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Guide to the Emma Thursby Papers
1706-1942 (Bulk 1860-1940)
  MS 2530

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 05, 2022
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The Emma Thursby Papers consist of material relating to the life and singing career of Emma Cecilia Thursby, as well as the lives of members of her extended family. Included are letters, telegrams, postcards, address books, diaries, engagement books, autographs, calling cards; financial materials including receipts, bills, checkbook stubs, letters of credit; legal papers such as contracts, wills, indentures, and deeds; poetry, programs, periodical clippings, passports, notes, and a few photographs. The collection effectively documents the financial and career dealings of a renowned concert singer in the late nineteenth century. Emma Thursby traveled to many European countries, as well as to Japan and China, both for her career and for pleasure, and most of these trips are well documented. In addition, the many family letters included show the close family network of siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins that nurtured Emma Thursby.

The bulk of the collection is composed of the Correspondence and the Subjects series. Letters from Ina Thursby to other family members from her travels with Emma provide detailed information on Emma's concert dates, performances, travel, and voice study. The Subjects series highlights Emma's interests after her own singing career had ended such as Eastern religious philosophies or the salons she held every Friday. Specific information about legal and financial aspects of Emma Thursby's career can be found in the Financial or Legal series, but neither of these aspects is as complete a document of her experience as can be found through correspondence.


The Emma Thursby papers have been organized into the following series:

Series I: Correspondence (1839-1940)

Series II: Financial Papers (1706-1919)

Series III: Legal Papers (1788-1903)

Series IV: Address Books, Diaries, Engagement Books (1868-1929)

Series V: Awards, Ephemera, Notes (1850-1936)

Series VI: Subject and Biographical Information (1879-1937)

Series VII: Autographs (undated)

Series VIII: Master Recordings of the Emma Thursby Musicale (1940)

Series IX. Press Clippings and Other Print Matter (1859-1942)

Within each series, the material is arranged either alphabetically or chronologically.