Lewis Richards papers
Scope and Contents
The Lewis Richards collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, musical programs, legal documents, and other items primarily involving the musical career of Lewis Richards.
The correspondence is arranged chronologically. Most notable among the correspondence is Queen Mary's secretary stating payment for the Queen's purchase of two cushions at an exhibition of Belgian Lace supporting the Belgium Relief Commission. Also included is correspondence from President Herbert Hoover thanking Lewis for a performance at the White House, and a second letter extending sympathy to Mrs. Richards at the death of her husband in 1940. Correspondence from Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) Presidents Shaw and Hannah is also included in the collection. The bulk of the correspondence deals with family matters.
Also in the collection are many newspaper clippings announcing Richards' recitals throughout the United States, and a collection of obituary notices after his death in 1940.
The four scrapbooks in the collection provide a detailed account of Richards' activities on tour and at Michigan State College. The first scrapbook contains newspaper clippings announcing his performances and critiques of his playing ability in the United States and in Europe. The second scrapbook contains clippings from local newspapers about campus life during Richards' years at the college. The third scrapbook contains newspaper clippings about his recitals. The fourth scrapbook, given to Richards by the Department of Publications at Michigan State College, contains newspaper clippings pertaining to the new MSC music building and dedication festivities.
Several programs from Richards’ recitals are also included within the collection, from Carnegie Hall to the MSC Concert Course at the People's Church in East Lansing. Also in the collection is an issue of the Bulletin containing an announcement of artists for the 1929 season at Steinway Hall, listing Lewis Richards as harpsichordist. MSC publications within the collection include the 1931 MSC Music Department catalog with short biographies of music faculty.
The collection also contains legal documents involving royalties for a musical composition and the monetary valuation of the estate of Lewis and Berthe Richards.
The Arthur and Gertrude Farwell papers in the collection contain a nativity ceremonial by Gertrude and a music composition by Arthur, head of theoretical subjects at the MSC music department.
- 1855 - 1965
- Richards, Lewis (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.
Lewis Richards was born April 11, 1881, the son of Reverend Jonathan and Huldah Richards, in St. Johns, Michigan. After attending school in Ann Arbor, he studied music at the University of Michigan Conservatory and then continued his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium. Richards graduated with distinction in piano from the Royal Conservatory, the first American to do so.
Richards married Berthe Smedt, a native of Belgium, on July 11, 1908, and they had two children, Elsa Loomis and Roger Lewis. Also in 1908, Richards began his professional music career, touring Europe and America. In America Richards played at the White House, Steinway Hall, Carnegie Hall, Aeolian, and many others.
Richards took a hiatus from touring during World War I to become General Secretary (later Director) of the London Office of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, under Herbert Hoover's Food Administration. Richards was awarded the Médaille la Reconnaissance Française in 1919 for his efforts.
After living abroad, Lewis Richards and his family returned to Michigan. In 1927 he became head of the Music Department at Michigan State College (now Michigan State University). He was not only instrumental in expanding the music program, but also in the planning of the modern music building on the Michigan State College campus built in 1939.
Richards was a member of several professional organizations: the Capet String Quartet, Société des Instruments Anciens of Paris, Beethoven Association of New York, Alpha Epsilon Mu, Phi Mu Alpha, Association of American University Professors, and Kappa Sigma.
2 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Property Rights: Michigan State University.
- Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
- Commission for Relief in Belgium
- International relief
- Letters (correspondence)
- Michigan State University. School of Music
- Music -- Instruction and study
- Music -- Performance
- Press releases
- Richards, Elsa Loomis
- Richards, Roger
- Sound recordings
- World War, 1914-1918
- World War, 1914-1918 -- Belgium
- World War, 1914-1918 -- Civilian relief
- Lewis Richards Papers
- 4 Published And Cataloged
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.