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Guide to the Mario and Ruth Chamlee Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Mario and Ruth Chamlee Collection
    Dates: 1911-1977
    Collection number: ARS-0003
    Creator: Mario Chamlee
    Creator: Ruth Chamlee
    Collection Size: 17 boxes +
    Repository: Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound
    Stanford University Libraries
    Stanford, California 94305-3076
    Abstract: The collection consists of correspondence dealing with the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions; personal papers, mainly promotional documents, and biographical and/or pedagogical writings; newspaper and magazine clippings; annotated scores, programs, photos, scrapbooks and recordings.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research. Listening appointments may require 24 hours notice. Contact the Archive Operations Manager.

    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

    Mario and Ruth Chamlee Collection, ARS-0003. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Mario Chamlee (1892-1966), tenor, was born in Los Angeles, May 29, 1892. His original name was Archer Cholmondeley. He first studied voice with Achille Alberti in Los Angeles, and later with Sibella and Dellera in New York. He made his debut in his native city in 1916 as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. A year later Mr. Chamlee went on tour with the Aborn Opera company where he sang with soprano Ruth Miller who in 1919 became his wife. With his two-year military service, during World War I, his singing career came practically to a total halt. Upon his return to the US in 1919, however, Mr. Chamlee devoted himself to developing his operatic talent. Engagements followed with various opera companies in the US, the Scotti, Metropolitan, Ravinia summer opera in Chicago, San Francisco, and in Europe. Perhaps his most acclaimed appearance was in Henri Rabaud's Marouf at the Paris Opera. Mario Chamlee retired from the opera stage at the age of 47. He subsequently devoted himself to singing popular songs, taking part in talk shows such as Tony and Gus, and teaching voice together with his wife. He recorded exclusively for Brunswick records.
    Ruth Miller (1892-1983), soprano, was born in Portland Oregon on July 1, 1892. She studied in Paris with Lloyd d'Aubigne, Emile Bourgeois and Giovanni Sbriglia. She sang as lyrical and coloratura soprano, under the name of Francesca Milena, in various French and Spanish theaters starting in 1912. Her American debut was in 1917 with the Aborn opera company where she sang with baritone Richard Bonneli and tenor Mario Chamlee. She sang only one season with the Metropolitan opera (1917), appearing as Musetta in La Boheme. After marrying Mario Chamlee in 1919 she gave up her operatic career, and dedicated herself to teaching. Among her most successful students is the baritone Theodor Uppman. Examples of her singing appeared between 1940-54 under the IRCC label.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Includes correspondence dealing with the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions; personal papers which consist of promotional documents, and biographical and/or pedagogical writings; newspaper and magazine clippings; 22 annotated scores; 7 programs; about 350 photographs, 12 scrapbooks, 285 transcription discs, 3 test pressings, 49 commercial discs, 19 reel to reel tapes and 1 cassette.


    Organized into 9 series: I. Correspondence. II. Personal Papers. III. Newspaper and Magazine Clippings. IV. Scores. V. Programs. VI. Photographs. VII. Scrapbooks. VIII. Recordings. IX. Miscellaneous.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Chamlee, Mario, 1892-1966.
    Miller, Ruth, 1892-1983.
    Songs (High voice)
    Live sound recordings.