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The David Stanley Smith Papers

Call Number: MSS 31

Scope and Contents

The David Stanley Smith Papers include sketches, manuscript scores, and printed editions of Smith's musical compositions, including orchestral music, keyboard works, chamber pieces, songs, and choral music. Smith's life and work are also documented by: correspondence; programs; photographs; clippings and biographical materials; and miscellaneous items.


  • 1889-1958 (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 David Stanley Smith 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 David Stanley Smith Papers were established in the Music Library of Yale University by Cora Welch Smith in 1950. Miscellaneous additional material was given to the Library in 1977 by Smith's son, Christopher S. Smith.


In 8 series as follows: I. Music. II. Correspondence. III. Clippings. IV. Programs. V. Photographs. VI. Works by and about David Stanley Smith. VII. Royalty statements and agreements. VIII. Memorabilia.


21 Linear Feet (40 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Music, correspondence and other papers, photographs, and additional materials by and about the American composer, conductor, and educator David Stanley Smith (1877-1949)

Biographical / Historical

David Stanley Smith was born in Toledo, Ohio, on July 6, 1877. He grew up in a musical household, and by the age of fifteen he had found employment as a church organist. In 1895 he went to Yale, where Charles Ives (Class of 1898) was numbered among his friends; he would later serve as the organist at Center Church in New Haven, a position formerly held by Ives. Smith was an outstanding student, and he became the protégé of Professor Horatio Parker. Smith's graduation ceremony in 1900 featured a performance of his Ode for Commencement Day, conducted by Parker. After college, Smith traveled throughout Europe, where he took lessons with Ludwig Thuille and Charles-Marie Widor.

In 1903 Smith returned to Yale as an instructor in music theory. He would remain a member the Yale faculty until his retirement in 1946. Horatio Parker died in 1919, and the next year Smith succeeded him as Dean of the School of Music, a post he would hold until 1940. Again following in Parker's footsteps, he also became the conductor of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

Despite his duties as a teacher, administrator, and conductor, Smith was able to compose a substantial amount of music, including one opera, Merrymount, five symphonies, ten string quartets, many sacred works, and a variety of other compositions.

Smith married Cora Deming Welch in 1913. They had one son, Christopher Stanley Smith.

David Stanley Smith died in New Haven on December 17, 1949.

Register to The David Stanley Smith Papers
Edited Full Draft
Compiled by Adrienne Nesnow
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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