Coolidge, Elizabeth Sprague, 1864-1953

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Biographical Note

  • 1864, Oct. 30: Born Elizabeth Penn Sprague, Chicago, Illinois, to Albert Arnold and Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague
  • circa 1872: Began piano lessons with Regina Cohn Watson
  • 1891: Married Frederic Shurtleff Coolidge (died 1915)
  • 1894, Jan. 23: Son Albert Sprague Coolidge born (died 1977)
  • 1901: Composed A Cycle of Songs based on sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • 1904: Settled in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to improve husband's health
  • 1915, Jan. 10: Father died Used half of inheritance to establish pension fund for Chicago Symphony Orchestra in her father's name
  • circa 1915: Began studying composition with Rubin Goldmark, Percy Goetschius, Arthur Whiting, Antonio Brescia and Daniel Gregory Mason Composed string quartet
  • 1916, Mar. 28: Mother died
  • 1916 May: Offered contract to Hugo Kortschak's quartet to move to East Coast and form Berkshire Quartet
  • 1917: Albert Arnold Sprague Memorial Hall dedicated, given as a home for Yale University's music department by Coolidge and her mother
  • 1918: Established home for the Berkshire Quartet and inaugurated the South Mountain (later Berkshire) Chamber Music Festival outside of Pittsfield, Massachusetts Established Berkshire Competition for composition of chamber music
  • 1918 - 1924 : Sponsored seven annual Berkshire Chamber Music Festivals
  • 1921: Portrait painted by John Singer Sargent
  • 1922: Met Carl Engel, chief of the Library of Congress Music Division Gave Berkshire competition music manuscripts to Library of Congress Suggested Library of Congress host series of concerts to feature Berkshire competition music
  • 1923 - circa 1939 : Funded extensive music tours in Europe
  • 1924 Feb.: Berkshire Quartet performed at Freer Gallery of Art (3 concerts) which included six works dedicated to and/or commissioned by Coolidge
  • 1924, Oct. 23: Sent letter to Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam, expressing intent to establish an endowment in support of chamber music and build an auditorium for performances at the Library
  • 1925, Jan. 23: President Coolidge [no relation] signed law authorizing Coolidge donation of the Library of Congress auditorium specifically intended for chamber music
  • 1925, Mar. 3: President Coolidge signed into law the Coolidge Foundation at the Library of Congress to organize concerts in the auditorium and to commission new chamber music from both European and American composers
  • 1925, Oct. 28 - 30 : First Library of Congress festival with commissioned works by Charles Martin Loeffler, Frederick Stock and Ildebrando Pizzetti Festival carried over the radio by Navy Broadcasting Service in Arlington, Virginia
  • 1926: Awarded honorary degree from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass.
  • 1927: Awarded honorary degree from Smith College, Northampton, Mass. Awarded honorary degree from Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
  • 1928: Commissioned Stravinsky to compose what would become Apollon Musagète, choreographed by Adolf Bolm Awarded honorary degree from Mills College, Oakland, Calif.
  • 1929: Sponsored concert for Gabriele d'Annunzio at his villa on Lake Garda in northern Italy
  • 1930: Staged a music festival in Chicago which marked beginning of her association with Hindemith Composed Piano Trio in F Major
  • 1931: Inducted as a Chevalier of France's Legion of Honor Presented key to city of Frankfurt, Germany
  • 1932: Established Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal for "eminent services to chamber music"
  • 1933: Moved to Washington D.C. Awarded honorary degree from University of California
  • 1934: Jo Davidson creates bronze bust of Coolidge
  • 1934 - 1935 : Sponsored nineteen musical radio broadcasts
  • 1935: Awarded Order of the Crown of Belgium Awarded medal Hommage de gratitude from University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
  • 1936: Began chamber music radio series on NBC
  • 1937: Honored with the bestowal of the Order of Léopold, King of Belgium
  • 1938: Awarded honorary degree from Pomona College, Claremont, Calif.
  • 1944: Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, a Coolidge commission, premiered at Library of Congress, choreographed by Martha Graham
  • 1945: Commissioned the Paganini Quartet, led by Henri Temianka
  • 1947: Composed Sonata for Oboe and Piano
  • 1953, Nov. 4: Died, Cambridge, Massachusetts

From the guide to the Correspondence from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation Collection, 1894-1953, (bulk 1920-1953), (Music Division Library of Congress)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Cobbett, Walter Willson, 1847-1937. Autograph letters signed (2), dated : [London], 3 June 1933 and 10 September 1935, to H.S. Drinker, 1935 Sept. 10. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Rudolf Kolisch papers, 1886-1978. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Coolidge, Elizabeth Sprague, 1864-1953. Songs of innocence / by W. Blake ; music by Elizabeth Coolidge. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Müller, René. Letters : chiefly from prominent musicians to Georges Miquelle and Müller, 1934-1965. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Quincy Porter Papers, 1897-1975 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Harold Bauer Collection, 1880-1951, (bulk 1920-1951) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith, 1856-1923. Correspondence with Elizabeth Coolidge, Arlo Bates, Mr. Alvord, Bertha Coolidge, the editor of Atlantic monthly, Mr. Marshall, Lady Nancy Lucy, Mr. Muirhead, Miss Tyler, Mrs. Hutton, Miss True, photographs, and programs : with several items by her sister Nora Archibald Smith, and letters from H.O. Houghton, Anna M. Stowall, and Clayton Hamilton and two letters from D.G. S[lade] to Marjorie Prescott concerning Wiggin's archives. University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
referencedIn Rudolf Kolisch papers, 1886-1978. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Meyer, Annie Nathan, 1867-1951. Annie Nathan Meyer papers, 1858-1950 (bulk 1885-1948). American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Ernst Bacon Collection, 1907-1990, (bulk 1930-1980) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf Kahn, Erich Itor, 1905-1956. Erich Itor Kahn papers, 1895-2000. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Correspondence, 1904-1937. Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library, HarvardUniversity
creatorOf Bank Street College of Education. Board of Trustees. Records of the Board of Trustees, 1917-2001 [manuscript]. Bank Street College of Education Library
creatorOf Coolidge, Elizabeth Sprague, 1864-1953. Peter Piper : a three voiced canonnade. Library of Congress
referencedIn Ernest Bloch Collection, 1888-1981, (bulk 1912-1959) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf Magg, Fritz. A birthday greeting from the Berkshire Quartet to Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge : played on October 30, 1950 over the telephone from Bloomington, Indiana to Washington, D.C. / Fritz Magg. University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University Libraries, UNCG University Libraries
referencedIn Christopher A. Reynolds Collection of Women's Song, circa 1800-1985 University of California, Davis. General Library. . Dept. of Special Collections
referencedIn Porter, Quincy, 1897-1966. The Quincy Porter papers, 1897-1975 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Weigl, Karl, 1881-1949. The Karl Weigl Papers. 1894-1986 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn The Papers of the Society for the Publication of American Music, 1924-1974 Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Richard Aldrich papers, 1842-1956 (inclusive), 1883-1938 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Sprague, Nancy Ann Atwood, 1837-ca.1916. Papers, 1854-1916 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Yale School of Music. The Yale School of Music papers, 1897-1993 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn League of Composers/ISCM records, 1906-2009, 1923-2009 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Erich Itor Kahn papers, 1895-2000 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Friends of Music at Stanford records, 1940-1959 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Friends of Music at Stanford. Friends of Music at Stanford records, 1940-1959, 1940-1949. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf MAILAMM (Organization). The papers of Mailamm, The American Music Association, 1930-1943. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn John Alden Carpenter Collection, 1891-1961, (bulk 1900-1949) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Porter, Quincy, 1897-1966. The Quincy Porter papers, 1897-1975 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn The Charles Ives Papers, 1874-1983 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn E. Robert Schmitz Papers, 1909-1991 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Josefa Rosanska papers, 1913-1958 (inclusive), 1925-1939 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Bloch, Ernest, 1880-1959. Ernest Bloch collection, 1888-1981 (bulk 1912-1959). Library of Congress
referencedIn Gilbert, Henry F. B. (Henry Franklin Belknap), 1868-1928. The Henry Gilbert papers, 1821-1980 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Gilbert, Henry F. B. (Henry Franklin Belknap), 1868-1928. The Henry Gilbert papers, 1821-1980 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Toscanini, Arturo, 1867-1957. Telegram and printed invitation, dated and undated : New York, February 1928, and [n.d.], to Harry Harkness Flagler, 1928 Feb. and n.d. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn The Yale School of Music Papers, 1875-1993 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Ravel, Maurice, 1875-1937. Autograph letters signed (11), typewritten letters signed (3), autograph postcards signed (3), and telegrams (5), dated : Paris, Montfort l'Amaury, Madrid, London, and between Chicago and San Francisco, 1922-1931, to Louise Alvar, 1922 July 21 and 1924 Apr. 30 and 1928 Jan. 29. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Alexei Haieff papers, circa 1900-1985 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn The Karl Weigl Papers, 1894-1986 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Rudolf Kolisch papers, 1886-1978. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Nicolas Slonimsky Collection, 1873-1997, (bulk 1920-1990) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn International Society for Contemporary Music. League of Composers/ISCM records, 1906-2009 (bulk 1923-2009). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Correspondence from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation Collection, 1894-1953, (bulk 1920-1953) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Jacobo Ficher Collection, 1864-1997, (bulk 1919-1978) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Babin, Victor, 1908-1972. Papers of Victor Babin, 1933-1975 (bulk 1942-1945). Library of Congress
referencedIn Ficher, Jacobo, 1896-1978. Jacobo Ficher collection, 1864-1997 (bulk 1919-1978). Library of Congress
referencedIn The Henry Gilbert Papers, 1821-1980 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Harold Spivacke Collection, 1923-1984, (bulk 1930-1978) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Society for the Publication of American Music. Papers of the Society for the Publication of American Music, 1924-1974 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Papers, 1854-1916 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Ernest Bloch Collection, 1888-1981, (bulk 1912-1959) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Yale School of Music. The Yale School of Music papers, 1897-1993 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Ives, Charles, 1874-1954. The Charles Ives papers, 1874-1983 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Society for the Publication of American Music. Papers of the Society for the Publication of American Music, 1924-1974 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aldrich, Richard, 1863-1937 person
correspondedWith Ara, Ugo, 1876-1936 person
correspondedWith Babin, Victor, 1908-1972. person
correspondedWith Bacon, Ernst, 1898-1990 person
associatedWith Bank Street College of Education. Board of Trustees. corporateBody
correspondedWith Barrère, Georges, 1876-1944 person
correspondedWith Bartók, Béla, 1881-1945 person
correspondedWith Bauer, Harold, 1873-1951 person
associatedWith Berkshire Quartet. corporateBody
correspondedWith Biggs, E. Power (Edward Power), 1906-1977 person
associatedWith Blake, William, 1757-1827 person
correspondedWith Bloch, Ernest, 1880-1959. person
associatedWith Boston Symphony Orchestra. corporateBody
correspondedWith Bridge, Frank, 1879-1941 person
correspondedWith Carpenter, John Alden, 1876-1951 person
correspondedWith Casella, Alfredo, 1883-1947 person
correspondedWith Chávez, Carlos, 1899-1978 person
associatedWith Cobbett, Walter Willson, 1847-1937. person
associatedWith Coolidge Auditorium (Library of Congress) corporateBody
correspondedWith Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990 person
correspondedWith Eichheim, Henry, 1870-1942 person
associatedWith Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation Collection (Library of Congress) corporateBody
correspondedWith Engel, Carl, 1883-1944 person
associatedWith E. Robert Schmitz person
correspondedWith Ficher, Jacobo, 1896-1978. person
associatedWith Friends of Music at Stanford. corporateBody
associatedWith Gilbert, Henry F. B. (Henry Franklin Belknap), 1868-1928. person
correspondedWith Graham, Martha person
associatedWith Haieff, Alexei, 1914- person
correspondedWith Harris, Roy, 1898-1979 person
correspondedWith Hill, Edward Burlingame, 1872-1960 person
correspondedWith Howe, Mary, 1882-1964 person
associatedWith International Society for Contemporary Music. corporateBody
associatedWith Ives, Charles, 1874-1954. person
correspondedWith Jacobi, Frederick, 1891-1952 person
associatedWith Kahn, Erich Itor, 1905-1956. person
correspondedWith Kolisch, Rudolf, 1896-1978 person
correspondedWith Kroll, William, 1901-1980 person
associatedWith Library of Congress. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation. corporateBody
correspondedWith Library of Congress. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation. Correspondence from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation collection. 1894-1953. corporateBody
associatedWith Library of Congress. Music Division. corporateBody
correspondedWith Loeffler, Charles Martin, 1861-1935 person
correspondedWith MacDowell, Marian, 1857-1956 person
associatedWith Magg, Fritz. person
associatedWith MAILAMM (Organization) corporateBody
correspondedWith Malipiero, Gian Francesco, 1882-1973 person
correspondedWith Mason, Daniel Gregory, 1873-1953 person
associatedWith Meyer, Annie Nathan, 1867-1951. person
correspondedWith Milhaud, Darius, 1892-1974 person
associatedWith Müller, René. person
associatedWith Nancy Ann (Atwood) Sprague, 1837-ca. 1916 person
correspondedWith Onnou, Alphonse person
correspondedWith Pizzetti, Ildebrando, 1880-1968 person
associatedWith Porter, Quincy, 1897-1966. person
correspondedWith Prokofiev, Sergey, 1891-1953 person
correspondedWith Putnam, Herbert, 1861-1955 person
associatedWith Quatuor Pro Arte. corporateBody
associatedWith Ravel, Maurice, 1875-1937. person
correspondedWith Respighi, Ottorino, 1879-1936 person
associatedWith Reynolds, Christopher A. person
correspondedWith Riegger, Wallingford, 1885-1961 person
associatedWith Rosanska, Josefa, 1904-1986 person
correspondedWith Roth, Feri, 1899-1969 person
correspondedWith Salzedo, Carlos, 1885-1961 person
correspondedWith Schneider, Alexander, 1908-1993 person
correspondedWith Schoenberg, Arnold, 1874-1951 person
correspondedWith Sessions, Roger, 1896-1985 person
associatedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995 person
correspondedWith Smith, David Stanley, 1877-1949 person
associatedWith Society for the Publication of American Music. corporateBody
correspondedWith Spivacke, Harold, 1904-1977 person
associatedWith Sprague, Nancy Ann Atwood, 1837-ca.1916. person
correspondedWith Stock, Frederick, 1872-1942 person
correspondedWith Strunk, W. Oliver (William Oliver), 1901-1980 person
associatedWith The Society for the Publication of American Music person
associatedWith The Yale School of Music person
correspondedWith Toch, Ernst, 1887-1964 person
associatedWith Toscanini, Arturo, 1867-1957. person
correspondedWith Waters, Edward N. (Edward Neighbor), 1906-1991 person
associatedWith Weigl, Karl, 1881-1949. person
associatedWith Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith, 1856-1923. person
correspondedWith Willeke, Willem person
associatedWith Yale School of Music. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Chamber music festivals
Music--Competitions--United States
Canons, fugues, etc. (Voices (3))
Vocal trios, Unaccompanied
Chamber music--20th century--History and criticism
Music--Commissioning
Songs (low voice) with piano
Music--United States--20th century
Music patronage--United States
Vocal trios with piano
Music--Endowments
Music patrons--United States
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1864-10-30

Death 1953-11-04

Americans

Information

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