|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is organized in two series: Correspondence and alumni relations; and Hymnody and professional activities.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains personal correspondence; alumni bulletins, by-laws of the Alumni Association, addresses by faculty, and other materials related to alumni relations; sheet music from congregations Porter performed in with handwritten score notes; and materials related to professional activities including lectures, workshops, and Pilgrim Hymn correspondence.
Burke Library record group:
Union Theological Seminary Archives: UTS 1, papers of faculty and students
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, UTS1: Hugh Porter papers, series #, box #, and folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
The Porter papers were among a large group of unprocessed materials that were organized in 2017 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; materials were rehoused in acid-free folders and archival document boxes, and rusty paperclips were removed and replaced with plastic clips. The finding aid was created by Betty Bolden and Rebecca Nieto in 2017 and edited by Leah Edelman in 2020.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Hugh Porter was an organist and scholar, and a graduate, faculty member, and director of Union Theological Seminary's School of Sacred Music (now at Yale University). He was born on September 18, 1897 in Heron Lake, Minnesota, the son of John Francis and Mary Effie (nee Boring) Porter. Porter married Ethel Flentye on August 20, 1932, and together they had a son, David.
From an early age Porter was musically inclined, earning his Bachelor of Music from Chicago's American Conservatory of Music in 1920. Porter was later a fellow in the Juilliard Foundation from 1923 to 1924 before earning his B.A. from Northwestern University in 1924, his Master of Sacred Music from Union Theological Seminary in 1930 (the School's first graduating class), and later his doctorate in Sacred Music also from Union (1944). Porter held a number of roles during his career at Union. In addition to his lectureship and eventual presidency at the School of Sacred Music, Porter served as Harkness Associate Professor in Sacred Music from 1945 to 1947, and Clarence and Helen Dickinson Professor of Sacred Music beginning in 1947. Porter succeeded Clarence Dickinson as the second Director of the School of Sacred Music from 1945 until his death in 1960. After his death, the Hugh Porter Scholarship was instituted at the Institute for Sacred Music at Yale.
In addition to his academic career in music, Porter served as organist for the Oratorio Society of New York in 1924, organist and choirmaster at the Second Presbyterian Church in New York City from 1930 to 1936, and later in the Reformed Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas from 1936 to 1947. Porter served as the head of the Organ Department at Juilliard Summer School while completing his academic work at Union (1932-1945), also serving as a lecturer in Transposition and Vocal and Orchestral Score Reading in the School of Sacred Music from 1930 to 1945. He additionally served or performed at the following institutions: private student organist under Wilhelm Middelschulte; Student Choral Direction with Albert Stoessel and Clarence Dickinson; Organist, College of Liberal Arts at Northwestern University, 1920-1923; Calvary Episcopal Church (NYC), 1925-1928; Church of the Heavenly Rest (NYC), 1929-1930; American Conservatory of Music, 1919-1922; David Mannes Museum School, 1925-1928; New York University (also Faculty in music theory), 1925-1928; Soloist, Library of Congress, 1931; Town Hall recitals (NYC), 1930; Kimball Hall (Chicago), 1928; American Guild of Organists (Boston), 1937.