Guide to the Blanche Thebom Collection ARS.0059

Finding aid prepared by Franz Kunst
This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Archive of Recorded Sound
Braun Music Center
541 Lasuen Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, California, 94305-3076
© 2010
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Blanche Thebom Collection
Dates: 1934-2003
Collection number: ARS.0059
Creator: Thebom, Blanche
Collection size: 85 boxes
Contributing Institution: Archive of Recorded Sound
Abstract: The Blanche Thebom Collection has three major components. The first is scores, correspondence, publicity, production notes, and media from her post-Met career as teacher and director. Secondly, there are published and unpublished sound recordings of Thebom. Lastly, the collection also retains Thebom's extensive archive of printed music.

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.


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

Preferred Citation

Blanche Thebom Collection, ARS-0059. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


Operatic mezzo-soprano Blanche Thebom was born in Monessen, Pennsylvania in 1915, and began her formal concert career in 1941. She was a member of the Metropolitan Opera through 1967, known for her roles in Wagnerian epics. During this period she also toured extensively, including being the first American to perform at the Bolshoi in Moscow. In 1967 she was appointed head of The Atlanta Opera Company in Atlanta, Georgia. Following that experience, Thebom taught at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. In 1980 she moved to San Francisco and directed an opera workshop at San Francisco State University, and founded the Opera Arts Training Program in 1988 in conjunction with the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Thebom passed away in March 2010 at the age of 94.

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Blanche Thebom Collection contains scores, publicity, correspondence, notes, and media from her many years as a theatrical director. Included are business records and production materials from the Atlanta Opera Company, production materials from the operas and puppet shows she directed at the University of Arkansas - Little Rock, and some files from her stint teaching at San Francisco State University. The largest portion of this collection is devoted to Thebom's own printed music collection, intact and in the order she kept it. Outside of some ephemera from her many tours abroad, there is little material from her time performing with the Metropolitan Opera, nor is there much in the way of personal correspondence. Thebom also did not keep a diary, nor did she intend to write a memoir. However, the collection does hold many recordings from this era, including test pressings from her years recording for RCA (some with unissued takes), as well as almost 150 unique recordings on fragile instantaneous discs, several from the 1930's.

Indexing Terms

Thebom, Blanche -- Archives
Atlanta Opera Company (Atlanta, Ga.).
University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Puppet theater



Box 34

Aida 1967

Scope and Contents

Verdi, Giuseppe, 1813-1901. Aïda.
Box 4, Box 5, Box 6

Alice 1976

Scope and Contents

An adaptation of Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" for the stage by Thebom.
Box 2, Box 4, Box 5, Box 8

Amahl and The Night Visitors 1975

Scope and Contents

Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911-2007. Amahl and the night visitors
Box 13, Box 46

The Astar Experiment 1978

Scope and Contents

Kirby, Lou Ann, 1948- Astar experiment
Box 33

Barber of Seville 1984

Scope and Contents

Rossini, Gioacchino, 1792-1868. Barbiere di Siviglia. Performed by the Marin Opera Company.
Box 3, Box 4

Bastien & Bastienne / Mozart Fete Galante 1970-1976

Scope and Contents

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. Bastien und Bastienne
Box 4

La Bella Dormente

Scope and Contents

Respighi, Ottorino, 1879-1936. Bella dormente nel bosco
Box 5, Box 8, Box 13

Beret & Per Hanson 1977-1978

Scope and Contents

Opera written by a Mr. Hagen, performed at UALR.
Box 34

La Boheme

Scope and Contents

Puccini, Giacomo, 1858-1924. Bohème. Photographs from the Atlanta performance.
Box 5, Box 8, Box 9, Box 13

Calhoun's Christmas 1972-1980

Scope and Contents

Palmer, Carleton. Calhoun's Christmas. Libretto by Thebom, adapted from the book by Phyllis McGimsey.
Box 13, Box 33

The Consul 1974

Scope and Contents

Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911-2007. Consul
Box 2, Box 4, Box 8, Box 14, Box 47

Carmen Cabaret / Caravan 1971-1982

Scope and Contents

Bizet, Georges, 1838-1875. Carmen. Adapted as a condensed version by Thebom.
Box 5, Box 10, Box 11

Childhood of Christ 1977

Scope and Contents

Berlioz, Hector, 1803-1869. Enfance du Christ
Box 5, Box 6, Box 10

Cinderella 1979-1980

Scope and Contents

Rossini, Gioacchino, 1792-1868. Cenerentola (Cinderella). Thebom's final production at UALR.
Box 4, Box 17, Box 18, Box 33

Cosi Fan Tutte 1975-1979

Scope and Contents

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. Così fan tutte
Box 15, Box 16

The Devil And Daniel Webster 1975-1982

Scope and Contents

Benét, Stephen Vincent, 1898-1943. Devil and Daniel Webster
Box 1, Box 4, Box 5, Box 8

Don Quixote 1978

Scope and Contents

Massenet, Jules, 1842-1912. Don Quichotte
Box 3, Box 16

Holiday For Santa 1970

Scope and Contents

Thebom, Blanche. Holiday for Santa.
Box 33, Box 34

King Arthur 1968

Scope and Contents

Purcell, Henry, 1659-1695. King Arthur. Debut performance at Atlanta's Memorial Arts Center.
Box 13, Box 16

Les Mamelles de Tiresias 1974

Scope and Contents

Poulenc, Francis, 1899-1963. Mamelles de Tirésias
Box 13

The Telephone

Scope and Contents

Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911-2007. Telephone
Box 5

Master Pete's Puppet Show

Scope and Contents

Falla, Manuel de, 1876-1946. Retablo de Maese Pedro
Box 42, Box 47

Merry Wives of Windsor 1985

Scope and Contents

Nicolai, Otto, 1810-1849. Lustigen Weiber von Windsor. Performed at San Francisco State.
Box 4, Box 5, Box 8, Box 12

The Old Maid And The Thief 1978

Scope and Contents

Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911-2007. Old maid and the thief
Box 4, Box 8, Box 9

Orfeo 1974

Scope and Contents

Monteverdi, Claudio, 1567-1643. Orfeo
Box 3, Box 5, Box 46

Snowmaiden 1970

Scope and Contents

Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolay, 1844-1908. Snegurochka
Box 5

La Vida Breve

Scope and Contents

Falla, Manuel de, 1876-1946. Vida breve
Box 34, Box 47

Atlanta Opera Company / Atlanta Opera Council 1960-1972

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Scope and contents

Clippings, contracts, correspondence, memoranda, photographs, press releases, production notes, programs, Box recordings of gala, etc.
Box 16

Blanche Thebom Show 1965

Physical Description: Twenty-five 7" open reel tapes

Scope and Contents

Recordings from Thebom's interview program (also possibly titled "Blanche Thebom Presents..."). Guests: Robert Merrill, Gary Graffman, Edward Woodward, Nicolai Gedda, Dore Schave, Marian Anderson, Enoch Light, Andre Kostelanetz, Skitch Henderson, Giorgio Tozzi, Mitch Miller, Hildegarde, Roddy McDowell, Eleanor Stebes, Jerome Hines, Richard Tucker, Jan Mitchell, Mischa Ellman, Roberta Peters, Alicia Markova, Eileen Farrell, and Bill Cosby.
Box 30, Box 44, Box 45

Discs - Instantaneous

Physical Description: 149 instantaneous disc(s) One 7" disc ; three 10" discs ; one-hundred-and-forty-five 12" discs
Box 7, Box 26

Discs - Commercially pressed shellac

Physical Description: Seventy 78 rpm discs
Box 1, Box 33

Dubrovnick Summer Festival 1959

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Scope and Contents

Program and other ephemera from a festival in Croatia at which Thebom performed.
Box 1

Metropolitan Opera House demolition clippings 1966-1967

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 15, Box 19, Box 20, Box 21, Box 22, Box 23, Box 24, Box 27, Box 28, Box 29, Box 31, Box 32, Box 36, Box 37, Box 38, Box 39, Box 40, Box 41, Box 42

Printed music collection circa 1934-2003

Physical Description: 19 boxes

Scope and Contents

Published scores, libretti, sheet music, teaching guides, etc. Many signed or possibly notated by Thebom. Some are manuscripts and some are photocopies. There are folders grouped by subject such as "Russian", "Italian", "German", "Light English" and "Encore Material."
Box 1, Box 33

Osaka International Festival 1961

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Scope and Contents

Programs, scrapbook, and other ephemera from a festival in Japan at which Thebom performed.
Box 34

Songs of Experience - Daniel Steven Crafts

Physical Description: 1 score

Scope and Contents

Crafts, Daniel Steven. Songs of Experience. Includes short correspondence and a news clipping.
Box 1, Box 2, Box 3, Box 6, Box 10, Box 11, Box 12, Box 13, Box 14, Box 15, Box 18

University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) circa 1973-1980

Physical Description: 11 boxes
Box 5, Box 13

UALR galas 1969-1971

Physical Description: 2 boxes
Box 25, Box 42

Books circa 1934-2003

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Scope and Contents

Books signed by or inscribed to Thebom. Some are signed by author. One book includes an essay ("Opera - Evolution or Revolution") by Thebom.
Box 25

Printed opera programs (San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, Metropolitan) 1963-1990

Physical Description: 1 box
Box 1, Box 69, Box 70, Box 71, Box 74, Box 76, Box 77, Box 78, Box 79, Box 80, Box 81, Box 82, Box 83, Box 84, Box 85

Programs, clippings, correspondence, and personal documents circa 1934-2003

Physical Description: 15 boxes
Creator: Villec, Phyllis

Donor note

Much of this series was donated by Villec, Phyllis, in 2014.


This series has been boxed in the order it was received. Its contents are therefore mostly unorganized at present.

Sensitive material

This series has not been weeded for potentially sensitive items. Researchers viewing these materials will therefore be required to sign an agreement that they will not disclose or reproduce any sensitive information they might find.
Box 9, Box 16, Box 33, Box 46, Box 47

Audiovisual material 1938-1996

Physical Description: 6 boxes

Scope and Contents

Many unmarked or poorly marked, some with no Thebom content. Among the recordings: Antony and Cleopatra 1966 ; Manila 1959 ; Kolodin ; Trigere ; "phone negotiations" ; Samson and Delilah ; Queen of Spades ; Regina ; Thebom interview KKHI ; Thebom interview 1993 (also transferred to DVD) ; Aida 1953 ; The Trojans in London ; many reels of disc transfers (marked with Roman numerals).
Box 17

Film circa 1934-2003

Physical Description: 3 films One 1" film in 5" can ; two 1/2" films in 12" cans

Scope and Contents

Films are minimally marked. One says "In Brasil with Senador Church" on its can, another says "rehearsals" on its leader.
Box 72, Box 73, Box 75

Photographs and negatives circa 1934-2003

Physical Description: 3 boxes
Creator: Villec, Phyllis

Donor note

Much of this series was donated by Villec, Phyllis, in 2014.