Scope and arrangement
Highlights in the Rosa Ponselle Papers include: a photograph autographed to Ponselle from Enrico Caruso (box 2, folder 1); a proof book of Mishkin photographs (box 29); and an early financial ledger (box 1, folder 11). Notes from Ponselle's study with Albert Carre for Carmen (box 11) are detailed and complete, and typescript recital programs, from 1920 to 1938 (box 9), contain scrupulous handwritten notations about Mme. Ponselle's wardrobe for each recital. Along with a host of musical luminaries, soon-to-be famous opera singers, presidents and heads of state, Ponselle's significant correspondents included manager Libbie Miller (4,41) and secretary Edith Prilik (5,24). In addition, Ponselle's career with the Baltimore Civic Opera is documented with programs and reviews (boxes 17 and 18) and the diva's 80th birthday celebration is documented in letters and telegrams from numerous friends and celebrities (6,45-46).
Rosa's sister Carmela is also documented in this collection (boxes 20-22) with scrapbooks, photographs, programs, and poetry.
Fire at Villa Pace, in 1979, destroyed much of Ponselle's library, including her collection of musical scores. Some of the remaining items show smoke and water damage. A few documents, duplicate photographs, along with furnishings from the Ponselle estate were sold at auction in 1989.
The Rosa Ponselle papers are arranged in twenty series: