University of Arizona

Papers of Helen Hopekirk

Papers of Helen Hopekirk

 

Helen Hopekirk (May 20, 1856-November 19, 1945) was a concert pianist, composer and teacher who was born in Scotland. She studied with many well-known artists, including Karl Muck, who later conducted the Boston Symphony, as well as American composer George Whitefield Chadwick. In 1882 Hopekirk married William A. Wilson, who became her manager. Hopekirk traveled throughout Europe, and made her American debut in 1883 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. One of Hopekirk's most notable works is her edition of Seventy Scottish Songs (1905), which reflects her interest in folk material. She became an American citizen in 1918, and made her last public appearance in 1939 in Boston.

This collection consists primarily of approximately 250 letters received by Hopekirk from a variety of friends and admirers. Most of the letters are in English, some are in French or German. Among these letters are a number of letters from artists Hopekirk studied with, including American composer George Whitefield Chadwick, and E.F. Richter. Many of the letters are regarding Hopekirk's compositions, performances and rehearsals, as well as her travels in Europe and the United States. Included is a letter from Booker T. Washington, in which he thanks her for the books she sent to the Tuskegee Institute.

Also within the collection is a folder of miscellaneous materials. These materials included; press notices, invitations, a performance program, and a certificate from the Library of Congress regarding the donation of autographed scores.