Wallace Goodrich Photo Portrait(John) Wallace Goodrich, an American organist, conductor, and writer on music, was born in Newton, MA on May 27, 1871. He graduated from Newton High School and in 1888 Goodrich began studying organ with Henry Dunham and composition with George W. Chadwick at the New England Conservatory. He also studied with Rheinberger in Munich (1894-1895) and with Widor in Paris. In 1896-1897, Goodrich served as coach at the Leipzig Municipal Theater.

In 1897, Goodrich returned to Boston and joined the organ faculty at NEC. He was appointed Dean in 1907 and subsequently Director in 1931- a position he held until 1942. Goodrich was organist at Church of the Messiah and later Trinity Church in Boston from 1902-1907. He was the official organist for the Boston Symphony from 1897-1900, performing Handel’s Concerto in D minor in the first pair of concerts ever held at Symphony Hall, in October 1900.

Goodrich founded Boston’s Choral Art Society in 1901 and served as its conductor until 1907. At various points, Goodrich also directed the Cecilia Society (1907-1910), the Worcester County Choral Association (1902-1907) and the Boston Opera Company (1909-1912). Among the operas conducted by Goodrich were Faust, Lakme, La Boheme, Rigoletto, Mignon, Hansel and Gretel, Converse’s The Sacrifice (world premiere) and The Pipe of Desire. In addition, Goodrich held the position of secretary to the Joint Commission on Church Music of the Episcopal Church, from its beginning in 1919 until 1948.

Goodrich composed choral music, including his Ave Maria for chorus and orchestra (Munich, 1895). Goodrich also wrote The Organ in France (1917), “Recollections of my time at New England Conservatory”, and translated A. Pirro’s Johann Sebastian Bach and his Works for the Organ (1902) and d’Ortigue’s Methode d’accompagnement du plain-chant (1905). Goodrich died in Boston on June 6, 1952.
-biographical information taken from Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1954 ed.) and New England Conservatory Bulletin. v. 29 no. 2(August, 1952)

Physical description

The Goodrich collection occupies approximately 3.25 linear feet, or 9 document cases. The majority of this collection consists of paper files, i.e. correspondence, department files, subject files, external files etc. There are also newspaper/periodical clippings as well as photographs.


This collection includes the materials created by, and belonging to Wallace Goodrich, Director of New England Conservatory from 1931-1942.  Some of the materials in this collection had remained at NEC since Goodrich’s tenure. Other materials, such as the photographs were donated to the Conservatory by members of the Goodrich family, including his son John.


Access to the Goodrich collection is granted by the Archivist or the 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:  Wallace Goodrich Collection in the Archives at New England Conservatory, Boston.