Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo

A Guide to the Julia Smith Papers, 1965-1967



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Smith, Julia, 1905-1989
Title: Julia Smith Papers
Dates: 1965-1967
Creator Abstract: Born in Denton, Texas, Julia Smith (1905-1989) graduated from North Texas State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas) and studied at St. Mary's Institute of Musical Art in Dallas. She next attended the Julliard School of Music in New York and later received her Master's degree and Ph.D. from New York University. Smith performed as a pianist and wrote, taught, and lectured on music. Her compositions included operas, symphonic, piano, and choral works. Remember the Alamo was commissioned by the U.S. Navy Band for its inaugural concert of 1965 and completed in collaboration with Cecile Vashaw.
Content Abstract: Musical scores, printed material, photographs, and a letter make up the Julia Smith papers, documenting the composition and performance of Remember the Alamo. Four versions of the score are included, along with programs and clippings related to the performance. President Lyndon B. Johnson, to whom the work was dedicated, expresses his appreciation in a letter to the leader of the Navy band.
Identification: Col 918
Extent: 0.42 linear feet (1 box)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

Biographical Note

Julia Frances Smith was born in Denton, Texas, on January 25; sources give the year of her birth as 1905 or 1911. She began her musical training in Dallas and Fort Worth and studied at St. Mary’s Institute of Musical Art in Dallas. In 1930 she earned a B.A. degree from North Texas State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas), where she composed the school's Alma Mater. She also attended the Julliard School of Music in New York (1932-1939), studying piano, composition, and orchestration and earning a diploma. She earned her Master’s degree (1933) and Ph.D. (1952) from New York University.

Smith performed as a pianist and taught, wrote, and lectured on musical subjects. Her compositions include several operas, symphonic works, piano works, chamber music, choral works, and songs. Her tone poem Remember the Alamo was commissioned by Lt. Cmdr. Anthony A. Mitchell, leader of the U.S. Navy Band, for the band’s inaugural concert of 1965. Composed in collaboration with Cecile Vashaw, the work was dedicated to President Lyndon B. Johnson and had its premiere on 1965 January 15 at the Departmental Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The seed of the composition was planted during a 1954 visit to the Alamo, when Smith copied the 1836 letter of William B. Travis beginning “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the world.” Working via mail and telephone with Vashaw, then director of music for public schools in Toledo, Ohio, Smith incorporated familiar melodies such as “Will You Come to the Bower?” and “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie” into the ten-minute work, which featured narration of the Travis letter.

Smith married New York engineer and inventor Oscar A. Vielehr on 1938 April 23; the couple lived in New York and Denton. Smith's compositions and writings were published under her maiden name. She died on 1989 April 27 in New York City.

References

Julia Smith biographical file, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.

Julia Smith Papers, 1965-1967, Col 918, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.

McAdams, Ina May Ogletree. Texas Women of Distinction. Austin, Texas: McAdams Publishers, 1962.

Who’s Who of American Women. Chicago: A. N. Marquis Co., 1958.

Wolz, Larry. "Julia Frances Smith." Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsmrj.


Scope and Content Note

Musical scores, printed material, photographs, and a letter make up the Julia Smith Papers, the material associated with the composition and performance of Smith’s Remember the Alamo. The composition is represented by a published score, a complete set of parts for symphonic band, and a photocopy of the manuscript conductor’s score. Printed material includes programs from the premiere performance of the work in 1965 and a later performance in Texas; program notes for the composition; newspaper clippings related to the work; biographical material on Smith; and a certificate from the U.S. Navy Band, which performed its premiere. Photographs of Smith; Anthony A. Mitchell, leader of the Navy Band; and the band itself are included. A photocopy of a letter from Lyndon B. Johnson to Mitchell conveys the President’s appreciation for the work.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

No restrictions. The collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

Please be advised that the library does not hold the copyright to most of the material in its archival collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure those rights when needed. Permission to reproduce does not constitute permission to publish. The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright, literary property rights, and libel.


Index Terms

Personal Names
Smith, Julia, 1905-1989.
Vashaw, Cecile.
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973.
Subjects
Alamo (San Antonio, Tex.)--Songs and music.
Remember the Alamo (Musical composition).
Women composers.
Genres/Formats
Personal papers.
Professional papers.
Correspondence.
Photographs.
Printed ephemera.
Scores.

Related Material

Julia Smith Collection, Music Library Special Collections, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Julia Smith Papers, 1965-1967, Col 918, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Julia Smith, 1968 March.

Processing Information

Processed by Warren Stricker, 1997 April.

Finding aid edited and encoded by Caitlin Donnelly, 2011 February.


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Julia Smith Papers, 1965-1967

Box Folder
1 1 Biographical information
2 Letter: Lyndon B. Johnson, Washington, to Anthony A. Mitchell, Washington, D.C. [photocopy], 1965 February 24.
3 Program notes
4 Programs
United States Navy Band, Symphonic Concert, Washington, D.C., 1965 January 15.
Festival of Texas Composers, Austin, Texas, 1967 May 1-2.
5 Certificate: Julia Smith, Honorary Life Membership, United States Navy Band, Washington, D.C., 1965 January 15.
6 Clippings
7 Photographs: Anthony A. Mitchell, Julia Smith, and U.S. Navy Band
Musical scores
8 Julia Smith and Cecile Vashaw. Remember the Alamo! For Symphonic Band with Optional Narrator and Mixed Chorus. Full score. Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: Theodore Presser Company, 1965.
9 Julia Smith and Cecile Vashawm, “Remember the Alamo” for Symphonic Band with Optional Narrator and Optional Chorus (S.A.T.B.), condensed band score.
10 Julia Smith and Cecile Vashaw, “Remember the Alamo,” conductor’s score [photocopy].
11 Julia Smith and Cecile Vashaw, “Remember the Alamo,” symphonic band parts.