Guide to the Helen E. Plinkiewisch Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Plinkiewisch, Helen
Title: Helen E. Plinkiewisch Papers
Dates: 1888-1995 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 2.75 cubic feet (11 boxes, including 3 oversize boxes)
Collection Number: MSS Plinkiewisch
Summary: The Plinkiewisch Papers document the education, music teaching career, and related activities of music educator Helen E. Plinkiewisch and include diaries and journals, teaching records, musical compositions, a sound recording, and photographs. Plinkiewisch graduated from Oregon State Agricultural College in 1929 and had a long and successful career as a music educator in the public schools of Garden City (Long Island), New York.
Repository: Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections & Archives Research Center
Contact Information: Special Collections & Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 541-737-2075
Fax: 541-737-8674
Languages: Materials inEnglish. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

Helen Edwina Plinkiewisch, a 1929 graduate of Oregon State Agricultural College, had a long and successful career as a music educator in the public schools of Garden City (Long Island), New York.

She was born in 1908 in Portland, Oregon, and attended public schools in that city. After graduating from Jefferson High School in 1925, Plinkiewisch attended Oregon State Agricultural College, and received a diploma in music and theory in 1929. While at Oregon State, she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority; was president of Euterpe, the women's music honorary society; was a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society; and was the accompanist for the Madrigal Club. After studying piano in Vienna and Rome for a year, she earned a B.S. in Music Education in 1931 from New York University and an M.S. in Education from Columbia University in 1934. In 1955, Plinkiewisch earned a Doctorate in Education (Music Education major) from Columbia. In 1935, she began teaching music at the Stewart School in Garden City, New York; she taught there until her retirement in 1974. At Stewart School, Plinkiewisch began to introduce her students to opera. She had them design and perform an abbreviated version of an opera to be performed by the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Plinkiewisch received many accolades for her work in introducing opera to children.

She also taught part time at New Paltz State University (1953); Hofstra University (1953-1970); and Adelphi University (1972). Plinkiewisch wrote a number of musical compositions, a number of which were published, and wrote articles for several music magazines and journals. She served as an advisory member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild's Education Committee, and was a board member of several local music organizations. Helen Plinkiewisch died in 1994.

Content Description

The papers are organized into eleven series, most of which document the education and music teaching career and related activities of music educator Helen E. Plinkiewisch.

Series 1 contains personal information about Plinkiewisch, including vitae, articles, and a biographical sketch. Series 2, Diaries & Journals, includes a diary of her stay in Europe in 1929-1930. Series 3 contains correspondence between Plinkiewisch and her mother, Paul and Lillian Petri, and Oregon State College classmates. Series 4 contains materials from Plinkiewisch's education, including music textbooks from OSC and research materials and drafts of her Columbia University doctoral dissertation on the music of Charles Ives, Roy Harris and Aaron Copland. The dissertation materials include critiques of her project by various music educators and composers, including Copland.

Series 5, Teaching Records, primarily documents Plinkiewisch's efforts to incorporate opera into the grade school music curriculum. It contains programs and other publicity materials of the student operas put on by her students, as well as records from the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc., Education Department pertaining to students and opera. Series 6 contains several of Plinkiewisch's musical compositions. Several were published, including the "Song of the Train," and the piano accompaniment she wrote for a book of children's songs, A Merry Go Round of Songs (1946). Series 7 contains programs and announcements of student dances, balls, and awards ceremonies at OSC, and musical performances by Plinkiewisch, the Petris, and others. Series 8 documents musical and other organizations that Plinkiewisch was affiliated with. Series 9 includes diplomas, honors and awards given to her. Series 10 is a sketch book created by Plinkiewisch's mother Amy R. Hansen Plinkiewisch.

Series 10 is comprised of photographs. These include portraits and candid images of Plinkiewisch and her parents; a photo and postcard album containing images of Plinkiewisch's 1929/1930 trip to Europe, her friends, and Oregon scenes; photographs of Paul and Lillian Petri and their Corvallis home, "Casa Musica"; photos and slides of Stewart school student operas; and slide sets of Metropolitan Opera Guild performances.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation :  

Helen E. Plinkiewisch Papers, Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information :  

The papers came to OSU as part of a gift from Plinkiewisch's estate to fund scholarships in the Music and Art Departments. The College of Liberal Arts transferred the collection to the University Archives.

Related Materials :  

A photograph of Plinkiewisch is located in Harriet's Collection, #585. Additional information about the Petris and the Music Department can be found in the Music Department Records (RG 148).

A painting of Plinkiewisch is located at the OSU Music Department.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  Biographical and Personal Information, 1907-1995
1 Vitae, circa 1952-1987
1 Biographical profiles and other articles, 1962-1989
1 Biographical sketch by Mary Jacq Burck, 1995
1 Passport, 1929
1 Wedding certificate, 1939
1 Parents' wedding invitation, 1907
1 Address book, undated
1 1945 pocket calendar inscribed with prayers
1 Miscellaneous notes

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Series II:  Diaries and Journals, 1929-circa 1960
1 Europe trip, 1929-1930
1 Day book, 1947
1 Weekly calendar (1942) and address book with miscellaneous thoughts, financial information, lists, astrological information, 1940s-1960s

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Series III:  Correspondence, 1927-1989
1 Paul and Lillian Petri, 1947-1955 and undated
1 Oregon State College friends and organizations, 1927-1988 and undated
1 Amy R. Hanson Plinkiewisch (mother), 1927-1937 and undated
1 Letters of appreciation, 1941-1989 and undated

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Series IV:  Education Records, 1925-1956
Oregon State College
1 Paper, "The American Indian in American Music," undated Books
1 MUSIC THE EDUCATOR, by Lillian Petri, (OAC Bulletin), 1926 and 1928
2 copies
2 MUSIC FUNDAMENTALS CORRELATED, Vol. II, by Lillian Petri, 1927
2 THE THEORY OF MUSIC, by Louis C. Elson, 1890
2 THE PHYSICAL BASIS OF PIANO TOUCH AND TONE, by Otto Ortmann, 1925 (inscribed to Helen Plinkiewisch from Lillian Petri, 1931
2 Correspondence and lesson notes, Kiriena Ziloti, 1935-1936
Columbia University, 1931-1956
2 Personal information, 1933 and 1950
2 Registration information, 1934
2 Record book, Teachers College, 1931-1947
2 Academic records, 1933-1947
2 Degree plan
2 Graduate Record Exam, July 1950
2 Exams, 1947 and 1951
2 Graduation and Commencement, 1955-1956
2 Doctoral project, "A Contribution to the Understanding of the Music of Charles Ives, Roy Harris, and Aaron Copland"
2 Proposal, 1951
2 Outlines
2 Comments from prominent composers and music educators, 1951
2 Correspondence, 1953-1955
2 Oral exam schedule, 1955
2 Register of D.Ed. reports, 1956
2 Research & background materials
2 Charles Ives compiled references (2 vol.)
2 " A Connecticut Yankee in Music" , unpublished manuscript by Lucille Fletcher, undated
2 General information on Charles Ives, Aaron Copland and Roy Harris
3 Drafts of sections
3 Part I
3 Part II (Ives)
3 Part II (Harris)
3 Part II (Copland)
3 Part III
3 Bibliography
3 Final draft

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Series V:  Teaching Records, 1932-1989
Odessa, New York, schools
4 Contract, 1932
4 Programs and clippings, 1932-1933
Stewart School, Garden City, New York
4 Salary information and contract, 1937-1957
4 PTA Summer Program appointment, 1970
4 Student operetta, "Why Spring Was Late", 1939
4 Script
4 Programs hand-colored by students
11 Script and music manuscript
apx 12x17 in.
11 Scenery and costume drawings
apx 12x17 in.
apx 12x17 in.
11 Children's musical plays, drafts of scripts and music, circa 1940s
apx 12x17 in.
4 " Our Songs" , created by students, circa 1940
4 Stewart School song, undated
4 Program, 1st Annual Music Festival, Garden City Public Schools, 1937
4 Student operas -- programs, clippings and other publicity, 1949-1989
4 Student opera (general)
4 The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc., Education Department
4 Programs, brochures, booklets, and articles, 1950-1988
4 " On Discovering Opera Early" , undated manuscript
4 Speech/lecture note cards, undated
4 Articles, clippings, etc., about Plinkiewisch's activities, 1958-1983
4 Hofstra University, contracts and teaching assignments, 1953-1969
4 New Paltz (New York) State Teachers College, 1953
4 Adelphi University, 1959-1972
Papers, manuscripts and talks
4 " Style in Music" , drafts of manuscript, circa 1951
4 " Singing, Grades 4-6" , manuscript, undated
4 Notecards, contemporary music project
4 Notecards, children and music
4 Notecards, piano practice
4 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1937-1958

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Series VI:  Musical Compositions, circa 1929-1990
11 " Gavotte" for piano and chamber orchestra, circa 1929
apx 12x17 in.
11 A MERRY GO ROUND OF SONGS, piano accompaniment by Plinkiewisch, 1946
apx 12x17 in.
11 " My Girl of Yesteryear" , 1947
apx 12x17 in.
11 " A Salute to Delta Kappa Gamma" , undated
apx 12x17 in.
11 " Our Beautiful Portland" , undated
apx 12x17 in.
11 " Vagabond's Song" , undated
apx 12x17 in.
11 " Song of the Trains/Santa's Ho! Ho! Song" ,, 1949
apx 12x17 in.
large print edition of "Santa's Song in oversize box 7/1/2/k
11 " Short Melodic Pieces" , undated
apx 12x17 in.
11 " Easter Carol" , undated
apx 12x17 in.
11 " Waltz Clog" , undated
apx 12x17 in.
11 " Morningside" ,, undated
apx 12x17 in.
words by Ruth Cramer
11 " Sonata" ,, undated
apx 12x17 in.
11 Miscellaneous music manuscripts
apx 12x17 in.
11 Manuscript book with partial composition
apx 12x17 in.
6 " Song of the Trains" , audio cassette recording
5 " Six Melodic Miniatures" , undated
5 " Arioso for Clarinet with Strings" , undated
5 " Alpha Chi Omega Waltz" , 1983
5 " The Oregon Trail" , undated
Correspondence and articles
5 Delta Kappa Gamma Society, 1978-1990
5 General, 1939-1988

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Series VII:  Programs and Announcements, 1926-1950
5 Oregon State College, dances, balls, banquets, awards ceremonies and commencement, 1926-1929
5 Performances by Plinkiewisch at Oregon State College, and by Paul and Lillian Petri, 1928-1950
5 Performances by Plinkiewisch (and her teachers) in Europe, New York University, Morningside Trio, and Garden City Public Schools, 1928-1940 and undated

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Series VIII:  Organizations, 1923-1991
Alpha Chi Omega
5 Songbook, 1923
5 Chi Chapter (Oregon State College) newsletter, Aug 1956
5 Delta Kappa Gamma Society, 1961-1980
5 Friends of Adelphi University Library, Inc., 1974-1987
5 Community Club of Garden City & Hempstead, Inc., 1983-1991
5 Institute of the Arts, Hofstra University, 1974-1975
5 Garden City Concerts, Inc., 1961-1964
5 Manhasset Bay Opera Association, 1981
5 International Women's Year Forum, speech note cards, undated

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Series IX:  Diplomas, Honors and Awards, 1922-1990
5 Diploma, Shaver School, Portland, Oregon, January 1922
5 Diploma, Jefferson High School, Portland, June 12, 1925
5 Initiation Certificate, Alpha Chi Omega, Chi Chapter, Feb 25, 1927
5 Fifty Year Member Certificate, Alpha Chi Omega, 1977
5 Freshman Honors, Oregon State Agricultural College, 1927
5 Diploma, Oregon State Agricultural College, June 3, 1929
5 Membership Certificate, National Geographic Society, January 1, 1951
5 Initiation Certificate, Delta Kappa Gamma Society, April 14, 1951
5 Hofstra University (10 year faculty honor), 1964
certificate and plaque
5 Retirement honors, Garden City Public Schools, 1974-1975
5 Who's Who in Society, June 15, 1986
5 Certificate of Appreciation, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Song Book, January 15, 1990 VI
5 Pi State Honors, 25 year membership, Delta Kappa Gamma Society, May 5, 1990
5 Miscellaneous honors, circa 1974-1988 and undated
11 Diploma, Bachelor of Science in Music, New York University, October 1931
apx 12x17 in.
11 Message of thanks, Stewart School 4th grade class, 1971
apx 12x17 in.
11 Certificate of Service (retirement), 39 years, Garden City Schools, 1974
apx 12x17 in.
7 Diploma, Doctor of Education, Columbia University, August 23, 1955
apx 16x20 in.

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Series X:  Drawing Book, Amy Rosina Hansen, circa 1905

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Series XI:  Photographs, 1888-1985
8 Portraits of Plinkiewisch and candid shots with family and friends, 1908-1985
8 Portraits and candid shots of Amy R. (Hansen) and Arthur Plinkiewisch (Helen's parents, 1888-circa 1935
Photo and postcard album, circa 1909-1932
8 Portraits and candid shots of Plinkiewisch; photos of parents, the Petris, and friends; photos of travel to Europe; photos and halftone images of European cities; color and photo postcards of Oregon scenes; photos of skiing and camping
2 folders
Paul and Lillian Petri
8 Portrait of Lillian Petri, 1927
inscribed to Helen Plinkiewisch
8 Portrait of Paul Petri, 1929
Ball Studio, Corvallis (photographer)
Inscribed to Helen.
8 Paul and Lillian Petri sitting in front of fireplace, 1935
8 Candid shots of the Petris, circa 1930-1935
8 "Casa Musica," the Petri home, 1930-1935
8 Theta Chi (OSC) fraternity members, circa 1929
8 Unidentified group of men with wrapped books, circa 1930
Stewart School operas and other musical performances
8 Frank LaVista painting puppets for THE MAGIC FLUTE, 1951
8 Scenes from AIDA, 1958
5 color prints
8 Helen Plinkiewisch preparing students for LA BOHEME, to be broadcast over the radio, Jan 1959
8 Stewart Singers, 1966 and 1973
Slides of student operas
8 CARMEN, 1968?
17 color slides
8 LA TRAVIATA, 1970?
9 color slides
8 LA BOHEME, undated (25 color slides) unidentified opera, Old West theme, undated (25 color slides)
Metropolitan Opera
8 Stage crew, circa 1950
Slide sets
8 "A Visit to the Met", circa 1950
21 color slides
8 " Onstage at the Met" , featuring THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, circa 1960
23 color slides
8 "Onstage at the Met," unidentified opera, undated
20 color slides
9 Portraits of Helen and Amy Plinkiewisch, 1924-1935
apx 12x17 in.
10 Candid shots of Helen Plinkiewisch at Alpha Chi Omega house (prints available for 5 negatives
6 nitrate negatives

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  • Personal Names :
  • Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990
  • Harris, Roy, 1898-1979
  • Ives, Charles, 1874-1954.
  • Petri, Lillian Jeffreys.
  • Petri, Paul, 1877-1958.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Columbia University. Teachers College.
  • Oregon State Agricultural College. School of Music.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Europe--Description and travel.
  • Subject Terms :
  • Composition (Music)
  • Music teachers--New York (State)--Garden City.
  • Music teachers--Training of--New York (State)--New York.
  • Music teachers--Training of--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Music--20th century.
  • Music--Instruction and study--Juvenile.
  • Music--Performance.
  • Opera--Juvenile--Production and direction.
  • Pianists--Oregon.
  • Titles within the Collection :
  • Mind over muscle
    • Other Creators :
    • Petri, Lillian Jeffreys.

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