Cultural Ambassador

Privately and through her foundation, Coolidge subsidized chamber music performances around the country and abroad. She often spent winters in California, and both Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area especially benefitted from her largesse. In 1937, Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) was teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles. Coolidge sponsored a series of concerts there featuring the renowned Kolisch Quartet playing Beethoven and Schoenberg, whose third and fourth string quartets were Coolidge commissions. She studied composition with Domenico Brescia (1866–1939) at Mills College and could be heard in concert as pianist in her own chamber music works.

Beethoven-Schoenberg cycle, four concerts by the Kolisch Quartet. Program, July 22, 23, 29, 30, 1937. Coolidge Foundation Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (031.00.00)

Bookmark this item: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/exhibits/elizabeth-sprague-coolidge-chamber-music/cultural-ambassador.html#obj031

Coolidge Performs at Mills College

Pro Arte Quartet with Coolidge at Mills College. Program, February 18, 1938. Coolidge Foundation Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (033.00.00)

Bookmark this item: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/exhibits/elizabeth-sprague-coolidge-chamber-music/cultural-ambassador.html#obj033

Arnold Schoenberg’s String Quartet no. 4, op. 37

Arnold Schoenberg, String Quartet no. 4, op. 37. Music manuscript, 1936. Coolidge Foundation Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (032.00.00)

Bookmark this item: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/exhibits/elizabeth-sprague-coolidge-chamber-music/cultural-ambassador.html#obj032

Motoring with Musicians

Coolidge enjoying “motoring” with members of the Pro Arte Quartet, Alphonse Onnou, first violinist, on her left, and Germain Prévost, violist, on her right. Coolidge Foundation Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (034.00.00)

Bookmark this item: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/exhibits/elizabeth-sprague-coolidge-chamber-music/cultural-ambassador.html#obj034

A Great Dame

In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow the renowned contralto Marian Anderson (1897–1993) to perform in Washington D.C.’s Constitution Hall because of her race. Coolidge, who was a Colonial Dame herself, voiced strong opposition to this injustice. She offered both her name and support to Marian Anderson’s now iconic performance at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939.

Program of Marian Anderson’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial, 1939. Coolidge Foundation Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (035.00.00)

Bookmark this item: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/exhibits/elizabeth-sprague-coolidge-chamber-music/cultural-ambassador.html#obj35

Back to top