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Using the Collection
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Series V: Chronological Records, 1940-1999
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in eight series. Records for 1940-1999 were primarily maintained in one chronological set: these can be found in Series V: Chronological Records. After 1999, files for Meeting Minutes (Series II) and the Ditson Conductor's Award (Series IV) are arranged as separate sets of records. The other series (Series I, III, and VI) contain various general files and subject files, and Series VII contains comprehensive overviews on allocations and the Ditson Fund itself.
Scope and Content
The Alice M. Ditson Fund was established at Columbia University in 1940 and is still active in its primary function of providing financial support to composers, performances, and recordings of contemporary American music. The fund also gives out the annual Ditson Conductor's Award, established in 1945, which honors conductors who have a distinguished record of championing American music. The collection includes files regarding the selection of this prize across several decades, as well as financial records, meeting minutes, applicant files, and subject files for the general Fund since its creation.
The strength of the collection is the documentation of the Fund's activities through general operating and financial records and meeting minutes.
The collection also documents the activities of the Ditson Conductor's Award for the years 1948 to 2008, including correspondence, clippings, photos, and financial records related to the selection process.
Researchers looking at early administrative records of the Fund should look at additional records held by the Columbia University Archives. In particular, there are administrative records held in files related to Douglas Moore and Jack Beeson in the Office of the President (Central Files) records that would be of interest for 1940-1967. Additional material is filed in the Historical Subject Files.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Folders with sensitive personal information are restricted.
Unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Alice M. Ditson Fund records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material-- at Columbia
Audio materials originally recorded under the auspices of The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University were digitized in 2006. They are linked in series VIII below, and are also available onsite in the music library. CLIO records for individual recordings can be found with the search string "Ditson Fund Recordings Archive". The original physical recording media are managed by RBML as the "Ditson Music Deposit", and may only be accessed by PRD. For more information about the recordings, see https://library.columbia.edu/locations/music/ditson.html.
Office of the President (Central Files), Columbia University Archives.
Historical Subject Files, Columbia University Archives.
Jack Beeson Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
2011-2012-M021: Method of acquisition--Gift, Purchase, etc; Date of acquisition--2011.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Records processed by Emily Clark (GSAS) in 2015 (Series I-IV: Boxes 1-34). Additional records (Series V-VII: Boxes 35-57) were processed by Emily Hawk (GSAS) in 2019.
Finding aid written by Emily Clark (GSAS) in 2015, and updated by Emily Hawk (GSAS) in 2019.
2015-02-25 File created.
2015-03-04 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2019-02-20 XML document updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2020-04-04 Links to digitized audio added. kws
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Ditson Fund was established at Columbia University in 1940, with a bequest of $400,000 from Alice M. Ditson, the widow of music publisher Oliver Ditson. Mrs. Ditson's will stipulated that income from the bequest be used for non-academic fellowships, public concerts, and publications in support of music. The initial Advisory Committee appointed by Mrs. Ditson directed her intentions toward contemporary music. The Ditson Fund has continued this focus, with emphasis on funding of performances and recordings of music by emerging American composers. In 1945, the Ditson Conductor's Award was established, and is the oldest continuing award honoring conductors for distinguished contributions to American music. The Conductor's Award honors conductors who have a distinguished record of performing and championing contemporary American music. The Ditson Fund has awarded over 2,000 grants since its founding in 1940.
The Fund maintains two separate grant programs: Organizational Support, and Recording Projects. The Organizational Support program supports performing organizations, institutions, summer festivals and conferences whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appreciation of works by younger and relatively unknown living American composers of classical concert music. The Recording Projects program aims to document and provide wider exposure for the music of younger and relatively unknown living American composers.