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At a Glance
This colelction is arranged in two series.
Scope and Content
The George Antheil Papers consists primarily of correspondence with a small amount of documents including music scores. Formerly cataloged individuals are listed below. Please note that there is not necessarily correspondence from or to the listed individuals. In some cases, there is only a signature.
Adrian, Gilbert; Antheil, George; Balanchine, George; Bates, Peggy; Bing, Sir Rudolf; Bloach, Ernest; Boulanger, Nadia; Bowles, Paul; Brandt, Carl; Britten, Benjamin; Bullitt, William C.; Buñel, Luis; Cage, John; Calder, Alexander; Cocteau, Jean; Copland, Aaron; Cowell, Henry; Cravath, Paul D.; Dali, Salvador; Dallapiccola, Luigi; Davies, Joseph; DeMille, Cecil B.; Dorati, Antal; Erskine, John; Ferrer, José; Fiedler, Arthur; Germain, André; Gershwin, George; Goldovsky, Boris; Golschmann, Vladimir; Goossens, Eugene; Grainger, Percy A.; Hanson, Howard; Heap, Jane; Hecht, Ben; Hemingway, Ernest; Hindemith, Paul; Hoover, J. Edgar; Hopper, Hedda; Hotchner, Aaron Edward; Huebsch, Ben W.; Hutcheson, Ernest; Jeritza, Maria; Joyce, James; Kahn, Otto; Kierstein, Lincoln; Knight, Eric M.; Kostelanetz, Andre; Koussevitzky, Serge; Kramer, Stanley; Krenek, Ernest; Lambert, Constant; Léger, Fernand; Leinsdorf, Erich; Lenya, Lotte; Léon, Paul; Lewis, Wyndham; Lieberson, Goddard; Lin, Yutang; Luening, Otto; MacLeish, Archibald; Malko, Nicolai; Michonze; Milhaud, Darius; Miró, Joan; Monotti, Francesco; Mitropoulos, Dimitri; Monteux, Pierre; Moore, Douglas; Norris, Charles G.; Ormandy, Eugene; O'Sullivan, John; Picasso, Pablo; Post, Marjorie Merriweather; Putnam, George P.; Reed, Ruth; Reiner, Fritz; Reiter, Max; Rhee, Syngman; Riegger, Wallingford; Schnitzler, Arthur; Selznick, David O.; Sessions, Roger; Sternberg, Constantin von; Stoessel, Albert F.; Stokowski, Leopold; Stravinski, Igor; Szell, George; Tanner, Allen; Taylor, Deems; Thompson, Randall; Van Vechter, Carl; Wallenstein, Alfred F.; Weaver, Harriet Shaw; Weill, Kurt; Winchell, Walter
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
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.
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.
Unpublished music may not be photocopied without permission. Authorization to perform the music of George Antheil must be obtained from Music Sales Corporation, 225 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003. Phone (212) 254 2100.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); George Antheil papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Donation by Peter Antheil, 1984.
Purchase from Peter Antheil, 1990.
Gift of Mrs. Mira Gerstmann, 1989.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Processed RE/BC 04/01/1988.
Collection of 78 letters, postcards and notes from famous friends of George Antheil Processed MJT 04/02/1990.
Papers Reprocessed Lea Osborne 2010/07/27.
Papers Processed HR 10/29/1991.
Collection was part of AMI digitization, 2021. It was noted that the collection contains 2 cassettes in Box 6, but no cassette was found within the collection.
2009-07-07 File created.
2010-07-27 xml document instance created by Lea Osborne
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
George Antheil was born on July 8, 1900 in Trenton, New Jersey. His parents were Henry William and Wilhelmine Huse Antheil. Although Antheil claimed to be of Polish descent, he was actually German and grew up speaking both German and English. He attended Trenton Central High School, but there is no indication that he graduated. Antheil studied piano lessons at an early age and in 1919 began to study with Constantin Ivanovich Edler von Sternberg at the Sternberg School of Music. He also briefly studied piano at the Settlement Music School. In his autobiography, Bad Boy of Music, Antheil claimed to have been a student alternately at the Curtis Institute of Music and what he refers to as the "Curtis Settlement School" which did not exist. Both of these statements were untrue.
Antheil traveled around Europe as a concert pianist playing "modern music" as well as his own compositions. Antheil became friends with many of the important intellectuals of that time, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound. During this time, and for quite a few years after, Antheil was financially subsidized by Mary Louise Curtis Bok (who founded the Curtis Institute of Music). While in Europe, Antheil met a student named Böski Marcus from Hungary. They married in 1925. Antheil's best known piece during the 1920s was a composition entitled Ballet Mécanique scored for piano and percussion. The American premiere of this piece was deemed a failure and Antheil's reputation was never the same.
In the 1930s, Antheil moved to California and concentrated on writing film scores for such directors as Man Ray and Cecil B. DeMille. He continued to compose symphonies during this time. His 1953 opera, Volpone, opened to mixed reviews, but Antheil continued to write.
In addition to composing, George Antheil was interested in writing in general. He was a music critic, contributed columns to Esqure and other periodicals, and wrote two detective novels based on his hobby of studying glandular endocrinology. His autobiography, Bad Boy of Music, was a bestseller. Antheil is also credited to co-inventing (with Hedy Lamarr) a torpedo guidance system.
George Antheil died of a heart attack in 1959.