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The Parker Bailey Papers

Call Number: MSS 34

Scope and Contents

The Parker Bailey Papers contain sketches, manuscript scores, and published editions of Bailey's musical compositions, including keyboard pieces, chamber music, songs, and choral works. Bailey's life and work are also documented by: correspondence; literary writings; programs; newspaper clippings; photographs; and miscellaneous items.


  • 1899-1977 (inclusive)


Language of Materials

Materials chiefly in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Papers are open to researchers by appointment. There are no restricted materials in the collection. Please contact the Special Collections staff to schedule an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

The Parker Bailey Papers are the physical property of the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University. Copyrights belong to the composers and authors, or their legal heirs and assigns.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Parker Bailey Papers were established in the Music Library of Yale University by Bailey in 1980.


In 10 series as follows: I. Personal correspondence. II. Business correspondence. III. Contracts, royalty statements, and certificates. IV. Literary writings. V. Miscellaneous jottings and papers. VI. Programs. VII. Newspaper clippings. VIII. Miscellaneous bulletins, reports, and brochures. IX. Photographs and pictures. X. Musical works.


2.9 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Music, correspondence and other writings, photographs, and additional materials by and about the American composer, pianist, and lawyer Parker Bailey (1902-1982).

Biographical / Historical

The composer, pianist, and lawyer Parker Bailey was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 1, 1902. His early years were spent in Telluride, Colorado, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco.

In 1919 Bailey came to Yale to study composition with his uncle Horatio Parker, the Dean of the Yale School of Music, but Parker died that same year. Bailey studied instead with David Stanley Smith, receiving the B.A. in 1923. He continued his education at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Quincy Porter and Roger Sessions.

In 1931 Bailey entered Cornell Law School, but during summer vacations he continued to devote himself to music. Friendships with organists led him to write frequently for the organ. He composed the Variations Symphoniques for organ for Arthur Quimby, who performed it at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1930. (It was not published until 1937.) Toccata-Ricercata-Finale for organ was written for Edward Arthur Kraft and first performed by him in 1933 in Cleveland. The H.W. Gray Company published it in 1958. Bailey's arrangement of his Toccata-Ricercata-Finale for two pianos was first performed in New Haven in 1935 or 1936 by Bruce and Rosalind Simonds.

After receiving the LL.B. degree from Cornell in 1934, Bailey found a job with the Joseph Robinson Truesdale Firm in New York. In 1937 he moved to the New York Law Revision Commission. Two years later, he joined the legal staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C.

Bailey's growing legal responsibilities did not prevent him from remaining active in music. He later wrote, "The 2-piano texture has always interested me, and in Cleveland I occasionally operated one piano with Arthur Loesser at the other. When I started work in the General Counsel's office of the S.E.C. in Washington in the fall of 1939, I was for the first extended stretch in my career equipped not with one but with no piano." Despite the problems created by the absence of the "88-note device," Bailey composed nonetheless. "The evolving piece was a prelude and fugue on the chorale 'Wachet Auf,'" Bailey explained. "I thought of the fugue subject on a railroad coach rolling from Washington to Brooklyn late in 1939. By that time I had found out that my general overlord, Chester T. Lane, who was General Counsel of the S.E.C., was an avid reader of two-piano music. By the summer of 1940 Beryl Rubinstein and Arthur Loesser were practicing [the prelude and fugue] in Cleveland, and in October they included it in their Town Hall recital in New York."

Bailey remained with the SEC in Washington until 1942, at which time he returned to New York and began work with Davis, Polk, & Wardwell Attorneys. His association with this firm continued to his retirement in 1971. He died in 1982.
The Parker Bailey Papers
Edited Full Draft
Compiled by Ellen Crutchfield and Patricia Prunty
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Music Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Gilmore Music Library Repository

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