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Guide to the Clair Leonard Papers, circa 1926-1962

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Leonard, Clair, 1901-1963
Title: Clair Leonard Papers
Dates: circa 1925-1962
Quantity: 2.5 cubic ft. (9 boxes)
Abstract: Correspondence, music scores, manuscript, typescripts, audio tape, biographical materials, concert programs, and clippings relating to the life and professional career of Clair Leonard.
Forms of Materials: Correspondence, music scores, manuscript, typescripts, audio tape, biographical materials, concert programs, clippings.

Biographical Note

Clair Leonard was born in 1901. A noted composer and teacher, Leonard studied at Harvard, the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, and the New England Conservatory and with Nadia Boulanger of Paris. In 1934, after teaching music and French at Harvard, Radcliffe, and the Univerity of Vermont, Leonard joined the Music Department of Vassar College, where he taught as an assisstant and associate professor until 1947. He then moved to Bard College, serving there as professor of music and chair of the music department until 1963. Leonard composed a wide variety of music, ranging from musical theater to pieces for small ensembles and orchestral and choral works. One of his most notable compositions was music to accompany W. H. Auden's one-act play, The Dance of Death. Clair Leonard died in Poughkeepsie, NY, on February 7, 1963.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection includes correspondence regarding mainly the performance and publication of Clair Leonard's compositions; copies of music scores; an audio tape of a performance of "Song of the Universal"; biographical materials compiled by Clair Leonard; a typescript of It Can't Happen Hereby John C. Moffitt and Sinclair Lewis; a typescript of The Natural Man by Theordore Browne; a typescript of The Principles of Right Reason by Howard S. Leonard; programs of concert performances by Clair Leonard and/or of his music; and clippings concerning concert performances of his music.

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This collection is arranged in 3 series: Correspondence, Scores, and Miscellaneous Materials.

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Access and Use


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

Restrictions on Use

Permission to quote (publish) from unpublished or previously published material must be obtained as described in the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library.

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Subject Headings


  • Browne, Theodore, 1910-
  • Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951
  • Moffitt, John C., 1901-1969
  • Rascher, Sigurd


  • Bard College--Faculty
  • Vassar College--Faculty
  • Vassar College. Department of Music


  • Composers--United States--20th century.

Document Types:

  • Scores

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Mark Seidl, December 2013

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The audio tape in Series III will need to be duplicated at the researcher's expense before use.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Clair Leaonard Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Mark Seidl, November-December 2013

Acquisition Information

Collection transferred from the Vassar College Department of Music (M2010-008).

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Series List

Series I. Correspondence, 1936-1962

This series consists mainly of Clair Leonard'a correspondence with music publishers and concert venues. Also included is some personal correspondence. The series in arranged chronologically.

Series II.Scores, circa 1926-1961

This series consists of copies of Clair Leonard's musical scores. These include manuscripts, prints, blueprints, and photocopies. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series III. Miscellaneous Materials, circa 1936-1961

This series includes audio tape, typescripts, concert programs, biographical materials, and clippings. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Container List

SERIES I. Correspondence, 1936-1962

Folder 1.1 1936-1937
Folder 1.2 1944-1948
Folder 1.3 1953-1955
Folder 1.4 1961-1962

SERIES II. Scores, circa 1926-1962

Folder 2.1 Ballad of the Successful Young man, undated
Folders 2.2-2.3 Capriccio for Woodwind Quintet "Kappa Ta Lamb da, undated
Folder 2.4 Choral Vocalise No. 2, circa 1961
Folder 2.5 [Collection: If I Speak with the Tongues of Men, The Earth is the Lord's, Canyon Voyage, Rondo Cappriccio for Oboe and Piano], circa 1945-circa 1949
Folders 2.6-2.9 Concerto for Piano Forte and Orchestra, B flat minor, 1933
Folder 2.10 Cor Mio (Monteverdi, arr. Leonard), undated
Folder 2.11 Dreated He Them, undated
Folder 2.12 A Dance, undated
Folders 2.13-15 Dance of Death, 1935
Folders 3.1-3.8 Dance of Death, 1935
Folders 7.1-7.4 Dance of Death, 1935
Folder 1.8 Elegiac Rhapsody, 1961
Folder 7.5 An Elegy for Spain, 1937
Folder 1.9 Exercises in Sight Singing and Dictation, undated
Folder 3.9 Four Piano Sonatas, 1931
Folder 3.10 The Grandsons, 1943
Folder 4.1 Hommage à Ravel, undated
Folder 4.2 Hungarian Folksongs, 1957
Folder 4.3 [Incidental music to plays at Bard College and Vassar College], 1934-1959
Folder 4.4 [Isolated pencil sketches], undated
Folder 7.6 Komm susser Tod-chorale, after 1945
Folder 4.5 Missa Sancti Albani 1940
Folder 4.6 [Music for dance and for films], circa 1952-circa 1957
Folder 4.7 My Country Right or Left, 1935
Folder 4.8 [Organ music-Six Versets on "O Quanta Qualia"], 1955
Folder 4.9 Peace on Earth-a Christmas Cantata, undated
Folder 4.10 The Price of Wisdom, undated
Folder 4.11 Psalm 42, undated
Folder 4.12 Psalm 121, circa 1947
Folder 7.7 Psalm fo O.J.J., 1930
Folder 4.13 Recitative and Abracadabra, 1941 Includes correspondence between Clair Leonard and Sigurd M. Rascher
Folders 5.1-5.2 Requiem, 1944
Folder 5.3 [Secular songs], circa 1926-circa 1960
Folder 5.4 [Short pieces of chamber groups] 1955-1957
Folder 5.5 [Short sacred choruses], undated
Folder 5.6 [Short secular choruses], circa 1929-circa 1960
Folder 5.7 Sinfonetta for Men's Voices (Psalm 130), undated
Folder 5.8 Sonata for Violin and Piano, 1940
Folders 5.9-5.10 Song of the Universal, 1940 Folders 1-2 of 7
Folders 1.10-1.11 Song of the Universal, 1940 Folders 3-4 of 7
Folders 7.8-7.10 Song of the Universal, 1940 Folders 5-7 of 7
Folder 6.1 [Songs (light), parodies, isolated pieces from show music, etc.], undated Folder 1 of 2
Folder 7.11 [Songs (light), parodies, isolated pieces from show music, etc.], Folder 2 of 2
Folder 6.2 Sun Dance, undated
Folder 6.3 Symphony, undated
Folder 6.4 Te Deum, circa 1945
Folder 6.5 Tombeaux, 1929 Folder 1 of 2
Folder 7.12 Tombeaux, 1929 Folder 2 of 2
Folder 1.13 Tonight We Correlate, circa 1937
Folders 6.6-6.8 Trio for Violin, Viola, and Cello for Boris Koutzen, undated
Folder 6.9 [Vassar College Centennial music], circa 1960 Includes correspondence
Folder 6.10 War Song of the Dinas Vawr, 1937
Folder 7.13 [Miscellaneous scores], undated
Folder 7.14 [Scores not by Clair Leonard], undated

SERIES III. Miscellaneous Materials, circa 1930-circa 1962

Box 8 Audio tape - Song of the Universal; Hayden, Sonata, B minor, undated
Folder 8.1 Biographical materials, after 1937
Folder 8.2 Clippings, circa 1936-circa 1960
Folder 8.3 It Can't Happen Here, by John C. Moffitt and Sinclair Lewis, 1936
Folder 8.4 The Natural Man, by Theodore Browne, circa 1936
Folder 8.5 Performance notes, undated
Folder 8.6 The Principles of Right Reason, by Howard S. Leonard, 1953 Includes 13 p. of notes in hand of Clair Leonard
Box 9 Programs, circa 1934-1961 6 folders. Includes program for performance of "America, America!" by Alfred Kreymborg with inscription by Kreymborg to Clair Leonard (folder 6).

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