Sophie Hutchinson Drinker Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Sophie Hutchinson Drinker Papers consist of 3.75 linear feet and are primarily related to her books Brahms and His Women's Choruses and Music and Women: The Story of Women in Their Relation to Music. Types of materials include correspondence, research notes, songbooks, addresses, journal articles, newspaper clippings, transcripts of oral history interviews, and memorabilia.
The bulk of the papers date from 1935 to 1966. Notable parts of the first series are the transcripts of oral history interviews conducted by Smith College Professor Ruth A. Solie with two of Drinker's daughters, Ernesta Drinker Ballard and Cecilia Drinker Saltonstall. These provide a glimpse into the life of Sophie Drinker and her family.
WRITINGS is the largest series and much of it consists of research materials, notes, and correspondence relating to Drinker's book Brahms and His Women's Choruses. Of particular interest are the individual music notebooks, or stimmenhefte, that the chorus women copied from Brahms' manuscripts. Drinker obtained stimmenhefte from four women or their families in either their original book form or as photostatic copies. The photostatic copies are in many cases the only remaining copies as the originals were destroyed during World War II or otherwise lost. The stimmenhefte are all written in German. Except for the Völckers sisters' materials, there is a folder of correspondence associated with each woman's stimmenhefte that explain how the Drinkers acquired the material or the status of the songbooks. The search for the original choir members and their stimmenhefte began in the 1930s when the Drinkers contacted Dr. Hans Albrecht. Dr. Albrecht contacted many of the families of former choir members on behalf of the Drinkers and facilitated the acquisition or the copying of the stimmenhefte. A fuller account of the acquisitions can be found in the correspondence folders mentioned previously, or in Drinker's book Brahms and His Women's Choruses.
The Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft Hamburgischer Kunstfreunde, 1902 [translation: Yearbook of the Hamburg Society of Friends of the Arts] contains a piece written in German by Franzisca Lentz about the women's chorus directed by Brahms. "Photographs and illustrations" includes images of Brahms, some of the chorus women, and other musical figures involved with the chorus. The "Writings by Brahms" folder contains a photostat of a few lines of music most likely written by Brahms.
The subseries on Drinker's book Music and Women largely consists of bound volumes of her notes. The first volume (Part I: "Introduction/Prehistoric") contains a list of contents for the books; however, the titles on the outsides of the books sometimes do not exactly match the formal title or description Drinker gave them in the contents listing. The books are arranged according to Drinker's order in the first volume. Due to the fragility of these items, they may not be photocopied.