The Converse collection is organized into the following six series:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Biographical materials
  3. Programs
  4. Writings
  5. Newspapers/Clippings
  6. Photographs

*Note: Music manuscripts by Frederick Converse have been cataloged individually and can be found by searching our online catalog.

The one folder of Correspondence spans the years 1911-1941. Converse’s compositions which are mentioned in this correspondence include: Beauty and the Beast; Two Lyric Pieces, (Four) Gregorian Etudes, and Haul Away, Jo. There is one letter written by Mrs. Converse in 1941 to a Reverend Beardslee concerning the sermons of a Reverend James Converse (F.S. Converse’s brother?). Included at the end of this folder is correspondence pertaining to the donation of this collection.

The folder of Biographical materials contains several biographical sketches including a tribute that appeared in the NEC Alumni Quarterly in August 1940 and an article about Converse written by Edward Burlingame Hill for The Music Lovers Calendar for 1908. Also included in this folder are a Converse family tree and a flyer announcing a competition at NEC for the Frederick S. Converse Prize.

The Programs folder includes Boston Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra programs featuring performances of Converse's Two Poems, "Night" and "Day"(1905), his symphonic poem, Ormazd (1915) and his Ballade for baritone and orchestra (1906). Also included are: program notes (possibly an advertisement) for Converse’s dramatic poem, Job; a synopsis of “Romance” from Scarecrow Sketches; and a program from the Tercentenary of Harvard College (1936). Other programs in this collection include a William Strong and Herbert Boardman and a Converse College performance both featuring Converse's Two Poems, "Night" and "Day", and lastly a program including his Four Gregorian Etudes for Brass Quartet.

There are only two items in the Writings folder.  One is an essay (or address) entitled “Music and Life”; the other is an address given by Converse on the Boston Opera Company, three years after its beginning.

The Newspapers/Clippings are primarily reviews of Converse’s works, Two Poems, "Night" and "Day", Ormazd and The Masque of St. Louis. These clippings date from 1905, 1912, and 1914-1915. Also included are several issues of the New England Conservatory Bulletin, dating from 1922 and 1933-1934. Also there are a few articles concerning other Converse compositions as well as a  May 1940 Boston Herald feature article and sketch about Converse by Dwight Shepler. (A copy of this article is also included in the biographical materials folder). A photostat of this article along with an accompanying letter and envelope are also included.

There are four folders of Photographs arranged by subject.  The first folder contains three photographs of orchestras; the second, photos from Converse’s operas, The Pipe of Desire (one featuring Louise Homer) and The Sacrifice. The third folder contains several portraits including those of Converse, Karl Muck, Gertrude Rice Lawrence, Carl Baermann, and Wallace Goodrich. The final folder contains two small photos, one featuring Converse and presumably his wife Emma; the other Converse and another gentleman at the piano. Also in this folder is a large photograph from a Hasty Pudding Show at Harvard University (for which Converse apparently composed the music). Lastly, this folder contains photographs taken at Converse's camp at Lake Sunapee and a large photograph of "The Crossways" in Westwood, MA.


WITHOUT CRAFTSMANSHIP, INSPIRATION IS A MERE REED SHAKEN IN THE WIND. JOHANNES BRAHMS