Archive: Helen Hodam

Helen Hodam received her Bachelors of Music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University. She subsequently studied at Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, University of Vienna, the Mozarteum (Salzburg), Aspen School of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, the Goethe Institut (Munich), and Alliance Francaise (New York and Paris).  Her teachers include Luigi Rossini, Paul Schilawsky, Paul Steinitz, Irene Aitoff, Olga Eisner, Grace Perry, Erik Werba, Eva Gauthier, and Ernst Wolff.

Hodam taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music from 1963 until 1984, and was a member of the voice faculty at New England Conservatory from 1977 until her retirement in Spring 2004. During this period, Hodam was also elected a member of the prestigious American Academy of Teachers of Singing in 1988, and in 1998 was appointed adjudicator for the Washington International Competition for Singers. In October 2004, as part of the homecoming weekend, “A Celebration of Song”, NEC presented a concert in tribute to Helen Hodam. The program notes for this concert cite the success of so many of her students as one of her greatest accomplishments: “Among Helen Hodam’s achievements there are 12 European and 20 Canadian and US opera houses where her students have sung. These students have won many prestigious prizes: 20 have successfully competed in Metropolitan opera auditions, winning district, semifinal, or final competitions. Two of her students have won Dealey awards, three of them Fulbrights, and 20 have been first place winners in National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions.”

Among the renowned singers who studied with Hodam are: Denyce Graves, mezzo-soprano; Lisa Saffer, soprano; Ann Panagulias, soprano; William Thorpe, baritone; and Carole Haber, soprano and member of the NEC voice faculty.In addition to her teaching, Hodam also performed as a soprano soloist at many churches including Christ Church in New York. She also appeared in various opera and summer theater productions with groups such as the Paper Mill Playhouse and the Berkshire Opera Players.

Physical description

The Helen Hodam collection consists of .5 lin. ft.  This collection consists of books, a small number of papers, and miscellaneous artifacts


Helen Hodam donated a large collection to the NEC Library in February 2005, consisting of approximately 2,000 scores, 150 books, 200 CDs and 550 LPs. The gift transfer was handled by Hodam’s executor, Bradford Swing.  The scores were primarily in the classical vocal genre, covering all periods. The majority of these scores were cataloged and placed into circulation so that NEC students may benefit from this wonderful donation.  Those scores deemed rare were shelved in the NEC library vault. The recordings from Hodam’s collection covered the standard vocal repertoire, sung by a variety of singers. There were also several rare recordings of art song, cantatas, and opera. This group of recordings fills in important gaps in NEC’s audio library collection.

Hodam’s book collection contained titles pertaining to vocal pedagogy and composer biography. There were also books about foreign languages and instruction, as well as other miscellaneous materials. This finding aid is a guide to those language books and additional materials.


Access to the Helen Hodam Collection is by appointment through the Archivist. There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.


All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory. Permission to publish is through the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as the Helen Hodam Collection, New England Conservatory Archives. Boston, MA.

Scope & Content

The Helen Hodam collection is divided into five series

  1. Teaching materials
  2. Student Files
  3. Other papers
  4. Published books
  5. Artifacts

The teaching materials, including two notebooks, consist of musical examples such as vocalises, cadenzas/variations, transcriptions, as well as instructions on vocal technique and teaching notes.

Related to the teaching materials, the second series contains materials regarding individual students. Included in these files are resumes, repertoire lists, photographs, programs, and correspondence. The last folder in this series contains recital programs for students that are not included in the other files, as well as a small student account log book. A program for the Helen Hodam memorial concert of 2008 is also included.

The Other Papers series consists of two notebooks and one file folder. The notebooks are from a German class taken by Hodam when she was in Vienna. One of them contains additional loose leaf papers with lists of German vocabulary words. The file folder contains correspondence, flyers, programs and program notes primarily relating to the works of guitarist/composer David Leisner, an NEC faculty member.

In this collection there is a group of seventeen published books that belonged to Hodam. Most of these books are language instruction books in French or German. Many of the books have annotations written in them, and a few contained loose papers in them. These papers have been removed from the books and transferred to envelopes, placed directly behind the associated book.

A pitch pipe is the only artifact contained in this collection.


Container List

Series 1: Teaching materials

Folder 1 – musical examples, exercises, loose-leaf, teaching notes, vocal principles

Folder 2 – two notebooks containing musical examples. One is a Boosey & Hawkes Manuscript Music Book that contains music sketches..examples of cadences, trills, etc.  The examples seem to be taken, at least in part, from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; the second contains handwritten “Il Rossignuolo?” for harpsichord, voice, and cello

Series 2: Student Files

Folder 3 – ‘A’
Folder 4 – ‘B’
Folder 5 – ‘C-D’
Folder 6 – ‘F-G’
Folder 7 – ‘H’
Folder 8 – ‘K-L’
Folder 9 –‘M-P’
Folder 10 – ‘R’
Folder 11 – ‘Sa-Sh’
Folder 12 – ‘So’
Folder 13 – ‘St’
Folder 14 – ‘T-W’
Folder 15 – Student recital programs

Series 3 – Other Papers

Folder 16 - Two small notebooks from Hodam’s Deutsche Klasses #2. 
Folder 17 - Materials pertaining to David Leisner

Series 4: Published Books

Berlitz, M.D. Zweites Buch mit illustrationen von Robert Strumpen-Darrie und C. Frambach Berlitz. New York: Berlitz Publications, 1962. [a few annotations]

Bernard, Victor F., Le Francais Idiomatique: French idioms and proverbs, with French and English exercises, alphabetically arranged and especially adapted for schools. New York: Brentano’s, 1919. {‘Rayson’ written on cover]

Deutsch 2000: eine Einfuhrung in die moderne Umgangssprache. Band 2.  Munchen: Max Hueber Verlag, 1973. [annotated; includes registration brochure for the Goethe Institute, Munich]

Deutsch 2000: eine Einfuhrung in die moderne Umgangssprache. Band 3. Arbeitsbuch. Munchen: Max Hueber Verlag, 1975. [annotated]

Emery, Walter. Bach’s Ornaments. London: Novello, 1953 [1967 reprint]. [contains some underlining and annotations ;  newspaper article, “On Trills and other Ornaments” by Harold C. Schonberg; additional notes and annotated sheets of music].

Greenfield, Eric V. German Grammar. Second Edition. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1944 (annotated)

Griesbach, Heinz and Dora Schulz. Deutsche Sprachlehre fur Auslander. Munchen: Max Hueber Verlag, 1964. [annotated]

Langellier, Alice. Lectures pour conversations. New York: American Book Company, 1960. [annotated]

Mathieu, Gustave and Guy Stern. Say it in German by. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1957. [annotated]

Miller, Richard. English, French, German and Italian Techniques of Singing: a Study in National Tonal Preferences and how they relate to functional efficiency. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1977. [annotated]

New German Self Taught, revised by Erich W. Berger, late of Queens College School of General Studies and Dorothea Berger, New York University. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1959. [annotated; additional notes and newspaper article photocopy inserted]

The Penguin Book of French Verse – 2. The Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century by Geoffrey Brereton  Baltimore: Penguin House, 1958.[a few annotations]

The Penguin Book of French Verse – 3. The Nineteenth Century. Introduced and edited by Anthony Hartley. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Ltd., 1965[1957]. [a few annotations; poor condition]

Pleasants, Jeanne Varney, Pronunciation of French: Articulation and Intonation. Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards Brothers, Inc., 1965.

Posey, Kenneth. A Singer’s Guide to Auditioning in Unified Germany.  Munich, San Angelo, TX, 1991. Autographed by author.  Hodam quote on back cover.                                                   

Pronouncing Pocket-Manual of Musical Terms. Edited by Dr. Theodore Baker. New York: G. Schirmer, 1947.

Raymond, Joseph and Nell Jo Francis. Rodeo Gramatical. Boston: D. C. Heath and Co., 1954. [inscribed by Raymond]

Schmidt, L. M. and E. Glokke, Deutsche Stunden.  Boston: D. C. Heath and Co [Heath’s Modern Language Series] [a few annotations]

Series 5: Artifacts
Wm. Kraft Master Key Pitch pipe