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Guide to the George Sherman Dickinson Papers, [ca.1909]-1964 (bulk 1913-1914, 1955-1964)

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Dickinson, George Sherman, 1888-1964
Title: George Sherman Dickinson Papers
Inclusive Dates: [ca.1909]-1964
Bulk Dates: 1913-1914, 1955-1964
Quantity: 74 letters in one box (0.3 cubic ft.)
Abstract: Letters from George Sherman Dickinson to Oliver M. Sayler and Joan Stambaugh. Also includes three letters from Bess Dickinson to Sayler.
Forms of Materials: Correspondence

Biographical Note

George Sherman Dickinson (b. 9 Feb. 1888, St. Paul, MN; d. 6 Nov. 1964, Chapel Hill, NC) was an organist, choirmaster, professor of music and librarian. He did his undergraduate work at Oberlin College (A.B. 1909, Mus. B 1910) and his graduate work at Harvard University (A.M. 1912). He married Bessie May McClure in 1913. They spent the following year in Europe, mostly in Berlin where he studied with Hugo Kaun and Paul Juon. In 1916 he accepted a teaching position at Vassar College. His impact on the Music Department was profound. Not only he was a popular professor, he served as chair of the department from 1932-1944, planned the Belle Skinner Hall of Music, and was named Music Librarian in 1927. Dickinson retired from Vassar in 1953.

For more biographical details, see the Dickinson material in the Vassar College Biographical Files.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection includes two main sets of letters. One set contains 25 letters from George Sherman Dickinson to author and theatre critic, Oliver M. Sayler, as well as 3 letters from Bess Dickinson to Sayler. Dickinson met Sayler when they were both undergraduates at Oberlin College. Most of the letters are from 1913-1914, when the Dickinsons were in Berlin. These letters are largely about travel arrangements, but there is some information about George Dickinson's studies, including a brief description of his work with Hugo Kaun and Paul Juon. 5 letters are from Dickinson's time at Vassar College and range in date from 1919-1931.

The second set of letters are from Dickinson to Joan Stambaugh (VC 1955), a former student who kept in touch after he retired in 1953. These letters include advice about living in Germany (Stambaugh held fellowships at Freiburg University from 1955-1961), news about Vassar College, reports on Dickinson's work, advice on Stambaugh's work in philosophy as well as music, and personal updates. There are 44 Stambaugh letters. They date from 1955-1964.

There is also a letter from Charles Gordon Post dated 22 Feb 1964, and a response to an invitation from the Vassar Class of 1917 to attend their opening of the Senior Parlor in Main Building in October 1916.

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Access and Use

Access

This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

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Related Material

  • See also the Dickinson material in:

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Subject Headings

Names:

  • Dickinson, Bessie McClure.
  • Sayler, Oliver Martin, 1887- .

Organizations:

  • Vassar College--Faculty.
  • Vassar College. Dept. of Music.

Places:

  • Germany -- Description and travel

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Laura Finkel, September 2008.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

George Sherman Dickinson Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Finkel, September 2008.

Acquisition Information

The Stambaugh letters were a gift of Joan Stambaugh, November 1991. The Sayler letters [M2008-008] were purchased from Philip Prenzel, July 2008.

The Post letter was a gift from Post in 1969. The provenance of the Senior Parlor opening invitation is unknown. Both were added to this collection from the Autograph Files in 2008.

Custodial History

The Sayler letters [M2008-008] were purchased by Philip Prenzel on Ebay as part of a larger collection of Sayler material.

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Container List

There is no container list currently available for this collection.