The May Esther Peterson Thompson Collection

at Southwestern University

Scope and Content Note

The May Esther Peterson Thompson Collection is divided into two sections, personal papers and sheet music. The personal papers include correspondence to and from May Peterson and Col. Thompson, relatives, composers, friends, and her lawyer. The collection also contains recital and concert programs; travel brochures from Europe and America; recital planning and repertoire ideas; advertisements for Peterson’s performances and recordings; newspaper clippings and articles related to May Peterson and Col. Thompson; and various ephemera including business and calling cards, greeting cards, and horoscope cards. There is also a scrapbook of early performances dating back to 1896.

The sheet music collection contains mostly American art songs published in the 1920’s but also includes art songs from the standard classical voice repertoire, folk songs, sacred songs, choral music, song cycles, pieces for organ and a book of cadenzas for arias. The sheet music collection was housed at Southwestern University’s School of Fine Arts for many years. When it was transferred to the library, some classical pieces were removed for cataloging in the general collection. The remaining pieces were sent to Special Collections where her personal papers were held. The popular sheet music also complemented the Carrie Minette Hickerson Sheet Music Collection housed in Special Collections.

A searchable database for the sheet music is available; a printed inventory is housed at the beginning of the sheet music collection.

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