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Guide to the Herbert Nanney Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Access Terms

  • Overview

    Call Number: SC0920
    Creator: Nanney, Herbert, 1918-1996
    Title: Herbert Nanney papers
    Dates: 1924-2005
    Physical Description: 4 Linear feet
    Summary: Programs, news clippings, correspondence, photographs, audio recordings, music scores, and other materials which document Herbert Nanney's tenure as Stanford University professor of music and university organist.
    Language(s): The materials are in English.
    Repository: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Green Library
    557 Escondido Mall
    Stanford, CA 94305-6064
    Email: specialcollections@stanford.edu
    Phone: (650) 725-1022
    URL: http://library.stanford.edu/spc

    Administrative Information

    Information about Access

    Collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least 24 hours in advance of intended use.

    Ownership & Copyright

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

    Cite As

    [Identification of item], Herbert Nanney papers, SC 920, Stanford University Archives, Stanford, Calif.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Herbert Boswell Nanney, university organist and professor of music at Stanford University, was born in Whittier, California in 1918. He began piano lessons at the age of five, and studied organ under UCLA's Alexander Schreiner while a high school student. Nanney received his A.B. in Music from Whittier College in 1940, an Artist's Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 1947, and his M.A. from Stanford in 1951.
    Nanney first came to Stanford shortly after receiving his A.B., serving as assistant to university organist William D. Allen. He left Stanford to attend the Curtis Institute of Music in 1941. In August 1942 he was inducted into the Army. While stationed in Paris from 1944-1945, Nanney studied organ with Marcel Dupre at the Paris Conservatory of Music and was organist at the American Cathedral.
    After his return from Europe, Nanney served as organist and choir director for churches in southern California and Philadelphia before returning to Stanford in 1947 as university organist and a member of the music faculty. In the years that followed he traveled regularly to lecture and perform, and was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Fisk-Nanney organ in Memorial Church, which was dedicated in 1984.
    Nanney's 1985 retirement was celebrated with a series of concerts on campus, at which 30 of his former students played the works of Bach. He remained in the Bay Area until his death in 1996.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Programs and news clippings related to performances by Nanney comprise the bulk of these papers. For preservation reasons, clippings on newsprint have been placed at the end of each folder and are segregated from other documents with acid-free paper. Also included are several folders of clippings, programs, and other documents related to the construction of the Fisk-Nanney organ at Stanford University's Memorial Church. There are also several tributes to Nanney, including congratulatory letters compiled and presented to him at the time of his retirement; a memorial service address by James Welch; and a program and an original composition from an honorary concert presented by the San Jose Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
    Many of the programs, news clippings, and congratulatory letters were originally located in scrapbooks. Due to preservation concerns these items were detached from their scrapbook pages and placed in acid-free folders. Folder titles indicate items that were originally found in scrapbooks.
    Other correspondence is sparse and consists largely of letters to Nanney from his parents. Two items of particular interest are a 1945 letter of reference from prominent French organist Marcel Dupre and a 1953 letter from Vice President Richard Nixon in response to Nanney's inquiry about the position of Organist and Choirmaster at West Point's Cadet Chapel.
    There are two recordings of works by Nanney: a CD-R copy of a 1956 baroque music performance in Memorial Church and an LP of Nanney s performance at the 1963 Far West Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists. The papers also include several original compositions by Nanney, including his Sonata in E Minor for pipe organ and The Creation: A Sacred Cantata for Chorus, Soprano and Baritone Soloists, Full Orchestra, and Organ.
    Most of the photographs in box 1 are posed portraits of Nanney, but there are a few images of the Memorial Church organ as well as several individual and group photographs of others.
    The papers were donated to the Stanford University Archives by James Welch, a former Nanney student. Welch's notes on the papers are included in box 5, folder 12. There is also a transcript of Welch's 1991 interview with Nanney, a recording of the interview on audiocassette, and a copy of Welch's piece on Nanney for Stanford magazine's January/February 2003 "The Teacher Who Changed My Life" feature.

    Access Terms

    Stanford University. Department of Music.
    Stanford University. Memorial Church