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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Louise Crawford papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1914-1974
Creator: Crawford, Louise (1890-1973)
Extent: 1.00 linear foot.
Collection Number: IWA0007
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Composer and professor of Music Theory at Coe College.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 8) were donated by Alma A. Turechek in 1980.

Preferred Citation: Louise Crawford papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Louise Crawford was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 18, 1890 to Dr. George E. and Mrs. Julia C. (Benest) Crawford. At the age of eleven she began taking piano lessons with Mrs. J. O. Baxter. Crawford continued these lessons for nine years. Her father, two brothers, two uncles, a cousin and a nephew were all doctors, but Crawford's father "feared"" for her to take zoology, so she decided to major in music. She enrolled in Wellesley College and graduated with a degree in music theory in 1914. It was here that she composed her first work for a choir of fifty female voices for a class assignment. Crawford studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts from 1914 to 1915. In 1916 she received her Master of Arts degree from Wellesley.

From 1916 until 1941 Crawford served as Professor of Theory of Music and as Assistant Professor of Piano at Coe College in Cedar Rapids. She spent her summers at the MacDonell Colony in Petersborough, New Hampshire, doing most of her composing there. In 1927, one of the prominent colonists wrote: ""Miss Louise Crawford has established a record quite enviable in achievement...Those privileged to hear the works she completed felt them to be outstanding compositions of the colony.""

In addition to composing, Crawford wrote articles for The Musical Observer: ""Bell effects in piano compositions"" (1923), ""Pianistic seascapes"" (1925), and ""Autumnal piano music"", (1926).

In 1941 Crawford retired from teaching at Coe College. She remained active writing and lecturing and participated in various organizations, including the National League of American Pen Women, The National Association for American Composers and Conductors, The Beethoven Club of Cedar Rapids, The Cedar Rapids College Club, Mu Phi Epsilon, and Phi Kappa Phi.

Her compositions include songs, anthems, works for violin and piano, duets for piano and organ, piano pieces, organ solos, and Christmas carols. Some of Crawford's best known works include Fantasy, for violin and piano; Ballet Fantasy; and two Iowa folk-songs, The Pudding and My Grandma.

Crawford died on December 16, 1973.

Additional biographical information can be found in Who's Who in Iowa, Who's Who in Music, Who's Who in American Education, Musical Iowana, Career Women of America and Who's Important in Music. A thesis on Crawford's life and works is held by the University of Iowa Music Library.

The Louise Crawford papers measure 1 linear foot and date from 1914 to 1974. The papers are divided into two series: Personal files and Musical Scores. The bulk of the material consists of musical scores arranged by Crawford.

Personal files include biographical material, a radio script from station WMT of Cedar Rapids of the show "Private Citizen, USA," which paid tribute to Louise Crawford on December 4, 1947, resume, and lists of her publications, compositions, and awards. This list was published in Musical Iowana: 1838-1938. The speeches consist of two talks delivered to the Beethoven Club of Cedar Rapids. A small amount of Correspondence concerning Crawford's career and several articles on her father, Dr. George E. Crawford, a prominent and well respected Cedar Rapids physician are also included. A separate folder of letters regarding Crawford belonging to Alma Turechek accompanies the correspondence. Alma Turechek was a close friend of Louise Crawford's, and was responsible for sorting her belongings upon her death.

Musical Scores include original sketches by Crawford, notes, and correspondence regarding the works. Many of the scores are autographed.

There is one photograph of a group of American women composers, members of the League of American Pen Women, at the biennial festival of American Music in Washington, April 1932, in which Crawford is included.
Dieman-Bennett Dance Theatre of the Hemipsheres

Louise Crawford wrote the score for the Dieman-Bennett production Ballet Fantasy. See Box 2, Production, Ballet Fantasy.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: PERSONAL FILES
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical information
  • Copyright and royalty agreements - 1925-1929
  • Correspondence - 1931-1957
  • Correspondence with Alma Turechek - 1973, 1974
  • Coe College: Crawford Music Scholarship
  • Newspaper clippings - 1927-1974
  • Papers [delivered to Beethoven Club] - 1929-1930
  • Photograph, April - 1932
  • Poem
  • Printed Material - 1928-1944
  • Wellesley College: "Wellesley Christmas Carols" from the "Christmas Song Book" (2 copies) - 1925
  • Wellesley College: "Christmas Carols" from the "Wellesley Song Book" - 1915, 1917
  • Miscellaneous
  • Box 1:
  • "Because," Guy d'Hardelot. Transcribed for Piano
  • "Christmas Carols," traditional. Sketches and autograph copy
  • "Cradle Song," Alexander Gretchaninoff. Transcribed for violin and piano
  • "God the Father Dwell with Us," J. S. Bach. Sketches for brass ensemble
  • "God the Omnipotent," Russian Hymn. Sketch for brass ensemble
  • "Jesu, Jesu, Thou Art Mine," J. S. Bach. Sketches and autograph scores for brass ensemble
  • "Little Star," M. Mussorsky. Autograph score transcribed for violin and piano
  • Box 2:
  • Musical Scores [arranged by Louise Crawford] (cont.)
  • "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," J. S. Bach. Sketches, scores and parts
  • "My Grandma," traditional. Correspondence, sketches, non-Crawford version, and autograph copy
  • "A Sacred Head Now Wounded," J. S. Bach. Sketches, scores and parts for brass ensemble
  • "Oriental Romance," N. Rimsky-Korsakoff. Sketch and autograph copy
  • "The Pudding," traditional. Notes, sketch, and autograph copy
  • "After a Party," words by Alice Meynell. Autograph copy
  • "Airships," words by G. Perle Schmidt. Song - two autograph copies
  • "Berceuse Elegiaque" Two autograph copies for violin and piano
  • "A Birthday," words by Christina Rossetti. Sketch and autograph copy
  • "By Night and Day," words by Richard Burton. Sketch and two versions
  • "Canzonetta" Sketch, and copies for violin and piano
  • "The Fallen Oak," words by Jay G. Sigmund. Three versions
  • "Fantasy Erotique" Autograph score for violin and piano
  • "He Whom a Dream Hath Possessed," words by Shaemus O'Sheel. Autograph copy of song
  • "How Sweet and Silent is the Place," words by Alice Freeman Palmer
  • "I Saw Three Ships," words by Katherine Tynan. Autograph copy, and various versions (including one in Braille) of a Christmas carol for alto solo and mixed voices
  • "Intermezzo" Various versions for violin and piano
  • "Invocation," words by Nan Bagby Stephens. Sketch, autograph copy, and various versions of an anthem for mixed voices with alto solo
  • "Legend" Sketch, autograph copy, and various versions for violin and piano
  • "Memory," words by Nan Bagby Stephens. Versions for low and high voice
  • "Musings" Score for violin and piano
  • "My Soul Is Dark," words by Lord Byron
  • "A Nativity Pageant" Full score
  • "Nativity Song," words by Sophie Jewett. Rhythmic sketch and various versions
  • Box 3:
  • Musical Scores [arranged by Louise Crawford] (cont.)
  • "Nocturne" Autograph copy - 1914
  • "Now Sleeps the Crimson Rose," words by Tennyson. Sketch and various versions
  • "Pastoral" Autograph copy
  • "Prairie" Autograph copy of suite for piano and organ
  • "Quartet" Parts only
  • "Renouncement," words by Alice Meynell. Sketch and copy
  • "Revery" For organ
  • "Revery" Manuscript in reduced score for string quartet
  • "Sea-Fever," words by John Masefield. Sketch and various versions
  • "Seascapes - Four Mood Pictures for Piano" Autograph copy and copies of the poetry by Nan Babgy Stephens on which the pieces are based
  • "Soliloquy" Two versions
  • "Song without Words" Autograph copy - 1914
  • "There Came Three Kings," words from the 16th century. Version for a cappella women's chorus with accompanied version
  • "Thou Art Near," words by Oliver Wendell Homes. Sketch and versions for low and high voice
  • "When Earth's Last Picture is Painted," words by Kipling. Sketches and two versions
  • "Why Should I Leave You?" words by Amy Lowell. Three versions
  • "The Willow Cats," words by Margaret Widdemer. Copies for low and high voice

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Crawford, Louise, 1890-1973

20th century


College teachers

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Cedar Rapids

Genre/Form of Materials:
Personal papers