Harrison Keller Photo PortraitHarrison Keller (1889–1979) graduated from Bethany College with a Bachelor’s of Music degree in 1908. From 1908–1911, Keller studied violin at Stern’s Conservatory in Berlin with Gustav Hollander and Anton Witek. During the years 1913–1914, Keller studied violin with Leopold Auer in St. Petersburg, as well as in Prague and at The Hague. In World War I, Keller served as a lieutenant, acting as leader of the 301st Artillery Band in France.

Keller was once offered the concertmastership of the Boston Symphony Orchestra but declined in favor of a career in chamber music and teaching. He joined the faculty of New England Conservatory in 1921, first chairing the violin department and later the string department. During this period Keller founded the Boston String Quartet. In 1946, Keller was appointed Director of NEC, and was named its first President in 1951 when NEC became a college. He served in this capacity until 1958, but remained an active voice as President Emeritus for many years after his formal resignation. During Keller’s tenure, he increased the prestige of the Conservatory faculty, improved facilities, and tripled the amount of the Conservatory’s endowment.

During his career, Keller also served as Director of the Boston Opera Association, Trustee of the Paderewski and Frank Huntington Beebe Funds, and President of the National Association of Schools of Music for three terms. Keller was awarded honorary doctorates from Bethany College (1954), Hartt School of Music (1955), and NEC (1959). Keller was also appointed to the American Academy of Arts.

Physical Description

This collection consists of .25 lin. ft or one document case. These records are primarily paper files along with a small number of photographs.


This collection includes the materials created by, and belonging to Harrison Keller, who served as Acting Director of New England Conservatory from 1946–1947; Director from 1947–1953; and President, 1953–1958. The materials in this collection have been stored at NEC since Keller’s tenure.  


Access to the Keller Collection is granted by the Archivist or Director of Libraries. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are limited restrictions pertaining to this collection.


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