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Guide to the Alice Barnett Stevenson Papers MS 63
MS 63  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Arrangement
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content
  • Separated Materials

  • Title: Alice Barnett Stevenson Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 63
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 5.5 Linear feet (9 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1839-2007
    Abstract: The collection contains documents related to the life, travels, and musical work of Alice Barnett Stevenson, a prominent San Diego composer.
    creator: Stevenson, Alice Barnett

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession numbers 751101, 761029, 801220B.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Diary of Emeline Gibbs Barnett is very fragile; pages are brittle and spine is partially detached. Front and back cover are detached from binding of Alice Barnett Stevenson's journal (Box 1 folder 4). (June 15, 2012)


    The collection is arranged into six series:
    Series I: Personal Papers
    Series II: Personal Correspondence
    Series III: Music
    Series IV: Associations
    Series V: Scrapbooks
    Series VI: Miscellanea
    Items within each series are arranged by subject.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Lauren Rasmussen on June 13, 2012.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Preferred Citation

    Alice Barnett Stevenson Papers, MS 63, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    Alice Barnett Stevenson was born in 1886 in Lewiston, Illinois. Her father, Orrin Barnett, was a pianist and music teacher. Having grown up in a musical family, she excelled in her musical endeavors and went on to graduate from the Chicago Musical College in 1904 with highest honors. Her studies included piano with Rudolph Ganz, composition with Felix Borowski, and theory with Dr. Louis Falk, among others. After college she traveled to Berlin, Germany to continue her studies under the famous composer Hugo Ludwig Kaun, accompanied by Minnie Fish Griffin, a well-known and accomplished singer from Chicago. While in Berlin, she met Samuel H. Price, a violin student from San Diego. The two were married shortly after. After a lengthy tour of Europe, the couple returned to the United States in 1910, making their home in San Diego, where their two sons were born. The marriage did not last long and four years later, the couple divorced.
    The divorce revived her musical career as she supported her young family. She taught music appreciation, theory, harmony, and history at San Diego High School while composing her own music. Between 1906 and 1932, Barnett composed 110 pieces. Fifty of these American art songs were published, including the popular “Trio”, “In the Time of Saffron Moons”, and “In a Gondola”. In 1926, she wed Dr. George Roy Stevenson. Dr. Stevenson was highly supportive of his wife’s career and her heavy involvement with multiple musical associations. She was founder and a life member of the Music Makers. In 1927, she founded the San Diego Symphony Orchestra association and was a member of the board of the Amphion Club from 1920 until 1948. She also served as patroness for many local organizations and served as a charter member of the Opera Guild. The Stevensons hosted numerous recitals, activities, and visiting musicians in their Mission Hills home. In later years, she and Dr. Stevenson traveled extensively until his death in 1965. Barnett died at age 89 on August 28, 1975.

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of materials related to the life and work of Alice Barnett Stevenson. Her personal papers include legal documents, such as her marriage license, family papers, and non-music related notebooks, as well as some family papers. Stevenson’s personal correspondence covers her studies abroad in Europe, her return to the United States, and her later world travels with Dr. Stevenson. Her composition notebooks, original and published sheet music, and four audio recordings of her work are also included. Documents of her professional relationships include correspondence and administrative materials for the San Diego Opera Guild and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Also present in the collection are several scrapbooks compiled after her death by her daughter-in-law, Margaret Price, as well as sheet music by other musicians and a graduate thesis about Barnett’s work. Items of particular interest include her composition notebooks from her college and Berlin years, as well as the journal of Emeline Gibbs Barnett, Stevenson’s maternal grandmother, that dates back to 1839.

    Separated Materials

    Original photographs separated to SDHC Photograph Collection.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Barnett, Emeline Gibbs
    Kaun, Hugo, 1863-1932
    Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
    Price, Eugene
    Price, Hubert
    Price, Samuel
    San Diego Opera Guild.
    San Diego Symphony Orchestra.
    Stevenson, Alice Barnett
    Stevenson, George Roy
    Wednesday Club of San Diego .
    Arrangers (Musicians)
    Berkeley (Calif.)
    San Diego (Calif.)
    Sheet music
    Women -- Societies and clubs
    Women composers
    Women musicians