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Lucile Lawrence papers

Identifier: SPEC-033

Scope and Contents

This collection includes sheet music, notes, workbooks, programs, newsletters, periodicals, and other materials from Lucile Lawrence ranging from 1893 to 1999.


  • 1893 - 1999

Language of Materials

Materials in English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Lucile Lawrence was born February 7, 1907 in New Orleans, Louisiana to a prominent family with roots in New England and England. A fourth generation harpist, Lawrence began her studies at age six. At the age of eight, Lucile appeared as soloist with the New Orleans Junior Philharmonic. After graduating early from high school at age fifteen, Lawrence studied in New York and Maine with legendary harpist Carlos Salzedo and composer Edgar Varese.

At the age of eighteen, Lawrence embarked on her first concert tour and performed 123 concerts over eight months in Australia and New Zealand. Upon returning to the United States, Lawrence continued her private study with Salzedo and toured throughout the U.S. as first harpist in the Salzedo Harp Ensemble and later with her own smaller Lawrence Harp Quintette.

Lawrence joined the Harp Department at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, founded by her instudctor Carlos Salzedo, where she served as an associate instructor teaching first-year students. Her students included legendary harpists Edna Phillips and Alice Chalifoux. When cutbacks due to the depression caused her to be laid off, she was invited to found the Harp Department at the Philadelphia Musical Academy where she taught for serveral years before returning to the Curtis Institute.

On September 23, 1928 at age twenty-one, Lawrence married forty-three-year-old Carlos Salzedo. Despite being married, the two maintained separate careers, even founding the famed Salzedo Harp Colony together in 1930. Her marriage to Salzedo lasted eight years until they divorced in 1936. The two remained friends until Salzedo's death in 1961. In 1938, Lawrence married Paul Dahlstrom, an electrical engineer with whom she worked at Radio City. The two had one child, a son named Larry, in 1939. The two remained married until Dahlstrom's death in 1959.

Lawrence joined the Radio City Music Hall orchestra in 1932 as its first harpist. During her time in the orchestra, she met and married Paul Dahlstrom, an electrical engineer with whom she worked at Radio City. The two had one child, a son named Larry, in 1939. The two remained married until Dahlstrom's death in 1959.

Lawrence left Radio City in 1940 and returned to private teaching, eventually becoming one of New York's leading freelance harpists. Throughout her career, Lawrence also served as faculty at Mannes School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Boston University. In 1962, Lucile Lawrence founded the American Harp Society and served as its first president from 1962-1966.

Throughout her career, Lawrence worked with many composers, including John Lessard, Rudolf Forst, Quinto Maganini, Charles Fox, George Perle, and perhaps most extensively, Ami Maayani. She edited several works for publication and published most frequently with Lyra Music Company and G. Schirmer.

In 2000, at age 93, Lawrence was still traveling to Boston University from her home in River Edge, New Jersey to teach her students. Lawrence gave her last master class in Philadelphia in 2003 at the age of 96. She passed away on July 9, 2004 in Englewood, New Jersey at the age of 97.


3.5 Cubic Feet (7 boxes)


Arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Published sheet music, 1893-1999

Series 2: Handwritten sheet music and notes, 1945-1950

Series 3: Other publications, 1910-1995

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Cynthia Otis on 2008/12/12.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2017/11/14 by Cody Sprunger. EAD finding aid revised 2017/11/20 by Lindsey M. Vesperry. EAD finding aid published 2017/11/20 by Lindsey M. Vesperry.

Lucile Lawrence papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA