Inventory of the Winifred Bliss Howe Papers, 1922-1986

Processed by Judy S. Tsou; machine readable finding aid encoded by Judy S. Tsou
Music Library
Hargrove Music Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-2623
© 1997
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Winifred Bliss Howe Papers, 1922-1986

Collection number: ARCHIVES HOWE 1

The Music Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information

  • Hargrove Music Library
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
  • Phone: (510) 642-2623
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Judy S. Tsou
Date Completed:
November, 1991
Encoded by:
Judy S. Tsou
© 1996 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Winifred Bliss Howe Papers,
Date: 1922-1986
Collection number: ARCHIVES HOWE 1
Extent: Number of containers: 2 cartons

Linear feet: 2.7
Repository: The Music Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language: English.

Administrative Information


March 1991


Barbara Scherrer and Philip Scherrer



Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Winifred Bliss Howe Papers, Archives Howe 1, The Music Library, University of California, Berkeley


American pianist, critic, and educator. Winifred Bliss Howe(1904-1990) was the daughter of Henry Warren Howe and Katherine McFarland Howe . At the age of one, her father committed suicide, leaving her mother to bring up her sister, Katherine Howe(later Jones, 1894-1971), and Winifred. A brother, Warren, died at the age of 10 (1900-1910). Her uncle left money for the two sisters for college. Winifred attended Mills Collegefrom 1922 (August) to 1924 (May). She then went to England to study with Tobias Matthay (1858-1945) and to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) between 1924 and 1927. She met and fell in love with the noted musicologist, Arthur Mendel(1905-1979), who was then a fellow student of Nadia Boulanger.Their romance lasted until the early 1930s even though Mendelwas living in New York, and she was in living in California most of that period.
After her studies abroad, she taught at the Colorado Woman's Collegein Denver for a year (1927-28) before moving back to California. She became Ernest Bloch's (1880-1959) assistant in 1928 while he was teaching at the San Francisco Conservatory. Howeand Arthur Mendel arranged Bloch's America for a 4-hand piano version which Blochperformed with Howe. (The arrangement was apparently never published. The manuscript is at the possession of Howe's grandnephew, Philip Scherrer). Between 1934 and 1936, she was music critic for the Monterey Peninsula Herald.She was also very much involved with the Carmel Bach festival ,serving as accompanist and publicist manager when it started in 1935, and was still an active participant in the 1960s. She obtained both bachelor's and master's degrees (AB, 1940, MA, 1941) from the University of California (Berkeley)and taught in the Music Department until 1959, retired at the rank of assistant professor. After her retirement, she and some close friends, including Alice Harwood (Topsy) and Helen Poindexter(Poindie) embarked on a world tour from October 1959 to June 1961.
Although Howe never married, she had a three-decade on-and-off affair with Ernest Bloch. Much of her mature musical career involved Bloch. They performed together, and she was the support and advisor of his many performances including the premiere of his opera, Macbeth in Rome. She was probably considered part of his family as Bloch's daughters, Suzanne and Lucienne, had contact with Howe until her death. After her retirement, Howe moved to Carmel area with close friend (and Mills College roomate) Alice Harwood. Howe died in 1990 in Walnut Creek (Rossmoor).

Scope and Content Note

The materials in this archive span the years 1922 and 1986. The majority of the materials, however, are from the 1920s and 1930s. Correspondence made up the bulk of the archive; they are letters between Howe and her mother, and letters between Arthur Mendeland Howe. Other materials include some photographs, letters and telegrams from Bloch (many other letters from Bloch were donated to the library by Howe in 1987 but are sealed until the year 2000). There are also writings by Howe when she was a music critic for the Monterey Peninsula Herald in the 1930s.


Box 1

Series I: Correspondence.

Scope and Content Note


Letters from relatives, Arthur Mendel, Ernest Bloch, and other friends. Also includes letters from Howe to her mother and sister. There are a few letters that are not included here; they are a card from Nadia Boulanger, some letters with clippings from Suzanne and Lucienne Bloch. These are in Series IV.
Box 2

Series II: Tapes.

Scope and Content Note


Full-and half-track tapes from concerts of some of Bloch's compositions. A recording of Howe and Bloch playing Bloch's 4-hand composition, Helvetia is included in the collection. There are two cassette tapes, copies of some of the original tapes.
Box 2

Series III: Photographs.

Scope and Content Note


Many photographs of Bloch, of Howe, of Bloch and Howe, as well as pictures of Arthur Mendel and other friends.
Box 2

Series IV: Miscellaneous Materials.

Scope and Content Note


Includes biographical materials on Howe (some collected later, IV:8), Bloch memorabilia, reviews written by Howe for the Monterey Peninsula Herald, and various newspaper clippings.

Container Listing




Subseries A: To Mother (Katherine McFarland Howe)

Box Box 1, Folder 1

August 1922 -May 1923 (Mills College)

Folder 2

August 1923 -May 1924 (Mills College)

Folder 3


Folder 4


Folder 5

1927 -1929

Folder 6


Folder 7

January - May 1932

Folder 8

June - December 1932

Folder 9


Folder 10

1937 - 1945


Subseries B: To Alice Harwood (Topsy)

Box Box 1, Folder 11

Jan - Mar 1953


Subseries C: To Sister (Katherine Howe Jones)

Box Box 1, Folder 12

1959 (World Tour)

Folder 13

January - April 1960 (World Tour)

Folder 14

May - September 1960 (World Tour)

Folder 15

October - December 1960 (World Tour)

Folder 16

1961 (World Tour)


Subseries D: From Mother (Katherine McFarland Howe)

Box Box 1, Folder 17

1939 - 1932


Subseries E: From Other Relatives

Box Box 1, Folder 18

1926 - 1929

Folder 19

1930 - 1932


Subseries F: From Arthur Mendel (Christopher Robbins, CR)

Box Box 1, Folder 20

March, 1927

Folder 21

April, 1927

Folder 22

June, 1927

Folder 23

September, 1927

Folder 24

October, 1927

Folder 25

November, 1927

Folder 26

January, 1928

Folder 27

February - March , 1928

Folder 28

June - October, 1928

Folder 29

November, 1928

Folder 30

January - February, 1929


2/22/29 letter on America:


pp. 1-2


pp. 3-4


pp. 5-6


pp. 7-8

Folder 31

March - April, 1929

Folder 32

May - December, 1929

Folder 33


Folder 34

1931 - 1934


Subseries G: From Ernest Bloch

Additional Note

O ther letters from Bloch are in the Bloch/Howe Collection, sealed until January 1, 2000.
Box Box 1, Folder 35

1930 - 1953


Subseries H: From Franz Lischauer

Box Box 1, Folder 36



Subseries I: From Lischauer Family

Box Box 1, Folder 37

1971 - 1983


Subseries J: From Others

Box Box 1, Folder 38

1955 - 1986



Box Box 2, Folder 1

Meggie Teyte (from first Bach Festival?)

Folder 2

Bloch, Second Quintet

Folder 3-4

Bloch, Macbeth (parts 1 and 2)

Folder 5-6

Bloch, America (parts 1 and 2)

Folder 7

Bloch, Helvetia (piano, 4 hands; Howe and Bloch); copy on cassette (1991)

Folder 8




Box Box 2, Folder 1

Bloch, Ernest

Folder 2

Howe, Winifred

Folder 3

Howe and Bloch

Folder 4

Group pictures:


Arthur Mendel, Helen Poindexter, and Howe


Nadia Boulanger's class, 1920s


Howe and Bloch with Lillian Hodgehead, Ada Clement, and an unidentified San Francisco Conservatory person



Box Box 2, Folder 1

Bloch, Ernest -- arrticles on Bloch

Folder 2

Bloch, Ernest -- discography, articles on Bloch

Folder 3

Bloch, Lucienne and Suzanne -- letters and pamphlets from E.'s daughters

Folder 4

Boulanger, Nadia -- card, article,

Folder 5

Carmel Bach Festival -- article from Monterey Peninsula Herald

Folder 6

Ernest Bloch Society Bulletin, 1982-1985

Folder 7

Hodghead, Lillian -- article on LH

Folder 8

Howe, Winifred -- biographical materials

Folder 9

Pedagogy -- grarde sheet for Bloch's course, 1941

Folder 10

Pedagogy -- lecture notes

Folder 11

Programs: 1929 and 1958

Folder 12-13

Reviews by Howe for the Monterey Peninsula Herald, 1934-1936, some undated

Folder 14

Miscellaneous pamphlets