The Elson Club was founded in 1920 by Miss Rosa Frutman for the purpose of perpetuating the name of the late Louis Elson, and to further the musical interests of its members who are all graduates of NEC. A memorial in the form of a bronze bas-relief was presented to the Conservatory in February 1926 through the efforts of Ruth Bernard ’20, who, as president of the club originated the idea. The work was produced by the famous sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson.

Louis Elson had been a faculty member at New England Conservatory since 1880. In 1882, Elson was made head of NEC’s theory department. Known as a writer and a music critic, Elson worked for several of the top music journals of the time including Vox Humana and the Musical Herald, both of which he eventually edited. He was music editor of the Boston Courier and then the Boston Daily Advertiser from 1886 until his death. In addition, Elson was known as a lecturer, appearing before college and community groups throughout New England.  In 1945, Elson’s widow established the Louis C. Elson memorial fund at the Library of Congress to sponsor the annual music lecture series.

Elson also published several books on music including The History of American Music, The National Music of America and its Sources, Elson’s Music Dictionary, and Shakespeare in Music.

Physical description

The Elson Club collection consists of one manuscript box containing one scrapbook and three folders.


This scrapbook was started by the members of the Elson Club in January 1959. There is no gift information regarding its transfer to the archives.


Access to the Elson Club Collection is granted by the Archivist or Director of Libraries. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.


All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory.
Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as: Elson Club Collection, New England Conservatory Archives, Boston, MA.