The San Francisco Conservatory of Music holds materials of permanent historical value to the Conservatory. The Archives are in the process of preserving and describing these materials so that we may provide access to the Conservatory’s community and the general public. When available, Findings Aids (written guides to the collections) will be provided on this site so that patrons may browse the contents of our Collections. In the meantime, researchers may read the brief descriptions below of Collections we are currently processing.
Visit our Reference page if you have any questions about our Collections.
School catalogs are a great way to find information about the Conservatory year by year. For example, a catalog from circa 1921, when the Conservatory was called the Ada Clement Music School tells us who was on the faculty that year, describes the courses of study, details the tuition costs for each class (ten weeks of grade 1 piano courses for just $25!), tells about scholarships and the Scholarship Committee, and even gives us a program for the Benefit of the Scholarship Fund at the very end! Our catalog collection is currently incomplete.
The Conservatory’s first newsletter was titled The Lyre and was published in May of 1924. The Lyre tells us of “happenings” at the Conservatory, including news on the faculty (who was teaching what, who was performing where), gossip (where friends and teachers were vacationing, if students were getting married), and contains essays, short stories, poems and jokes written by students and faculty. Over the years, different newsletters came and went at the Conservatory. Our newsletter collection is currently incomplete.
Programs are a valuable historical resource, as they give us a great deal of information on the concerts, programs, events, and musicians at the Conservatory throughout the years. Our earliest program is from 1909 (eight years before the Conservatory was founded) and can be found in the Ada Clement archival collection. Our program collection is currently being processed, a Finding Aid will be made available here as soon as it is completed.
We are in the process of arranging and describing our Historical Photograph collection. We have images on a variety of subjects, from Conservatory members (students, faculty, etc.) to the different locations of the Conservatory (3435 Sacramento Street, 1201 Ortega Street, 50 Oak Street), to performances and classes throughout the years. Once we have finished organizing our extensive collection we will post more detailed information on what photographs are available to view.
Scrapbooks: News Clippings & Ephemera
The Archives has a number of scrapbooks filled with news clippings relating to the Conservatory and its members. Our earliest news clippings are from 1925. These resources are a great way to see what was happening at the Conservatory in its early years.
The Archives also has a number of scrapbooks containing concert programs, invitations and general ephemera from the Conservatory. Our earliest piece of ephemera from the scrapbook collection is from 1914 (three years before the Conservatory was founded).
The Archives has collections and information on important people from the Conservatory who have shaped and molded the Conservatory into what it is today. We have correspondence, photographs, records, published and unpublished works and biographical information on such people as Ada Clement and Lillian Hodghead (co-founders of the Conservatory), Ernest Bloch (Director from 1925-1930), as well as other Directors and Presidents of the Conservatory. More detailed information on the specific collections will be made available on this site when the Finding Aids (written guides to the collections) are completed.
The Archives holds a number of administrative files from the Conservatory, including organizational and financial documents. When the Findings Aids are completed, more detailed information will be made available on this site. Some portions of this collection may be restricted.
While the Archives does not actively collect objects, if we are presented with an item of interest that we can reasonably store and preserve, we are happy to take it. In our Objects collection, we have such interesting items as Ernest Bloch’s death mask, the ceremonial scissors and ribbons from the 1956 Ortega Street ceremony, and a wooden orange letter “C” from the facade of 1201 Ortega Street, the Conservatory's previous location.