You may know from an earlier blog post, that here in the Archives & Special Collections we are conducting a shelf-by-shelf review of our collections. This has prompted us to look through collections that do not get the most consistent use or that we aren’t as familiar with. Recently, I surveyed the William P. Bigelow (AC 1889) Papers, a small collection of personal and professional papers of an Amherst College alumnus and professor.
William P. Bigelow was born in 1867 and was a lifetime native of Amherst. While a student, Bigelow was active in the Amherst College Glee Club and other musical organizations on campus before graduating in 1889. He went on to study music in Germany, France, and England before returning as Amherst College’s first instructor in music. Bigelow became a full professor of music in 1906 and founded the Music Department at Amherst. Professor Bigelow compiled and edited Amherst College Songs, published in 1926.
Bigelow and Jane Ball were married in 1909 and settled in Amherst. William P. Bigelow taught at the College until his retirement in 1935. He died in 1941.
This collection contains materials documenting the professional and personal life of Professor William P. Bigelow including correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, partial memoirs, translation work, music programs, and essays. The papers include correspondence between Bigelow and his family, members of the Amherst College faculty, and professional acquaintances. The collection also contains some material relating to Jane Ball Bigelow.
While small in scope, this collection does give insight into the professor largely responsible for advocating for and founding the Music Department at Amherst. The William P. Bigelow (AC 1889) Papers can be accessed in the Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.