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Guide to the William Ames Collection ARS.0072
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Sponsor
  • Biography
  • Scope and Contents
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William Ames Collection
    Dates: 1947-1966
    Collection number: ARS.0072
    Creator: Ames, William T.
    Collection size: 1 box: 22 open reel tapes
    Contributing Institution: Archive of Recorded Sound
    Abstract: Tape recordings of works by composer William Ames.
    Language of Material: English


    Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.

    Preferred Citation

    William Ames Collection, ARS-0072. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


    This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


    American composer William Thayer Ames (1901-1987) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and wrote his first compositions while attending Harvard in the early 1920s. After graduating with a degree in music, Ames studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, and returned to the United States to teach at the Eastman School of Music. In 1940 Harvard awarded Ames a masters degree, and he lived for a time in New York. It was during this period that a program of his works was performed at Carnegie Hall. In 1954 Ames was appointed to the faculty at Cornell's dance department (pieces for dance and theater were almost as important to him as his chamber music, orchestral works and operas). Following spells in New Hampshire and New York, Ames retired to the peaceful setting of Mendocino, California in 1965, where he spent the rest of his life writing music.

    Scope and Contents

    The William Ames Collection consists of twenty-two tape reels of performances of Ames compositions, some with Ames' own involvement. Documentation of these performances is limited; all information from the tape boxes has been transcribed. Some performers are identified, including sopranos Barbara Troxell and Antonia Lavanne, tenor Earl Rogers, violinist Max Pollikoff and 'cellist George Finckl. Nine of the reels are professional transfers from instantaneous discs by Stone Sound Studio in Woodstock, New York. It is likely, however, that all reels are copies and that the originals exist elsewhere.

    Related Collections

    Special Collections at the Eastman School of Music holds the William Ames Collection, which contains the composer's papers, music and recordings.