Scope and arrangement
The Gertrude Ribla Papers document the performing and teaching career of the American-born and trained opera singer. The collection is comprised chiefly of clippings, photographs, programs, publicity materials, and scrapbooks. The limited amount of correspondence is mainly professional in nature. Although it provides only an incomplete picture of Ribla's career, in the evidence it presents of the frequently unglamorous life of a hardworking performer and instructor, the collection offers some material that may be of interest to researchers studying the professionalization of music as a discipline in the United States, as well as the development of repertory and opportunities for women opera singers during the twentieth century.text of scope and content note.
The Gertrude Ribla papers are arranged in four series:
- 1935 - 1979
The Personal and Professional Papers series primarily documents Ribla's performing and teaching career through extensive newspaper clippings, a selection of publicity materials, and some programs. It also contains some fragmentary evidence of her preparation for roles, such as a notebook for an unidentified Havana production and an incomplete script in Spanish (both appear to be for Die Fledermaus). There is only a small amount of correspondence, but material of note includes some items from Ribla's first teacher and earliest patron, as well as letters from colleagues, including Vasso Argyris and Raffaello de Banfield. Much of the extant material relates to performances in Cuba and Italy. Although English predominates, Ribla was multilingual and some items can be found in Italian, French, German, and Spanish throughout the collection.
- 1937 - 1970
The bulk of the Photographs series consists of formal studio photographs of Ribla in costume for various roles and staged publicity shots of performances or rehearsals. The collection also includes several autographed headshots from many of Ribla's colleagues from the world of opera, including Giovanni Martinelli, Jan Peerce, and Giorgio Tozzi. There are a few unidentified sets of snapshots documenting travel (probably in Italy and Cuba), as well as some images of probable family members and friends.
- 1938 - 1943
The three volumes included in the Scrapbooks series contain additional clippings, most of which date from a period earlier than the majority of those represented in the clippings folders, as well as a few programs, photographs, and pieces of correspondence.
The Oversized Materials series includes a single scrapbook, which contains only clippings (mainly related to Ribla's appearances with the Metropolitan Opera), a photograph, a poster, and an inscribed leaf from Musical America.