The Chester Williams collection is organized into six series
- Department Files
- External Files
- Special events
- Subject Files
Although a large portion of Chester Williams’ records in the Conservatory archives originate from his tenures as Dean, there is a small collection of presidential papers as well. Williams’ general correspondence files include letters from Leo Eben Tourjee, nephew of Conservatory founder Eben Tourjée, and Leo S. Tonkin Associates, a federal relations consultant, with regards to pursuing federal funds for the Conservatory. The majority of correspondence relates to gifts/bequests to the Conservatory. These gifts were primarily financial in nature and contributed to the Centennial Program Fund, the Conservatory Endowment Fund, and various scholarship funds. Included is information regarding grants from the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. One file documents non-monetary gifts, primarily instruments, donated to NEC.
Among the important departmental records from this period are: a thorough evaluation of the Conservatory’s Public Relations Department; records of the Public Relations Group; and evaluations/proposals concerning the Preparatory Division – particularly with respect to the Conservatory’s branch locations.
External files document the Conservatory’s interactions with two local radio stations, WCOP and WCRB, as well as with the federal government’s Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on the topic of a graduate fellowship program.
Special event files include commencement records as well as records documenting the unveiling of a portrait of Carl Zerrahn, NEC faculty member as well as former conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society, Harvard Musical Association, and the Worcester Music Festival. The commencement/concerts/other events file contains correspondence to and from prospective honorary degree candidates including Arthur Rubenstein, Leopold Stokowski, Edgard Varese, and Nadia Boulanger. Other items found in this folder are a Christmas program from 1965, a Preparatory School program (1962) and a convocation program from 1964. Also included among the event files are records of two meetings of the Independent Conservatory Conference, the first of which was held at NEC’s branch location, Castle Hill, in 1965. Finally there is one folder with correspondence regarding Nadia Boulanger’s visit to NEC in 1962.
Subject files consist of materials such as: information regarding the Carr Organ; detailed inventories, evaluations, and recommendations regarding the Conservatory’s collection of pianos; a few records of the Committee on Space; a few documents concerning a joint program with Simmons College; and the NEC summer program at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood.
There are three folders of Photographs in the Chester Williams presidential collection. The first folder contains photos of Williams’ Spring 1965 trip to Puerto Rico with the NEC Chorus. In addition to Williams, there are several photos that include Pablo Casals and his wife Marta, and NEC’s Choral Director, Lorna Cooke deVaron. The next folder contains photographs from the NEC Chorus trip to the Soviet Union in 1966. The third folder contains photographs of Williams alone as well as photographs from NEC Commencements during his presidency. In addition to Williams, these Commencement photos include images of Marian Anderson, E.Power Biggs, Norman Lloyd, Paul Taylor White, Erica Morini, Carl McKinley, Jesus Maria Sanroma, Hubert Weldon Lamb, Ross Lee Finney, Mildred Miller, Roger Sessions, Michael Steinberg, Shinichi Suzuki, Warren Storey Smith, and Margaret Catherine Mason[?]