Scope and arrangement
The Mrs. William Patten Papers are comprised mainly of unbound scrapbook leaves containing press clippings and other materials relating to musicians active during the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. It is probable that the materials were compiled by Grace Bigelow Patten. The leaves were found in no discernible order, but have been organized by the processor alphabetically within several major categories, including composers, conductors, instrumentalists, and opera singers. The majority of individual items are articles and reproductions of photographs taken from unidentified publications, but there are a few original items of note as well, which include a handbill advertising a performance in 1801 by the English soprano, Elizabeth Billington, a handbill for a Covent Garden performance in 1816 of a work by George Frideric Handel, a probable transcription of a letter dated 1829 from George Washington Whistler (the father of the painter, James McNeill Whistler) in which he writes of Madame Catalini and other contemporary singers, and an original 1840 letter from a Swift family member to his sister regarding performances by Giula Grisi and other Italian opera singers in Paris. The collection also contains five folders of ephemera, including loose clippings, pamphlets (probable source materials for clippings), and a single unidentified photograph, which may be of Mrs. Patten's husband, the editor William Patten.
The Mrs. William Patten papers are arranged in two series:
- 1801-195021 boxes
The Scrapbook Leaves series is comprised of loose leaves which primarily contain clippings of articles and images from newspapers, magazines, books, and other publications. The leaves may have been intended to be post bound into albums, but were found loose and in no clearly discernible or consistent arrangement scheme. They have been grouped alphabetically into several categories. The majority of the material relates to the history of opera and to singers who performed with the Metropolitan Opera. There also is a significant amount of material documenting instrumentalists; these leaves contain a few original programs (or parts of programs) for performances by notable pianists, including Teresa Carreño, Cécile Chaminade, Raffael Joseffy, Adele aus der Ohe, and Moriz Rosenthal. While some leaves occasionally contain a single item (such as a letter or an original handbill) that date from the early nineteenth century, the bulk of the dated material is from the 1920s and 1930s.
- 1 box
The Ephemera series consists of five folders of loose clippings that had not yet been affixed to any scrapbook leaves, pamphlets (that may have been intended for cutting up), and a photograph of an unidentified young man in an art studio, possibly William Patten.