Guide to the Walter S. Jenkins Collection on Amy Cheney Beach, 1882-1989

Collection number: MC 233
Size: 5 boxes (1.66 cu.ft.)

About Walter S. Jenkins

Walter S. Jenkins was a music professor, MacDowell colonist, and lifelong biographer of Amy Cheney Beach. He was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, on March 29, 1909, and attended the University of New Hampshire in the late 1920s. After Jenkins’ graduation from UNH in 1931, he went on to earn a Master’s degree from Harvard University, a diploma that enabled him to land the various collegiate teaching jobs of his career. The first of these was a position as music director of Bennett Junior College in New York. His professional career was interrupted, however, by the advent of World War II, and Jenkins served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945. When he returned, he landed a professorship at Louisiana’s Newcomb College, an all-womens’ undergraduate affiliate of Tulane University. Jenkins taught at Newcomb from 1946 until 1974, and was an emeritus professor from his retirement to his death on August 3, 1990.

Jenkins’ fascination with the great American composer Amy Cheney Beach began early in his career. The two began a friendly correspondence in the early 1930s. In April of 1935, Beach wrote to Jenkins to urge him to apply for a summer residency at the MacDowell Colony, a retreat for artists in Peterborough, New Hampshire. “I hope that it is not too late for your name to be considered,” she wrote him, adding that “[Marion McDowell] generally has about 500 applications, beginning to come in early in January, so do not be discouraged if she has already made up the quota which can only be about 50 or 60 for the entire season…”

Despite the odds, Jenkins managed to find a place at the MacDowell colony for the summer of 1935. It was there that he first met Beach in person. He was struck by her personality and her musical talent. One night, Beach and a fellow musician, Albert Spalding, played a few sonatas in a room in the Colony’s Library. “I was among those present in the Savidge Library that night,” Jenkins later recalled in his biography of Beach. “Some of us musicians followed the scores as Mrs. Beach and Spalding performed,” he continued, “and it was with [the] greatest admiration and respect for Mrs. Beach’s musicianship that we listened to a most inspired, yet grammatically correct rendition of the movement from the Mendelssohn work” (129).

Jenkins’ interest in the works and life of Amy Cheney Beach persisted for the rest of his life. “When she died at the end of 1944,” Jenkins’ editor later wrote, “Walter took it upon himself to be her definitive biographer.” Jenkins spent decades gathering Beach materials, including diaries, newspaper clippings, correspondence, church and city records, and the reminiscences of her friends and family. In 1973, his article on Beach was published in the third supplement of The Dictionary of American Biography. By then, he had hammered out a mammoth, 500-page biographical manuscript, but it was still not ready for publication by the time of his death in 1990. A colleague at Newcomb, John H. Baron, agreed to edit the work; with the 1994-publication of The Remarkable Mrs. Beach, American Composer, the life’s work of Walter S. Jenkins finally became public. In January of 1995, Jenkins’ wife, Ruth P. Jenkins, donated the Walter S. Jenkins Amy Cheney Beach Collection to the Milne Special Collections at the University of New Hampshire.

About the Walter S. Jenkins Amy Cheney Beach Collection

The Walter S. Jenkins Amy Cheney Beach Collection has been divided into two series for the ease of the researcher. Series I, “Walter S. Jenkins papers,” contains the professor’s correspondence, research notes, and manuscript drafts. Jenkins’ letters often revolve around his Beach biography and reveal how his life’s labor blended with his personal ties. A few of these letters may be of interest to the Beach researcher, however, since Jenkins wrote Beach friends and relations with questions about their memories of and experiences with Beach. One example of these, Hazel Gertrude Kinscella’s reply to Jenkins in August of 1959, expressed the spirit of many of these correspondents. After recalling her times with Beach in “random recollections,” Kinscella added that her stories “will assure you of my very definite affection for Mrs. Beach and of my desire that her life-story shall be told with all the care and accuracy which I know you will employ.”

Series II, “Amy Cheney Beach documents,” contains Jenkins’ photocopies of Beach’s incoming correspondence, his transcriptions of her diaries and some of her outgoing letters, as well as Beach-related newspaper clippings. These last items are of note since many of them date to Beach’s life, and cover such topics as her tours, performances, and the death of her husband. One folder holds a number of obituaries after the composer’s death in 1944. A few photographs of Beach and associates are also included in the collection.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder number], [Box number], Walter S. Jenkins Amy Cheney Beach Collection, 1914-2008, MC 232, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Gift from Ruth P. Jenkins, or Metarie, Louisiana, 1995 (Accession number: 95.009)

Collection Contents

Series 1: Walter S. Jenkins papers, 1933-1989

Subseries A: Incoming correspondence, alphabetical by last name, 1933-1989

Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1A-B, 1934-1978
  • Allen, Uma (4 letters), 1950-1959
  • Ammer, Christine (9 letters), 1974-1978
  • Bates, Esther (22 letters), 1943-1978
  • Bauer, Marion (53 letters), 1943-1950
  • Bird, Anna (1 letters), 1955
  • blackman, George L. (1 letters), 1960
  • Buxbaum, Lillian (9 letters), 1956-1974
Box 1, Folder 2C-E, 1952-1987
  • Cantrell, Barton (5 letters), 1960-1962
  • Carmer, Carl (1 letter), 1952
  • Carpenter, Lilian (3 letters), 1957-1967
  • Daniels, Mabel (3 letters), 1959-1961
  • Dengel, Eugenie (18 letters), 1977-1982
  • Dodge, Timothy (1 letter), 1987
  • Eden, Myrna Garvey (13 letters), 1975-1976
  • Eskin, Virginia (16 letters), 1975-1983
Box 1, Folder 3F-G, 1933-1976
  • Farley, Floella P. (1 letter), 1960
  • Fletcher, Charlie May (1 letter), undated
  • Futterer, Susan O. (1 letter), 1948
  • Galbraith, Ethel (1 letter), 1959
  • Ganz, Rudolph (1 letter), 1960
  • Gilbert, Ella Lord (75 letters), 1933-1961
  • Grinnell, George H. (1 letter), 1976
Box 1, Folder 4H-L, 1951-1981
  • Hatch, Harry C. (2 letters), 1960
  • Helm, Maude (1 letter), 1960
  • Hier, Ethel Glenn (2 letters), 1960
  • Hodgson, Hugh (1 letter), 1958
  • Holden, David (1 letter), 1960
  • Hottensen, John W. (1 letter), 1959
  • James, Edward T. (3 letters)
  • Keyes, Frances Parkinson (1 letter), 1959
  • Kinscella, Hazel Gertrude (2 letters), 1951-1959
  • Knowlton, Ruth (1 letter), 1959
  • Kougias, Georgia A. (1 letter), 1959
  • Lancaster, John (3 letters), 1953-1958
  • Lichtenwanger, William (1 letter), 1972
  • Little, Robert W. (1 letter), 1959
  • Longstreth, W. M. (1 letter), 1981
Box 1, Folder 5M, 1935-1982
  • MacDowell, Marion (43 letters), 1935-1955
  • Marcy, Elizabeth (1 letter), 1956
  • Marquand, John P. (1 letter), 1959
  • McAllaster, William (1 letter), 1959
  • McGreevy, Gertrude (3 letters), 1960-1961
  • MckWilliams, David (6 letters), 1956
  • McPeek, Gwen (2 letters), 1959
  • Merrill, Lindsey (2 letters), 1982
Box 1, Folder 6N-R, 1950-1989
  • Nester, Barchana (1 letter), 1983
  • Neurris, Anna L. (1 letter), undated
  • Norris, Mary L. (3 letters), 1959
  • Osserwaarde, Jack H. (1 letter), undated
  • Paeff, Bashka (12 letters), 1959-1976
  • Peaslee, Ruth G. (1 letter), 1959
  • Petteys, Leslie (6 letters), 1980-1989 (Pierce, Mabel (7 letters), 1957
  • Pleasants, Virginia (8 letters), 1980-1981
  • Ralston, Jack L. (1 letter), 1972
  • Ricciardi, J. (2 letters), 1950-1959
  • Richardso, Nina Maud (5 letters), 1950-1952
Box 1, Folder 7S-V, 1950-1988
  • Schwab, Arnold T. (1 letter), 1977
  • Shaffner, Ruth (42 letters), 1950-1978
  • Shaw, Mrs. Edward L. (2 letters), 1969
  • Smith, Carleton Sprague. (1 letter), undated
  • Smith, Helen K. (1 letter), 1988
  • Spohnholz, Conrad S. (4 letters), 1974
  • Stark, Lewis M. (1 letter), undated
  • Sweeney, James Johnson (1 letter), 1959
  • Turner, N.B. (5 letters), 1958-1959
  • Varice, Louisa (1 letter), 1974
  • Vuilleumier, Norman E. (1 letter), 1958
  • Wilkins, Helen (1 letter), 1961
Box 1, Folder 8Unnamed incoming correspondence, 1938-1984
  • Ben (2 letters), 1940s
  • Calaverres (1 letters), 1938
  • Marjorie (1 letter), 1950
  • Frances (2 letters), 1956-1981
  • George (1 letter), 1961
  • H.W. Gray Company (1 letter), 1959
  • J+J Lubrand Antiquarian Co. (1 letter), 1984
  • Justine (1 letter), 1975
  • L.A. (1 letter), 1981
  • Trinity Church (1 letter), 1959
  • Winifred (1 letter), 1959
  • Rachel Z. (1 letter), 1981

Subseries B: Outgoing correspondence, alphabetical by last name, 1950-1988

Box 1, Folder 9A-L, 1950-1980
  • Allen, Uma (3 letters), 1952-1953
  • Ammer, Christine (2 letters), 1978-1980
  • Austin, Henry R. (1 letter), 1950
  • Blackmore, Caroyln (1 letter), 1960
  • Dengel, Eugenie (4 letters), 1978-1980
  • Eskin, Virginia (2 letters), 1975
  • Grennell, George (1 letter), 1976
  • Hoyt, Ethel B. (1 letter), 1976
  • Hunt, Randolph (1 letter), 1976
  • Jackson, C.F. (1 letter), undated
  • James/Jones, Edward T. (2 letters), 1969-1970
  • Keyes, Frances Parkinson? (1 letter), undated
  • Kilroy, Dean (1 letter), undated
  • Krogstad, Norman (1 letter), 1959
Box 1, Folder 10M-S, 1950-1988
  • McAllaster, William (1 letter), undated
  • McLean, Mary (1 letter), 1976
  • Merrill, Lindsey (1 letter), 1982
  • Paeff, Bashka (4 letters), 1976-1978
  • Pettys, Leslie (3 letters), 1980-1988
  • Powell, Cynthia (1 letter), 1986
  • Schirmer, G. (1 letter), 1959
  • Shaffner, Ruth (6 letters), 1950-1978
  • Sponholtz, Conrad (1 letter), 1976
  • Stevens, Nan Bagby (1 letter), 1958
Box 1, Folder 11Outgoing correspondence, corporate or unnamed, 1950-1971
  • Charles (1 letter), 1950
  • City of Boston, Registrar of Deeds (1 letter), 1959
  • Cottey Junior College (1 letter), 1960
  • Eastman School of Music (1 letter), 1971
  • MacDowell Colony (1 letter), 1950
  • St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church (2 letters), 1950-1959
  • Town Clerk, Henniker, New Hampshire (1 letter), 1971

Subseries C: Miscellaneous correspondence, 1945-1987

Box 1, Folder 12Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1945-1987
  • Harry C. Hatch to Ella Lord Gilbert (1 letter), 1960
  • Jack H. Osserwaarde to Ruth Shaffner (2 letters), 1976-1977
  • Eugenie Dengel to Ruth Shaffner (1 letter), 1977
  • Robert Dahnert to Ruth Shaffner (1 letter), 1959
  • Esther W. Bates to Ruth Shaffner (1 letter), 1945
  • Ginny to Eugenie Dengel (2 letters), 1976-1980
  • Barbara A. White to Eugenie Dengel (1 letter), 1980
  • Christy Cach to Eugenie Dengel (1 letter), undated
  • Mrs. W. M. Longstreth to Eugenie Dengel (1 letter), 1980
  • Nina Maud Richardson to Mrs. Rogers (1 letter), 1952
  • Gilbert Chase to Laurence Willhide (1 letter), 1963
  • Gary A. Tomlinson to Leslie Petteys (1 letter), 1987
  • Anne Dhu Shapiro to Leslie Petteys (1 letter), 1987

Subseries D: Research notes

Box 2
Box 2, Folder 1Secondary sources
Box 2, Folder 2Ancestry and childhood
Box 2, Folder 3Beach’s finances and royalties
Box 2, Folder 4Beach chronology
Box 2, Folder 5Beach's compositions
Box 2, Folder 6Beach acquaintances and contemporaries
Box 2, Folder 7Contact information for Beach acquaintances
Box 2, Folder 8P.E.O.
Box 2, Folder 9MacDowell Colony
Box 2, Folder 10Amy Beach Club and Singers
Box 3
Box 3, Folder 1Author index of choral works
Box 3, Folder 2Newspaper clips
Box 3, Folder 3Miscellaneous research items

Subseries E: Manuscript drafts

Box 3, Folder 4Dictionary of American Biography article
Box 3, Folder 5Manuscript drafts
Box 3, Folder 6Manuscript indices

Subseries F: Miscellaneous

Box 3, Folder 7Manuscript by Christine Ammer, 1978
Box 3, Folder 8Miscellaneous items
Box 3, Folder 9Map of Forest Hills Cemetery (oversize - Map Drawer A7)

Series 2: Amy Cheney Beach documents, 1882-1944

Subseries A: Incoming correspondence, photocopies, alphabetical by last name, 1882-1944

Box 3
Box 3, Folder 10A-H, 1886-1944
  • Allen, Uma (1 letter), May 11, 1937
  • Aus der Ohe, Adele (1 letter), September 27, 1911
  • Brooks, Phillips (1 letter), August 14, 1891
  • Brown, A. (1 letter), June 10, 1913
  • Burleigh, Harry (1 letter), April 2, 1939
  • Carreno, Teresa (1 letter), December 19, 1899
  • Chaminade, Cecile (2 letters), undated and June 15, 1939)
  • Chadwick, G.W. (1 letter), November 2, 1896
  • Davis, Walter J. (1 letter), June 24, 1934
  • Delano, Margaret (7 letters), 1 from 1900 and 6 undated
  • Douglas, Ernest (1 letter), June 3, 1944
  • Engel, Carl (1 letter), May 9, 1924
  • Fiedler, Max (1 letter), February 1914
  • Foote, Arthur (5 letters), undated
  • Gabrilovitch, Ossip (1 letter), December 31st, 1918
  • Ganz, Rudolph (1 letter), March 26, 1906
  • Goetschins, Percy (2 letters), December 15, 1907, and June 4, 1938
  • Gould, Elizabeth Porter (3 letters), March 1892, May 26, 1892, and April 13, 1897)
  • Grandjany, Marcel (2 letters), November 23, 1936 and December 14, 1936
  • Hammer, H. (1 letter), January 20, 1911
  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell (2 letters), November 12, 1886, and December 29, 1890
  • Homer, Louise (3 letters), undated
  • Homer, Sidney (1 letter), undated
  • Hopekirk, Helen (2 letters), undated and October 17, 1897
  • Hughs, Anges Lochart (1 letter), April 2, 1904
  • Hughs, Edwin (1 letter), April 6, 1935
Box 4
Box 4, Folder 1I-P, 1884-1942
  • Jewett, Sara Anne (1 letter), undated
  • Johnson, John (1 letter), December 1, 1935
  • Kroeger, E.R. (1 letter), May 8, 1905
  • Lang, Mary R. (1 letter), August 8, 1910
  • Langley, S. P. (to Dr. Beach) (1 letter), December 27, 1890s
  • Lenard, Clive R. (1 letter), November 26, 1887
  • Lejinksi, Ethel (1 letter), October 4, 1932
  • Lhevinne, Josef (1 letter), January 15, 1940
  • Lindercrone, Lillie H. (6 letters), 15 December, 1892, June 27, year unknown, January 8, 1893, March 8, 1893, November 17, 1894, and September 27, 1896
  • Lowerly, Leo (1 letter), January 31, 1942
  • Lutkin, Peter (1 letter), July 12, 1922
  • MacDowell, Marion (4 letters), October 29, 1936, January 12, 1939, April 19, 1941, and April 24, 1941
  • Mason, William (1 letter), October 3, 1884
  • Nikisch, Amelie (1 letter), April 23, 1892
  • Noble, Tertius (1 letter), April 21, year unknown
  • Nold, Raymond (1 letter), April 21, 1924
  • Nordica, ____? (1 letter), September 10, year unknown
  • Paine, John K. (3 letters), December 8, 1901, March 2, 1902, and 1 undated, located under Chadwick, G.W., March 11, 1899
  • Palmer, Bertha H. (1 letter), January 13, 1893
  • Paris, Walter (1 letter), December 22, 1898
  • Parker, Horatio (2 letters), January 11, 1903, and December 10, 1904
  • Patti, Adelaide (2 letters), December 1884, and March 26, 1892
  • Paurte, Emil (5 letters), December 4, 1900, February 26, 1900, August 16 (year unknown), 1898, and September 8, 1905
  • Perry, Nona (1 letter ), October 22, 1884
  • Phillip, Isadore (1 letter), undated
  • Powell, Maud (3 letters), April 16 (year unknown), December 6, 1893, and undated
  • Pugno, Raoul (1 letter), November 4, 1902
  • Putnam, Herber (1 letter), January 19, 1911
Box 4, Folder 2Q-W, 1882-1944
  • Raudenbush, George King (1 letter ), November 4, 1942
  • Reese, Elizabeth Phelps (2 letters ), October 31, 1894, and November 7, 1894
  • Samarcff, Olga (1 letter ), 1906
  • Sembrich, Marcella (2 letters ), December 12, 1899, and December 10, 1906
  • Seward, Oliver Ripley (1 letter ), November 26, 1882
  • Sgernbutz, J. (1 letter ), March 28, 1912
  • Sockman, Ralph (1 letter ), November 17, 1943
  • Sommeck, O. G. (1 letter ), January 7, 1911
  • Spencer, Rob (1 letter ), undated
  • Speyer, Lenora (1 letter ), March 23, year unknown
  • Spofford, Harriet Prescott (1 letter ), October 25, year unknown
  • Staesset, Albert (1 letter ), March 4, 1931
  • Stephens, Nan Bagby (1 letter ), March 23, 1944
  • Story, Emma Eames (2 letters ), September 14, 1904 and December 9, 1904
  • Taylor, Deems (1 letter ), March 19, 1937
  • Thornton, Wilder (1 letter ), December 27, 1942
Box 4, Folder 3Typed copies of Beach’s incoming letters, 1888-1925
  • Aggasiz, Louis (2 letters), April 11, 1903, and undated
  • Alves, C. Katie (2 letters), February 15, 1892 and April 29, 1892
  • Bauer, Harold (1 letter), January 15, 1925
  • Bisham, David (1 letter), undated
  • Brackett, Walter M. (1 letter), undated
  • Busch, Carl (1 letter), April 7, 1906
  • Brown, Abbie Farwell (1 letter), May 21, year unknown
  • Carreno, Teresa (2 letters), December 17, 1899, and May 25, 1900
  • Chadwick, George (1 letter), April 18, 1889
  • Clark, Anna L. (1 letter), September 25, 1888
  • Coats, Florence Earle (10 letters), May 5, 1898, October 30, 1901, August 22, 1903, 1904, March 8, 1905, March 15, 1905, March 28, 1907, September 8, 1908, June 29, 1911, undated
  • Eames, Emma (1 letter), April 27, year unknown
  • Foote, Arthur (2 letters), July 7 and November 27, years unknown
  • Parker, Horatio (1 letter), December 10, 1904

Subseries B: Outgoing correspondence, 1900-1944

Box 4, Folder 4Outgoing correspondence, photocopies, 1900-1944
  • Chaminade, Cecile (1 letter), undated
  • Dillon, Fannie (5 letters), April 10, 1900, September 27, 1915, April 16, 1915, August, 16, 1921, September 26, 1925
  • Ralston, Marion (5 letters), July 22, November 17, 1926, October 17, 1933, October 29, 1933, May 25, 1935
  • Shaffner, Ruth (8 letters), 1932, December 25, 1935, May 1941, June 11, 1943, May 5, 1944, and 3 undated

Subseries C: Miscellaneous correspondence, 1942-1945

Box 4, Folder 5Miscellaneous correspondence
  • Amy Brigham to Ruth Shaffner (1 letter), December 30, 1945
  • Helen to Ruth Shaffner (1 letter), November 1, 1945
  • Nancy Byrd Turner to Ruth Shaffner (1 letter), January 7, 1945
  • Cainlyn Wells to Ruth Shaffner (1 letter), December 25, 1942
  • William Jericke to Mr. Tickner (1 letter), October 19
  • Carl Zerrabu to Mr. Schwadt (1 letter), undated

Subseries D: Typed diaries, 1925-1944

Box 4, Folder 6Typed diaries, 1925-1944 (bulk 1937-1944)
Box 4, Folder 7Typed diaries, 1937-1941

Subseries E: Newspaper clippings

Box 4, Folder 8General Beach-related newspaper clippings
Box 4, Folder 9Early performance reviews (transcriptions)
Box 4, Folder 10Dr. Beach and other relations
Box 4, Folder 11Beach obituaries

Subseries F: Miscellaneous

Box 5
Box 5, Folder 1Poems, either to or collected by Beach
Box 5, Folder 2Miscellaneous writings, Beach
Box 5, Folder 3Composition books---Beach contemporaries
Box 5, Folder 4UNH Commencement address and mortar board, 1967
Box 5, Folder 5Beach-related photos
Box 5, Folder 6The Music Quarterly, Vol. XXVI, No. 3, July 1940
Box 5, Folder 7CMS Proceedings, The National and Regional Meetings, The College Music Society, 1988
Box 5, Folder 8Beach biographical sketches (6 letters)
Box 5, Folder 9Opera list of Beach compositions by Walter S. Jenkins