Papers of the Fay family, 1800-1967
Correspondence between Amy Fay, pianist and first president of the Women's Philharmonic Society of New York, actress Amy Fay Stone, and pianist Margaret Stone Wright.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. The bulk of the collection is open for research.
Correspondence between Margaret Garrard Stone Wright and Austin Tappan Wright (#81-127), requires the written permission of Benjamin T. Wright.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Fay family is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Extent5.21 linear feet ((12 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 4 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder)
The Fay family papers consist mainly of the personal correspondence of Amy Fay, a pianist and the first president of the Women's Philharmonic Society of New York, and of her two nieces, the actress Amy Fay Stone and her sister, Margaret Stone Wright. Additional material received 1990 and 1996 (accession numbers: 90-M85, 96-M100) were added to the collection in March 2017. These materials are housed in #129-169.
SERIES I, AMY FAY, 1859-1922 (#1-24), consists of letters written by Amy Fay to her family, especially her sisters. Included are the "German letters" collected and published by her sister, Melusina Fay Peirce, as Music Study in Germany (1880, re-issued in 1965). Amy Fay recorded events of daily life: German eating habits, the celebration of Christmas, her travels, especially to Dresden and Weimar. She described numerous concerts (Wagner at the podium, Clara Schumann at the piano, Joachim playing the violin) and the rigorous schedule she followed to develop her brilliant piano technique. The later letters, written after her studies in Germany, describe sights and events encountered in her travels and numerous musical events, both in the U.S. and abroad; for example, a performance of Manon conducted by Paderewski, who appears in the letters frequently, as both a musician and a friend. A postcard written by him to Amy Fay is also included (#14).
SERIES II, AMY FAY STONE, 1800-1956 (#25v-80), consists of the papers of Amy Fay Stone: her diaries (1900-1914), photographs, and correspondence, mainly to her mother, about life in New York and on the road. There are also letters to Amy Fay Stone from John Williams and Minnie Maddern Fiske, and letters to John Williams from well-known writers. Together these letters provide information on theatrical life in New York in the 1910s and 20s, and on life in the tuberculosis treatment center at Saranac Lake, New York.
SERIES III, MARGARET GARRAD (STONE) WRIGHT AND AUSTIN TAPPAN WRIGHT, 1910-1919 (#81-127), consists mainly of the courtship correspondence (1910-1912) between Margaret Stone Wright and Austin Tappan Wright, and includes some photographs. Many letters includes discussions of literature read, including Charles Dickens and Baudelaire, and of the travels of Wright with her parents and sister, Amy Fay, to England, France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, and Germany. Many of the letters had been preserved in scrapbooks; they were removed by the processor and arranged by writer and then chronologically. Access to this series requires the written permission of Benjamin T. Wright.
SERIES IV, ADDENDA, 1834-1967 (#129-169), consists of correspondence: estate appraisals and inventories; a diary; genealogical material, etc. The bulk of the series is comprised of correspondence (mainly outgoing) of Margaret Garrad (Stone) Wright. Early correspondence includes letters from Wright to her father William E. Stone describing her journey to France and Belgium and time spent with her mother and sister, where the girls were enrolled in a private school to study French (1901-1903). Correspondence with Wright's mother, Katherine Fay Stone, discusses social life in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Berkeley, California; domestic duties; difficulties in maintaining servants; several European trips; family news; etc. Other correspondence belonging to Wright includes letters written to her daughter, Sylvia Wright Mitarachi, documenting Wright's work at the Buckingham and Nichols School; happenings in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Mitarachi's time at Bryn Mawr, etc. Other material belonging to Margaret Garrad (Stone) Wright consists of an autograph book; a short children's story written by Wright; a diary (1912) documenting her courtship with and marriage to Austin Tappan Wright and her daily activities; an inventory of weddings gifts; and French exercises and compositions completed while studying French in Belgium and France (1902). Genealogical materials consist of annual reports of the Hopkinsfolk Association, a group of descendants of Reverend John Henry Hopkins (first bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Vermont). The group met each year for a reunion and published an annual report that included reports from descendants unable to attend the reunion, obituaries of deceased members, notices of births and marriages, descriptions of the events, financial reports, lists of officers, etc. Several other pamphlets are included that document the golden wedding anniversary of Hopkins and his wife and genealogical notes regarding the Stone family. Other material in the series consists of pamphlets of concerts and appearances by composer Jerome Hopkins, as well as a photograph; a manuscript book of poems and a sketch by Charlotte Emily Fay; estate appraisals and inventories of the estates of Amy Fay Stone, Katherine Fay Stone, William E. Stone, Rose Fay Thomas, and Margaret Garrad (Stone) Wright; and a patent for a dwelling block designed by Melusina Fay Peirce. Material was received loose in boxes. Folder titles were created by the archivist. The series is arranged alphabetically by individual or family name.
Born in 1844 in Bayou Goula, Louisiana, Amy Fay was the third of six daughters and the fifth of nine children of the Reverend Charles Fay and Emily (Hopkins) Fay of Louisiana and St. Albans, Vermont. She studied piano under Professor John Knowles Paine of Harvard and at the New England Conservatory of Music. From 1869 to 1875, she continued her lessons in Germany, where she studied with some of the most prominent teachers of Europe: pianists Tausig, Kullak, Liszt, and Deppe. Deppe's technique for piano study revolutionized Amy Fay's playing and served as the method she herself was to use for her students in the years to come. On returning to Boston, Amy Fay became well known for her piano "conversations" (recitals preceded by short lectures). She moved to Chicago and New York, where she was associated with the Women's Philharmonic Society of New York. She died in 1928.
Amy (Amie) Fay Stone, daughter of Amy Fay's sister, Katherine Maria (Fay), and of William Eben Stone, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 13, 1888. She was a special student at Radcliffe College in 1908-1911. Amy Fay Stone began her career as an actress at the Castle Square Stock Company in Cambridge, using the stage name of Anne Faystone. She traveled with Minnie Maddern Fiske's company and later with John Drew and other contemporary stars. Although her father did not consider the stage respectable, her earnings from the theater were supplemented with an allowance from her family throughout the early years and on and off throughout her life. In 1915, she met John D. Williams, a producer and director; her friend and lover for years, he introduced her to the literary and fashionable society of New York. Her efforts to establish herself as an actress were interrupted by bouts of tuberculosis in 1916 and again in 1925. Amy Fay Stone died at Fisher's Island, New York, on July 13, 1953.
Margaret ("Margot") Garrad (Stone) Wright, sister of Amy Fay Stone and mother of Sylvia (Wright) Mitarachi, was born on July 19, 1886. She attended the Buckingham School in Cambridge, took courses at Radcliffe College, studied French in Paris and Brussels, and was trained as a pianist. On November 14, 1912, she married a neighbor, Austin Tappan Wright, a Harvard Law School graduate who later taught at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania. After Austin Tappan Wright's death in an automobile accident in 1931, Margaret Stone Wright returned to Cambridge with her four children and worked as a secretary at the Browne and Nichols Lower School (now Buckingham, Brown, and Nichols); during this time she typed the manuscript of Austin Tappan Wright's novel, Islandia (New York and Toronto, 1942). She died in England on September 1, 1937.
The collection is arranged in four series:
- Series I. Amy Fay, 1859-1922 (#1-24)
- Series II. Amy Fay Stone, 1800-1956 (#25v-80)
- Series III. Margaret Garrad (Stone) Wright and Austin Tappan Wright, 1910-1919 (#81-127)
- Series IV. Addenda, 1834-1967 (#129-169)
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: 78-M105, 80-M150, 81-M26, 81-M126. Accession numbers 90-M85, 96-M100 were added to the collection in September 2016.
The papers of the Fay family were given to the Schlesinger Library in July 1978 by Sylvia Wright Mitarachi and Rosamund Jackson Ellis, and between August 1980 and July 1996 by Paul Mitarachi.
- Box 1: 1-15
- Box 2: 16-27v
- Box 3: 28v-36v
- Box 4: 37v-43v
- Box 5: 44v-57
- Box 6: 58-74
- Box 7: 75-89
- Box 8: 90-103
- Box 9: 104-118
- Box 10: 119-136
- Box 11: 137-152
- Box 12: 153-165
- Box 13: 166-169
Preliminary inventory: February 1984
By: Bert Hartry, Adelaide Kennedy, Jane Knowles
Updated and additional material added: March 2017
By: Mark Vassar
- Cambridge (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Germany--Social life and customs
- Liszt, Franz, 1811-1886
- Music--Instruction and study
- New York (N.Y.)--Social life and customs
- Paderewski, Ignace Jan, 1860-1941
- Theater--New York (State)--New York
- Tuberculosis--New York (State)--Treatment
- Women in the theater
- Women musicians
- Women's Philharmonic Society of New York
- Fay family. Papers of the Fay family, 1800-1967: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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