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Susan Metcalfe Letters

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 0246

Scope and Contents

The Susan Metcalfe Letters date from 1902-1922. The collection consists mainly of correspondence with a few other miscellaneous documents. The letters begin about five years after Metcalfe's performance debut and continue through her early relationship with Pablo Casals and their marriage in 1914. The later years of the collection document the beginning of Casals' and Metcalfe's troubled marriage.

Letters To/From Pablo Casals This portion of the collection begins with a letter that Pablo Casals wrote to Susan Metcalfe soon after their first meeting in 1904. The collection includes several letters from this early period in their relationship. The next letters date from their re-acquaintance in 1914, including the period just before and immediately after their marriage. In many of the letters, Casals discusses his feelings for Metcalfe and their relationship. Some of the later letters in the collection also address the marital problems the couple began to experience soon after their marriage. In addition, the letters document a variety of details about Casals' concert tours. He writes about his travel plans, honors he received, and his health, as well as specific information about his rehearsals and concerts. Casals also mentions many other musicians he encounters while on tour, including Dohnonyi, Siloti, Cortot, Joachim, Horszowski, and Moor.

The Pablo Casals letters are written in French, but Folder 1 provides English summaries of each, including some translated direct quotations.

Letters From Lydia Emmet These letters from Metcalfe's friend, Lydia Emmet, discuss her relationship with Metcalfe, social news from Massachusetts and New York, and Emmet's own travel plans. They are written in English.

Miscellaneous Correspondence This part of the collection includes a variety of correspondence. Some letters discuss personal matters, such as a letter from Susan Metcalfe mentioning her upcoming marriage (Folder 55). One letter (Folder 54) mentions Lydia Emmet. Other letters in the collection reflect professional matters, such as requests for Metcalfe to appear in concert (Folders 56 and 58). This portion of the collection includes correspondence in a variety of languages.

Miscellaneous This part of the collection contains several typed accounting sheets from 1922, as well as a fire insurance policy for a Watteau painting that belonged to Susan Metcalfe.

Dates

  • 1902 - 1922

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Researcher may view only one letter at a time.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Susan Metcalfe Casals, American mezzo-soprano and socialite, was born in Florence, Italy in 1878 to American Frank J. Metcalfe and his Italian-Swiss wife Helene Rochet. She moved to New Rochelle, New York and made her vocal debut in 1897, thereafter performing 2-3 solo recitals a year. Metcalfe had a close relationship with Lydia Field Emmet (1866-1952) of Stockbridge, MA, an American artist especially well known for her portraits.

In March of 1904, Metcalfe performed in a recital with Pablo Casals (1876-1973), the renowned Spanish cellist. The two experienced a fervid attraction, but their relationship did not last. In 1908, Metcalfe began a European tour, during which she sang for British royalty. She met Pablo Casals again after one of his concerts in Berlin in 1913. The two were married on April 4, 1914 in New Rochelle, New York, and moved to Europe. Casals frequently accompanied Metcalfe on piano in many of her concerts. Not long after the wedding, however, they began to experience marital problems. In 1928, they separated, although they did not divorce until 1957.

After 1929, Metcalfe lived in Paris. She performed her last known recital at the Ecole Normale de Musique in 1951. Eventually she moved back to the United States to live with a sister until her death in 1959.

Pablo Casals was born in Vendrell, Spain in 1876. He is considered one of the most brilliant cellists of the early twentieth century. Casals made his cello debut in 1891 and quickly gained an international reputation as pianist, conductor, and composer, as well as cellist. He toured the United States for the first time in 1901 and returned in 1904. During the first decades of the twentieth century, which this collection encompasses, Casals also toured extensively around the world, often giving concerts with other prominent musicians of the era.

Susan Metcalfe was Casals' first wife. From 1906 to 1912, he was romantically involved with one of his students, Guilhermina Suggia, and although she received concert billing as his wife, the two never married. After his divorce from Susan Metcalfe in 1957, Casals married Marta Montanez, a Puerto Rican cellist.

Extent

0.40 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Susan Metcalfe Casals (1878-1959) of New Rochelle, NY was an American mezzo-soprano and socialite who made her vocal debut in New York in 1897. In 1914, she married the famous Spanish cellist, Pablo Casals (1876-1973).

The bulk of the collection, consisting of correspondence from her future husband, discusses their early relationship and details about his international tours. The collection also includes correspondence from Metcalfe's friend, painter Lydia Field Emmet, as well as other correspondents.

Arrangement Note

The collection is grouped by the names of Metcalfe's various correspondents. Within each grouping, the letters are arranged chronologically.

Method of Acquisition

Purchased from J and J Lubrano, Music Antiquarians, in April 2004.

Related Materials

Emmet Family Papers, 1792-1989 (bulk 1851-1989), Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Susan Metcalfe and Pablo Casals Letter Collection, 1915-1918, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at scua@uncg.edu if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Lisa Zevorich, at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, December 2008.
Title
Susan Metcalfe Letters
Author
Lisa Zevorich
Date
2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
eng

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US
336-334-5246