the musical activities of the Chicago Arts Club, and directing the Chicago Allied Arts, which staged dances by Ruth Page and Adolph Bohm. Although Carpenter had great success in his lifetime – his concert music was presented by leading conductors and his songs performed by acclaimed singers – by the twenty-first century the majority of his scores have fallen into obscurity. However, he remains an important figure for creating works which are recognized as distinctly American.

Carpenter died in Chicago in 1951, after spending much time in his Sarasota, Florida, home.

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Scope and Content of the Collection

Most of the correspondence relates to Carpenter’s musical activities, and includes letters written not only to him but also to his wife, Rue, and his daughter Genevieve (Ginny). There is one folder of drafts or carbons of Carpenter’s outgoing correspondence and one folder of correspondence with his music publisher, G. Schirmer, Inc.. Among the well-known correspondents of Carpenter, his wife and daughter are John Barrymore, Sarah Bernhardt, Marcel Duchamp, Percy Grainger, George Herriman, Langston Hughes, Serge Koussevitsky, Fernand Leger, Vachel Lindsay, John McCormack, Pierre Monteux, Gerald Murphy, Sir William Nicholson, Eugene Ormandy, Serge Prokofieff, Artur Rodzinski, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Philip Sousa, Adlai Stevenson, Igor Stravinsky, George Szell, Alice B. Toklas, Louis Untermeyer, Bruno Walter and Thornton Wilder.

Also, material regarding Carpenter’s ballet music, including a printed copy of the score of Krazy Kat and sketches of the costumes and staging of Skyscrapers by Robert Edmond Jones; a small collection of autographs including four with cartoons by Clare Briggs, Charlie Chaplin, George Herriman and Charles Schulz; clippings and miscellaneous programs, financial records both personal and professional, a radio interview, and information on his memorial in 1960. There is one folder of material relating to Rue Winterbotham Carpenter, including a lock of her hair. Also, one box of photographs of family and many celebrities, the most interesting of which are shots of Picasso and Stravinsky and one group photo featuring Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks. In an oversize box are photos of Arthur Rubinstein and of a vast banquet given for Frederick A. Stock, plus a few designs for Skyscrapers.

Narrative descriptions of the subject matter, types of material, and arrangement of each series are available through the Organization section of the finding aid.

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Organization

Papers are organized in the following series:

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Selected Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Newberry Library's public catalog. Researchers desiring additional materials on a particular topic should search the catalog using these headings.

Names

  • Barrymore, John, 1882-1942
  • Bernhardt, Sarah, 1844-1923
  • Briggs, Clare A., 1875-1930
  • Carpenter, John Alden, 1876-1951
  • Carpenter, Rue Winterbotham, d. 1931
  • Chaplin, Charlie, 1889-1977
  • Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968
  • Fairbanks, Douglas, 1883-1939
  • G. Shirmer, Inc.
  • Grainger, Percy, 1882-1961
  • Herriman, George, 1880-1944
  • Hill, Genevieve Carpenter
  • Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967
  • Jones, Robert Edmond, 1887-1954
  • Koussevitsky, Serge
  • Leger, Fernand, 1881-1955
  • Lindsay, Vachel, 1879-1931
  • McCormack, John, 1884-1945
  • Monteux, Pierre, 1875-1964
  • Murphy, Gerald, 1888-1964
  • Nicholson, William, Sir, 1872-1949
  • Ormandy, Eugene, 1899-1985
  • Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973
  • Prokofieff, Serge
  • Rodzinski, Artur, 1892-1958
  • Rubinstein, Artur, 1887-
  • Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 1848-1907
  • Schulz, Charles M.
  • Sousa, John Philip, 1854-1932
  • Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965
  • Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971
  • Szell, George, 1897-1970
  • Toklas, Alice B.
  • Untermeyer, Louis, 1885-1977
  • Walter, Bruno, 1876-1962
  • Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975

Subjects

  • Actors -- Correspondence
  • Actors -- Correspondence
  • Actors -- Portraits
  • Artists -- Correspondence
  • Artists -- Portraits
  • Cartoons -- 1917-1920
  • Composers -- Correspondence
  • Conductors (Music) -- Correspondence
  • Correspondence -- 1901-1950
  • Correspondence -- 1951-2000
  • Costume design drawings
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Musicians -- Correspondence
  • Musicians -- Portraits
  • Photographs -- 1851-1900
  • Photographs -- 1901-1950
  • Set design drawings

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Container List

Series 1: Correspondence, 1904-1963

Letters to John Alden Carpenter, Rue Winterbotham Carpenter and Genevieve (Ginny) Carpenter Hill from a range of persons involved in music, theater and the arts; one folder of copies of letters written by Carpenter himself regarding his compositions and one folder of correspondence with his music publisher, G. Schirmer, Inc. Among the correspondents are John Barrymore, Sarah Bernhardt, Marcel Duchamp, Percy Grainger, George Herriman, Langston Hughes, Serge Koussevitsky, Fernand Leger, Vachel Lindsay, John McCormack, Gerald Murphy, Sir William Nicholson, Eugene Ormandy, Artur Rodzinski, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Philip Sousa, Adlai Stevenson, Igor Stravinsky, George Szell, Alice B. Toklas, Louis Untermeyer, Walter Bruno and Thornton Wilder.
Letters to all three Carpenters arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Alexander, Irene, Oct. 17, 1949
1 2 Ames, Winthrop, June 14, 1918
1 3 Arliss, George (2 letters), 1926-1929
1 4 Austin, Warren, June 7, 1946
1 5 Baerwald, Hellmut, Oct. 30, 1946
1 6 Barrymore, John, n.d.
1 7 Barzin, Leon, Apr. 11, 1947
1 8 Belloc, Hilaire, July 7, 1925
1 9 Bennett, Robert Russell, Feb. 11, 1950
1 10 Bernhardt, Sarah, 1918
1 11 Boulanger, Nadia, Mar. 15, 1939
1 12 Brancusi, Constantin (card), n.d.
1 13 Busch, Fritz (4 letters), 1948-1949
1 14 Cabijos, Marcel, Dec., 1948
1 15 Calve, Emma, Mar., Aug., 1923
1 16 Capeau, J., Aug. 16, 1920
1 17 Carpenter, Hubbard (2 letters), 1946-1948
1 18 Carpenter, John Alden, 1928-1950
1 19 Cassidy, Claudia, Dec. 9, 1948
1 20 Castle, Irene (fragment), n.d.
1 21 de Mouvel, Barnard, n.d.
1 22 Donahue, Lester, Oct. 18, 1949
1 23 Doolittle, J.H., Feb. 7, 1950
1 24 Drew, John, Nov. 11, 1922
1 25 Duchamp, Marcel (2 letters), n.d., 1929
1 26 Egerinsky, Leopold, Mar. 21, 1948
1 27 Ewen, David, May 4, 1946
1 28 Ferguson, Elsie, n.d.
1 29 Flagstad, Kirsten, Nov. 20, 1949
1 30 Gale, Zona, Feb. 11, 1936
1 31 Gilbert, Richard, Aug. 17, 1948
1 32 Gluck, Alma, n.d.
1 33 Grainger, Percy (2 letters), 1916-1940
1 34 Gross, Bethuel, Aug. 29, 1950
1 35 Hannikainen, Tauno, Mar. 27, 1950
1 36 Hart, Elizabeth, May 3, 1949
1 37 Heidenson, Mona (4 letters), n.d., 1949-1950
1 38 Herriman, George, n.d.
1 39 Hill, Ginny Carpenter (2 letters), 1950
1 40 Homer, Sidney, Oct. 31, 1914
1 41 Hughes, Langston (with typewritten poems), Nov. 1, 1926
1 42 Janssen, Werner (4 letters), 1948-1949
1 43 Johnson, Burgess, Nov. 9, 1904
1 44 Johnson, Nelson T., Jan. 13, 1936
1 45 Jones, Robert E. (6 letters), n.d., 1931-1947
1 46 Judd, George E., July 1, 1949
1 47 Kerr, Harrison, Feb. 9, 1948
1 48 Kimball, W.W., Dec. 27, 1948
1 49 [Knoblock, Edward], Apr., 1916
1 50 Koussevitsky, Serge (4 letters), 1939-1948
1 51 Laurencin, Marie, n.d.
1 52 Lavery, John, Sept. 16, 1915
1 53 Leginska, Ethel, Mar. 15, 1949
1 54 Leger, Fernand (2 letters), n.d., 1931
1 55 Lindsay, Vachel, Feb. 26, 1917
1 56 Lippmann, Walter (2 letters), 1946-1961
1 57 McArthur, Edwin, Oct. 6, 1949
1 58 McCormack, John, n.d.
1 59 McEvoy, Ambrose, n.d.
1 60 MacLeish, Archibald, Aug. 25, 1950
1 61 Marcoux, Vanni (2 letters), 1917-1918
1 62 Massee, Jordan, Jr., Nov. 27, 1944
1 63 Mei Lan-Fang, Apr. 12, 1930
1 64 Merritt, A. Tillman (2 letters), 1944-1945
1 65 Miller, Christine, n.d.
1 66 Mohr, Richard, Apr. 29, 1949
1 67 Monteux, Pierre to Serge Diaghilev; to J.A.Carpenter, n.d., July 11, 1947,
1 68 Murphy, Gerald, 1924
1 69 Nicholson, Sir William (2 letters), 1937-1942
1 70 Norton, Spencer H., May 6, 1948
1 71 O'Connell, Charles (2 letters), 1938-1941
1 72 Oden, Bonnie, Oct. 19, 1949
1 73 Ormandy, Eugene (5 letters), n.d., 1946-1959
1 74 Orpen, William, n.d.
1 75 Paderewska, Helena, Apr. 27, 191?
1 76 Philpot, Glyn W., n.d.
1 77 Pleasant, Richard (2 letters), 1940-1947
1 78 Prokofieff, Serge, Apr. 15, 1921
1 79 Rodzinski, Artur (6 letters), 1942-1949
1 80 Roth, George (7 letters), 1948-1950
1 81 Ryerson, Edward, Jan. 12, 1950
1 82 Sackville, Victoria, n.d.
1 83 Sargent, John Singer, Mar. 12, 1918
1 84 Scaife, Roger L., n.d.
1 85 Schelling, Ernest, n.d.
1 86 Schindler, Kurt, (fragment), n.d.
1 87 Schirmer, Rudolph E., Mar. 10, 1914
1 88 Scott, Carlyle, Mar. 26, 1913
1 89 Segovia, Andres, Feb. 2, 1931
1 90 Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, n.d.
1 91 G. Schirmer, Inc., ca. 1940-1950
1 92 Sevitsky, Fabien (2 letters), 1943
1 93 Smith, Carleton, Aug. 2, 1950
1 94 Sousa, John Philip, May 20, 1917
1 95 Spalding, Albert, Nov. 10, n.d.
1 96 Stevenson, Adlai (2 letters), 1952-1963
1 97 Stock, Frederick A., n.d.
1 98 Stravinsky, Igor (3 letters), 1928-1935
1 99 Szell, George, June 15, 1943
1 100 Swainson, Dorothy, n.d.
1 101 Swift, Harold H., May 31, 1949
2 102 Teyte, Maggie (3 letters), n.d., 1919
2 103 Toklas, Alice B., Apr. 17, 1935
2 104 Untermeyer, Louis (2 letters), 1912
2 105 Wallace, Robert K., May 28, 1948
2 106 Walpole, Hugh, May 7, 1920
2 107 Walter, Bruno (2 letters), 1940-1947
2 108 Wilder, Thornton, June 2, 1938
2 109 Young, Stark, n.d.
2 110 Young, Victor, 1950
2 111 Unidentified, n.d., 1918-1950

Series 2: Works, 1915-1945

Manuscript material relating to Carpenter's ballet scores, including a drawings of sets and costumes for Skyscrapers, 1926, by Robert Edmond Jones. Also, a published score for Krazy Kat, and a folder containing a piece of music he sent to his daughter, a typescript of an article subtitled "J.A.C. amateur columnist, 1932"; and a Christmas book list.
Ballet material arranged alphabetically by title; the remaining folder titled Miscellaneous.

Box Folder Contents
2 112 Adventures in a Perambulator, 1915
2 113 Birthday of the Infanta, 1919
2 114 Krazy Kat (printed score), 1922
2 115 Krazy Kat, 1926, 1929
2 116 The Seven Ages, ca. 1945
2 117 Skyscrapers, 1926
2 118 Skyscrapers: sketches for sets and costumes by Robert Edmond Jones (large drawings removed to Oversize)
2 119 Miscellaneous music, article and book list

Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1917-1961

Autographs (some with small cartoons by Clare Briggs, Charlie Chaplin, George Herriman and Charles Schulz); clippings, financial records, memorabilia, programs and a radio interview. Also, material relating to a Carpenter memorial in 1960, and a folder relating to Rue Winterbotham Carpenter, including a lock of her hair.
Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Box Folder Contents
2 120 Autographs, A-Z
2 121 Autograph with cartoon: Clare Briggs, 1917
2 122 Autograph with cartoon: Charlie Chaplin, 1920
2 123 Autograph with cartoon: George Herriman, 1917
2 124 Autograph with cartoon: Charles Schulz, n.d.
2 125 Clippings, ca. 1921-1951
2 126 Financial records: home maintenance and repair, 1945-1949
2 127 Financial records: personal, ca. 1947-1950
2 128 Financial records: royalties statements, 1947-1950
2 129 Memorabilia and personal items, 1921-1949
2 130 Memorial material, 1960
2 131 Programs (see also Oversize), 1928-1942
2 132 Programs, 1946-1961
2 133 Radio interview, 1949
2 134 Rue Winterbotham Carpenter material, with memorial and lock of hair, 1930-1931

Series 4: Photographs, 1890-1964

A collection of photographs of celebrities in music and the arts, including Arthur Rubinstein, Igor Stravinsky and Theodore Thomas; several folders of images of Carpenter and members of his family, including his wife Rue Winterbotham Carpenter, his daughter Genevieve (Ginny) Carpenter Hill and his granddaughter Rue Diane Hill; and a few miscellaneous shots of places.
Organized into celebrity, family and place photographs. Each category is arranged alphabetically.

Box Folder Contents
3 135 Adams, Maude, 1917
3 136 Arliss, George, n.d.
3 137 Barrymore, John, 1917
3 138 Calve, Emma, n.d.
3 139 Caruso, Enrico, 1918
3 140 Chaplin, Charlie (with Douglas Fairbanks and Edward Knoblock), n.d.
3 141 Churchill, Sir Winston, n.d.
3 142 Curey, Ameli Sagalli, 1917
3 143 Drew, John, 1915
3 144 Edvina, Marie-Louise, 1916
3 145 Grainger, Percy
3 146 Koussevitsky, Serge, 1940
3 147 Kreisler, Fritz, n.d.
3 148 Paderewski, Ignace Jan, n.d.
3 149 Picasso, Pablo, n.d.
3 150 Remisoff, Nicolas, n.d.
3 151 Rubinstein, Arthur (removed to Oversize), n.d., 1964
3 152 Stravinsky, Igor. n.d., 1936 (one n.d. with Debussy)
3 153 Taylor, Laurette, n.d.
3 154 Tempest, Marie, n.d.
3 155 Thomas, Theodore, 1892
3 156 Vanni-Marcoux, 1918
3 157 Carpenter, John Alden, ca. 1890-1940
3 158 Carpenter, Rue Winterbotham and Carpenter, Genevieve (Ginny), ca. 1903-1935
3 159 Hill, Rue Diane, ca. 1934-1946
3 160 Family, unidentified; Sarasota, n.d.
3 161 Bohemian Club of Chicago: banquet for Frederick A. Stock (removed to Oversize), 1930
3 162 Detroit Art Institute, n.d.
3 163 John Adams High School, Cleveland: mural, 1943
3 164 John Alden Carpenter Memorial Theatre, n.d.

5: Oversize Box (see box and folder listings for items in this box).