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Louis Crowder Collection


Louis Crowder Collection
Crowder, Louis
Collection number:
4.75 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
International Piano Archives at Maryland
International Piano Archives at Maryland, University of Maryland Libraries, College Park, MD, 20742, Tel: 301.405.9224, Email:

Louis Crowder (1907-1998) was a pianist, music teacher, and music writer. He wrote many published and unpublished books and articles, including books on Anatomy of the Hand, Bones, Muscles, and Keyboards, and articles for Clavier magazine. Crowder also performed a variety of concerts in Europe and taught both piano pedagogy conferences and music at various schools, including Northwestern University, Iowa State Teachers College, and the University of Connecticut. The collection consists of published and unpublished writings, correspondence, programs, articles, scores, publicity materials, reports, resumes, photographs, and questionnaires related to Crowders teaching, writing, and performing careers, and his relationships with his friends and colleagues, including Mary Louise Boehm, Kees Kooper, his teacher, Robert Casadesus, and his wives, Naomi West Crowder (a.k.a. Nan), and Carol Odeneal.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


There are no restricted files in this collection.

Preferred citation:

Louis Crowder Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Summary: Louis Crowder was born in Springfield, Illinois on July 5, 1907. He performed a series of concerts in European capitals, including concerts in Norwegian cities, and was one of the first pianists to perform in Europe at the end of World War II. Mr. Crowder was a professor at Mount Union College at Alliance Ohio, the Iowa State Teacher's College in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and University of Connecticut in Storrs. Connecticut. Crowder died on July 22nd, 1998.

Full History: Louis Crowder was born in Springfield, Illinois on July 5, 1907. He graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology School of Fine Arts with a major in piano under Selmar Janson, and was awarded several scholarships for study in Europe. He went on to study in Berlin with Eugen DAlbert, one of the greatest of Liszts pupils, and with Egon Petri, equally famous as pianist and pedagogue. Robert Casadesus, then unknown in this country, drew him to Paris, where he began, under the guidance of the great Frenchman, study that continued through the next two years and intermittently for several years thereafter. Extensive stays in Spain contributed an acquaintance with still another musical culture.

Before returning from his European studies, Mr. Crowder played a series of concerts in European capitals, still in their pre-World War II artistic vitality London, Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, Leipzig, and others received him with favor, as did many American cities thereafter. Upon the conclusion of World War II, he was one of the first American pianists to perform in Europe. On invitation of the Norway America Association, he gave a series of concerts in a number of Norwegian cities, and in recognition was received by the late King Haakon.

Mr. Crowders teaching career had included appointments at Mount Union College at Alliance Ohio, the Iowa State Teachers College at Cedar Falls, Iowa, Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, University of Connecticut at Storrs, Connecticut. He had conducted conferences on piano pedagogy and piano workshops in various cities and colleges. Crowder died on July 22nd, 1998.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Louis Crowder Collection covers the period from 1899 to 2000; the bulk of the materials date from 1934 to 1980. The collection consists of both personal and professional documents including published and unpublished writings, correspondence, programs, articles, scores, publicity materials, reports, resumes, photographs, and questionnaires related to Crowders work as a piano performer, music professor, and music writer, including work on his book, Anatomy of the Hand, his work for Clavier magazine, and his various recitals, orchestra performances, classes he has taught, and piano competitions that he has been involved in.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift of Carol Odeneal, the widow of Louis Crowder in 1999.

Processing Information

Processed by:

This collection was processed by Elizabeth Mason.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Elizabeth J. Mason, March 2013.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Performance Files, 1928-1975, and Undated (null)

This series comprises programs, reviews, scores, publicity materials and articles related to Crowders performances. Materials are arranged chronologically by performance date.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Programs, 1930-1975 series 1box 1folder 1
Scrapbook, 1928-1949, and Undated series 1box 6folder 1
Scores, 1963, and Undated series 1box 6folder 2
Prelude (Mist and Clouds), by Anton Rovinsky, Undated series 1box 6folder 2item 1.0
Two Preludes, by Anthony Donato, Undated series 1box 6folder 2item 2.0
Selected Pieces ("Little Joe", "Smoke Eyes", "Box Car", "Come Seven"), by Anthony Donato, Undated series 1box 6folder 2item 3.0
Piano Sonata No. 3, By Sally A. Sheirer, 1963 series 1box 6folder 2item 4.0

Series 2: Correspondence, 1953-1999, and Undated (null)

This series consists of correspondence with Clavier magazine, correspondence with publishers, domestic correspondence, foreign correspondence. The files are organized chronologically by date.

Subseries 2.1: Clavier Correspondence, 1961-circa 1983

This subseries contains letters to and from Louis Crowder and to Clavier Magazine editorial staff about Crowder regarding Crowders contributions to Clavier Magazine.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Clavier Correspondence, 1961-circa 1983series 2.1box 1folder 2

Subseries 2.2: Publishers' Correspondence, 1956-1998

This subseries contains letters between Louis Crowder and publishers about Crowders books and articles and between Robert Crowder and Nan and publishers about Louis Crowders book.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Publishers' Correspondence, 1956-1998series 2.2box 1folder 3

Subseries 2.3: Domestic Correspondence, 1954-1999, and Undated

This subseries contains letters between Crowder and friends, editors, students, fans, and colleagues about employment, piano concerts, appointments, personal issues, and Crowders book, as well as letters to Robert Crowder and Nan about Louis Crowders death.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Letters -- Northwestern, 1954-circa 1983series 2.3box 1folder 4
Letters from Mary Louise Boehm Kooper, 1991-1999, and Undatedseries 2.3box 1folder 5
Robert Crowder and Nan Correspondence, 1998-1999, and Undatedseries 2.3box 1folder 6
Miscellaneous Domestic Correspondence, 1954-1995, and Undatedseries 2.3box 1folder 7

Subseries 2.4: Foreign Correspondence, 1953-1995, and Undated

This subseries contains correspondence between Crowder and friends, students, and public officers in various countries, including Spain, Germany, and Mexico, about financial issues, recitals, traveling, immigration, and personal issues.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Letters from Friends -- Spain and Foreign, 1953-1962, and Undatedseries 2.4box 1folder 8
Foreign Correspondence, 1963-1995, and Undatedseries 2.4box 1folder 9

Series 3: Subject Files, 1960-1991, and Undated (null)

This series contains materials related to Crowders teaching and adjudication career, and articles about Crowder in Clavier Magazine. Materials are arranged chronologically by date.

Subseries 3.1: Crowder as Adjudicator, Clinician, Teacher, 1960-1974, and Undated

This subseries contains materials related to the Rhode Island International Master Pianist Competition, materials on Crowders piano literature course, a publicity kit, and advertisements for his piano pedagogy seminar.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Piano Rep Course, 1960, and Undatedseries 3.1box 1folder 10
Material for Lectures, Etc., Undatedseries 3.1box 1folder 11
Graduate Assistantships, 1973-1974series 3.1box 1folder 12
Competitions and Seminars, 1973-1974, and Undatedseries 3.1box 1folder 13

Subseries 3.2: Magazine and Newspaper Articles, 1965-1991

This subseries contains articles about Crowder in Clavier Magazine and in The Hartford Times.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Articles About Crowder, 1965-1991series 3.2box 1folder 14

Series 4: Writings, 1899-1998, and Undated (null)

This series contains published writings, unpublished writings, tracings, and sketch books of published writings on relaxation, composers, musicality, and physical issues to pay attention to when playing the piano. Materials in this series are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Subseries 4.1: Sketch Papers of Published Writings, 1959-1974, and Undated

This subseries contains sketch papers of published writings on composers, relaxation, Baroque and contemporary music, and ornamentation.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Articles -- Relaxation, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 1
Baroque Articles, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 2
Articles -- Debussy, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 3
Ornamentation, 1969, and Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 4
Classical Album -- Mozart, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 5
Articles -- Rubato, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 6
Couperin Article, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 7
Time Notation, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 8
Articles -- Beethoven, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 9
Hunter and Herz, 1968, and Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 10
Articles -- Chaminade, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 11
Scarlatti, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 12
Lectures -- George Sand, 1959, and Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 13
20th-Century Article, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 14
Romantic, Undatedseries 4.1box 2folder 15
Articles -- Valldeimosa, 1974series 4.1box 2folder 16
Unknown Notes, and Creative Piano Teaching Article, 1962series 4.1box 2folder 17

Subseries 4.2: Published Writings, 1960-1990, and Undated

This subseries contains published writings from The Piano Teacher and from Clavier. It also contains reference books for Clavier articles. Materials in this subseries are arranged chronologically by subject.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Relaxation Comes of Age, 1960-1961series 4.2box 2folder 18
Articles for "Piano Teacher" -- Practicing, 1965, and Undatedseries 4.2box 2folder 19
Articles -- Bach (Clavier), 1962, and Undatedseries 4.2box 2folder 20
Clavier -- Piano Tone, 1990series 4.2box 2folder 21
Reference Articles for Clavier, 1965-1980series 4.2box 2folder 22
Bibliography for Clavier, 1932-1965, and Undatedseries 4.2box 2folder 23

Subseries 4.3: Commentary, 1899-1984, and Undated

This subseries contains comments that Crowder has made on writings by Amy Fay, Tobias Matthay, Josef Hofmann, and other music writers.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Bie -- History of the Pianoforte -- and Ching and Hofmann--Piano Playing, 1899-1946series 4.3box 3folder 1
Cooke, Amy Fay -- Various Books -- Playing the Piano for Pleasure, 1873-1953series 4.3box 3folder 2
Matthay -- Act of Touch -- "The Visible and Invisible in Pianoforte Technique", 1926-1978, and Undatedseries 4.3box 3folder 3
Ortmann Comments, 1929-1984series 4.3box 3folder 4
Comments -- Schultz, 1936series 4.3box 3folder 5
Vantyn--"Modern Pianoforte Technique" -- Eisenberg--"Natural Techniques in Piano Mastery" -- and Schmitz---"The Capture of Inspiration", 1920-1997series 4.3box 3folder 6

Subseries 4.4: Tracings, Undated

This subseries contains Crowders tracings of various body parts, including the deltoids, bones, shoulders, and phalanges.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Tracings -- Bones, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 7
Tracings -- Deltoid, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 8
Tracings -- Forearms, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 9
Tracings -- Hands, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 10
Tracings -- Phalanges, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 11
Tracings -- Shoulder, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 12
Vibrato Essay, 1904-1932, and Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 13
The Nature of the Problem, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 14
Introductory Chapter -- Unknown Book, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 15
Summary and Comment on the Pianistic Behavior of Muscles, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 16
Anatomy of the Hand -- Earlier Versions, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 17
Anatomy of the Hand -- Preface, 1954series 4.4box 3folder 18
Introductory Chapter -- Why Bother With Anatomy, Undatedseries 4.4box 3folder 19
Preface and Introduction -- Extra Copies, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 1
Introductory Diagrams, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 2
Anatomy of the Hand -- Latest Versions -- Chapters 1 and 2, 1974, and Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 3
Anatomy of the Hand -- Latest Versions -- Bones of the Hand, Muscles of the Hand, 1974, and Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 4
Anatomy -- Pre-Final Copies, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 5
Chapter 1 -- The Dubious Science of Piano Playing, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 6
Chapter 2 -- A Digression Concerning Levers, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 7
Chapter 2 -- The Case for Anatomy -- Former Name?, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 8
Chapter 3 -- Joints and their Characteristics -- Notes and Draft, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 9
Notes/Bibliography -- Chapters 1-3, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 10
Chapter 4 -- A Digression on Muscular Behavior, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 11
Chapter 5 -- Bones of the Hand, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 12
Chapter 5 -- Muscles Operating Through the Fingers -- Old Version/Name?, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 13
Chapter 6 -- Muscles of the Thumb and Little Finger, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 14
Chapter 7 -- Bones of the Shoulder and Arm, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 15
Chapter 8 -- Muscles of the Shoulder and Upper Arm, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 16
Chapter 9 -- Muscles of the Shoulder, Upper Arm, and Forearm, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 17
Part 2 -- Anatomy Related to Piano Technique -- Chapter 11--The Behavior of the Phalanges in Piano Playing--Old Version?, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 18
Part 3 -- Anatomy Related to Piano Technique -- Chapter 10--The Behavior of the Phalanges in Piano Playing, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 19
Notes for Chapter 10, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 20
Introductory Chapter -- Why Bother With Anatomy, 1972, and Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 20
Chapter 11 -- Ailments of the Hands, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 21
Chapter 12 -- Muscular Activity in the Arms, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 22
Chapter 13 -- Behavior of the Phalanges, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 23
Chapter 14? -- Pages 262-272 -- Playing Actions, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 24
Chapter 15 -- Rotation, Undatedseries 4.4box 4folder 25
Bones, Muscles, and Pianos -- Elementary Anatomy for the Pianist -- Excerpts from Some Chapters, Other Chapters Complete, 1998series 4.4box 5folder 1
Bones, Muscles, and Keyboards -- Elementary Anatomy for the Pianist -- Introduction, 1998series 4.4box 5folder 2
Outline of Book on Piano Techniques, 1952, and Undatedseries 4.4box 5folder 3
Reference Books for Anatomy -- Levinskaya and Breithraupt, 1984, and Undatedseries 4.4box 5folder 4
Reference Books for Anatomy -- Miscellaneous, 1934-1978series 4.4box 5folder 5
Bibliography for Anatomy, 1948-1974series 4.4box 5folder 6

Subseries 4.5: Unpublished Writings, 1904-1998, and Undated

This subseries contains copies of Crowders unpublished books on anatomy and piano techniques. It also contains reference books for his unpublished books.

The box inventory for this subseries is not currently available online. Please refer to the subseries description above for a broad description of the materials or contact the department for more information.

Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1931-2000, and Undated (null)

This series contains miscellaneous documents, including recommendation letters, Spanish documentation, reports, resumes, questionnaires, and advertisements. Materials are arranged chronologically by date.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Miscellaneous -- Academic, 1931-1976, and Undated series 5box 5folder 7
Miscellaneous -- Geneaology, Reference, Programs, Etc., 1933-2000, and Undated series 5box 5folder 8
Photo Albums, 1972-1997, and Undated series 5box 5folder 9

Related Material

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.