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RG 30/18 - Karl Wilson Gehrkens (1882-1975)
Scope and Content

The papers of Karl Wilson Gehrkens consist mainly of Gehrkens’s published and unpublished essays, articles, and addresses on the philosophy of music education, composed between 1914 and 1967. This collection includes one of Gehrkens’s published works, Essentials in Conducting (1919). In addition, the Department of Special Collections in the Oberlin College Library holds a complete set of Gehrkens’s publications.

Files also include correspondence of a routine nature with Oberlin Secretaries Donald M. Love (1894-1974) and J. Robert Williams (b. 1916). Miscellaneous biographical materials include tributes from various music education groups and college officials. Additional biographical information is included in Gehrkens’s student and staff files, housed in the Oberlin College Archives.

The collection also contains thirteen mounted photographs of Shurtleff Cottage and Stewart Hall taken by Gehrkens while he was a student at Oberlin between 1900 and 1905.

Series Descriptions

Series I. Biographical Material, 1923-62, 1975

Excerpts of magazine tributes, newspaper articles (photocopies), obituaries, and other miscellaneous printed material of a biographical nature. Arranged chronologically. A separate folder is devoted to biographical material of Gehrkens collected by Dr. Joseph Hofrichter.

Series II. Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1941-67

Correspondence between Karl Gehrkens and officials of Oberlin College, including originals and file copies. Arranged chronologically.

Series III. Writings, 1914-67, n.d.

Published and unpublished articles, talks, and booklets. Arranged chronologically. Separate folders are devoted to Gehrkens’s writings collected by Dr. Joseph Hofrichter and to Gehrkens’s book Essentials in Conducting (1919).

Series IV. Photographs, ca. 1900-05

Mounted photographs, arranged alphabetically by subject.

Gehrkens’s writings were received in the Archives in 1968, 1998, and 2002, and the photographs were received in 1986.
Related Materials
Consult Gehrkens’s student file (28) for further biographical information. For material relating to the division of Music Education at the Conservatory of Music, consult Record Group 10. As noted above, consult the holdings of the Special Collections Department of the Oberlin College Library for publications of Karl Gehrkens. The library also holds copies of the music periodicals he edited. Frank Torbet Lendrim’s Music For Every Child: the Story of Karl Wilson Gehrkens (Ann Arbor, 1961) is available in the Special Collections Department of Oberlin College Library and in the library of the Conservatory of Music.Material relating to the Oberlin Public Schools, in which Lendrim taught, is located in Record Group 31, Records of the Oberlin Community.
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