Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Leonora Wood Armsby Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
Leonora Wood Armsby (1880-1962) was the Managing Director and then President of the San Francisco Symphony Association from 1935-1953. With Pierre Monteux, Armsby revitalized the San Francisco Symphony in 1934. This collection includes art works, awards, books, clippings, press materials, writings, a reel-to-reel audiotaped concert, and artifacts such as an inscribed music stand and phonograph player from Pierre Monteux. Of special note are more than 62 autographed photographs of prominent musicians and personalities.
Mrs. Armsby was born in Springfield, Illinois, circa 1880. In 1898, she married George Newell Armsby (1876- ), a banker in Chicago. They moved to Hillsborough, California where she had a son and a daughter. Mr. Armsby was involved with the fruit packing and canning industries, and when his career took him to New York, Mrs. Armsby enrolled in the Walter Damrosch Institute to learn about music. Some compositions and lyrics she wrote during this time were published in a book called Birdland Melodies. Mrs. Armsby continued her studies of music in Paris at the Ecole Normale de Musique before settling permanently in Hillsborough in 1926. During her life, Leonora Wood Armsby was known in San Francisco society as the "First Lady of Music". From 1935-1953 she served first as Managing Director and then as President of the San Francisco Symphony Association. Her involvement with the Orchestra began in 1926 when, under her direction, the Philharmonia Society of San Mateo sponsored its first concert in the open-air Woodland Theatre. In 1935, she became the Managing Director and was responsible for engaging Pierre Monteux as the Symphony's conductor that same year. Leonora Wood Armsby died January 20, 1962.
5 Boxes. 3 linear feet.
Reproduction of these materials can occur only if the copying falls within the provisions of the doctrine of fair use. Copyright varies by item.
Entire Collection is open for research.