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Helen E. Plinkiewisch Papers, 1888-1995

By Finding aid prepared by Tiah Edmunson-Morton.

Collection Overview

Title: Helen E. Plinkiewisch Papers, 1888-1995

Predominant Dates: 1925-1990

ID: MSS Plinkiewisch

Primary Creator: Plinkiewisch, Helen

Extent: 2.75 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged into six series: 1. Biographical and Personal, 1905-1995; 2. Organizations, 1923-1991; 3. Musical Compositions, 1929-1990; 4. Teaching Records, 1932-1989; 5. Training and Education Records, 1890-1956; 6. Photographs, 1888-1985.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


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.

Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Scope and Content Notes

The Helen E. Plinkiewisch papers are organized into six series, most of which document her education and career as a music educator. This collection is valuable for researchers interested in Plinkiewisch as a person, but also those interested in musical education or composition and student life at Oregon State Agricultural College in the 1920s.

Included in the collection is an assortment of personal materials such as diaries and journals, family records, musical performance and student event announcements, diplomas and awards, and a sketchbook created by her mother. Materials related to her education include musical textbooks, research materials, and annotated drafts of her doctoral dissertation at Columbia University on the music of Charles Ives, Roy Harris and Aaron Copland. Items related to her professional life as an educator and composer include documentation related to her efforts to incorporate opera into the grade school curriculum in New York, teaching records, materials related to professional organizations, and musical compositions. There are photographs that cover the topics represented in the textual materials, with highlights being pictures of a trip to Europe, her family, student productions, and professional performances.

Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Biographical / Historical Notes

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.

Author: Lawrence Landis

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 6 boxes, 1 cassette tape, 250 photographs and slides.

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The papers came to OSU in 1995 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 Photograph Collection (P HC) HC0585. A painting of Plinkiewisch is located at the OSU Music Department.

Additional information about the Petris and the Music Department can be found in the Music Department Records (RG 148) and the Lillian Jeffreys Petri Collection (MSS Petri).

Preferred Citation: Helen E. Plinkiewisch Papers (MSS Plinkiewisch), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: A finding aid was prepared for this collection in 1995.  In 2016, the collection was re-processed and the finding aid revised to bring it into compliance with current descriptive standards and practice.


Plinkiewisch, Helen
Petri, Lillian Jeffreys

People, Places, and Topics

Columbia University. Teachers College
Composition (Music)
Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990
Europe--Description and travel.
Harris, Roy, 1898-1979
Ives, Charles, 1874-1954
Music--20th century.
Music--Instruction and study--Juvenile.
Music teachers--New York (State)--Garden City.
Music teachers--Training of--New York (State)--New York.
Music teachers--Training of--Oregon--Corvallis.
Opera--Juvenile--Production and direction.
Oregon State Agricultural College. School of Music
Petri, Lillian Jeffreys
Petri, Paul, 1877-1958
Plinkiewisch, Helen
University History

Forms of Material

Photographic prints.
Slides (photographs).

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Biographical and personal, 1905-1995
Contains personal information about Plinkiewisch, diaries and journals, family records, materials from her time as a student at Oregon State College, musical performance announcements, diplomas and awards, and a sketch book created by her mother.
Sub-Series 1: Personal materials, 1907-1995
Subseries 1 contains personal information about Plinkiewisch, including vitae, articles, and a biographical sketch. Also included are diaries and journals, including one of her stay in Europe in 1929-1930.
Box-Folder 1.1: Vitae, biographical profiles and other articles, biographical sketch by Mary Jacq Burck, passport, wedding certificate, parents' wedding invitation, address book, and pocket calendar inscribed with prayers., 1907-1995
Box-Folder 1.2: Miscellaneous notes, 1940-1960
Box-Folder 1.3: Europe trip journal, 1929-1930
Box-Folder 1.4: Day book, 1947
Box-Folder 1.5: Weekly calendar and address book with miscellaneous thoughts, financial information, lists, astrological information, 1940-1960
Box-Folder 6.1: Selected music news clippings, 1949-1979
Sub-Series 2: Correspondence, 1927-1989
Subseries 2 contains correspondence between Plinkiewisch and her mother, Paul and Lillian Petri, and Oregon State College classmates.
Box-Folder 1.6: Paul and Lillian Petri, 1947-1955 and undated
Box-Folder 1.7: Oregon State College friends and organizations, 1927-1988 and undated
Box-Folder 1.8: Amy R. Hanson Plinkiewisch (mother), 1927-1937 and undated
Box-Folder 1.9: Letters of appreciation, 1941-1989 and undated
Sub-Series 3: Programs and announcements, 1926-1950
Subseries 3 contains programs and announcements of student dances, balls, and awards ceremonies at OSC, and musical performances by Plinkiewisch, the Petris, and others.
Box-Folder 1.10: Oregon State College, dances, balls, banquets, awards ceremonies and commencement, 1926-1929
Box-Folder 1.11: Performances by Plinkiewisch at Oregon State College, and by Paul and Lillian Petri, 1928-1950
Box-Folder 1.12: Performances by Plinkiewisch (and her teachers) in Europe, New York University, Morningside Trio, and Garden City Public Schools, 1928-1940 and undated
Sub-Series 4: Diplomas, honors and awards, 1922-1990
Subseries 4 includes diplomas, honors and awards given to Plinkiewisch throughout her educational and professional career.
Box-Folder 1.13: Diplomas, honors, and awards, 1922-1990
Included are diplomas from Shaver School in Portland, Oregon, 1922; Jefferson High School in Portland, 1925; and Oregon State Agricultural College, 1929. Also related to her education is an Initiation Certificate from the Alpha Chi Omega Chi Chapter from 1927 and a Freshman Honors certificate from Oregon State Agricultural College from 1927. Miscellaneous honors and certificates are also present, including a National Geographic Society; Membership Certificate from 1951; Delta Kappa Gamma Society; Initiation Certificate from 1951, 1977; Fifty Year Member Certificate from Alpha Chi Omega; Retirement honors certificate from Garden City Public Schools for 1974-1975; Who's Who in Society from 1986; Certificate of Appreciation from Delta Kappa Gamma Society and International Song Book from 1990; Pi State Honors; and a 25 year membership certificate from Delta Kappa Gamma Society from 1990.
Box-Folder 1.14: 10 year faculty honor Hofstra University, 1964
Box-Folder 4.10: Diploma for Ed. D. from Columbia University, 1955
Box-Folder 6.2: Diploma and awards, 1931-1974
Diploma from New York University (1931), awards from Stewart School 4th grade class (1971) and Garden City Schools retirement (1974).
Sub-Series 5: Sketchbook, 1905
Box-Folder 1.15: Sketchbook created by Plinkiewisch's mother Amy Rosina Hansen Plinkiewisch, 1905
Series 2: Organizations, 1923-1991
Documents musical and other organizations that Plinkiewisch was affiliated with throughout her career.
Box-Folder 1.16: Clubs and societies, 1923-1987
An Alpha Chi Omega songbook from 1923, an Oregon State College Chi Chapter newsletter from Aug 1956, materials related to the Delta Kappa Gamma Society from 1961-1980, and materials related to the Friends of Adelphi University Library, Inc. from 1974-1987.
Box-Folder 1.17: Community and music associations, 1961-1991
Materials related to the Community Club of Garden City & Hempstead, Inc. from 1983-1991, the Institute of the Arts at Hofstra University from 1974-1975, Garden City Concerts, Inc. from 1961-1964, and the Manhasset Bay Opera Association from 1981.
Box-Folder 1.18: International Women's Year Forum speech notes, undated
Series 3: Musical compositions, 1929-1990
Plinkiewisch's musical compositions, several of which were published, including the "Song of the Train" and the piano accompaniment for a 1946 book of children's songs entitled "A Merry Go Round of Songs." Also included in this series is an audio cassetee recording for Song of the Trains.
Box-Folder 1.19: Musical compositions for Six Melodic Miniatures, Arioso for Clarinet with Strings, Alpha Chi Omega Waltz, and The Oregon Trail., 1983 and undated
Box-Folder 1.20: Correspondence and articles, 1939-1990
Items related to the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, 1978-1990, and Plinkiewisch's musical interests between 1939-1988.
Box-Folder 3.01: Cassette tape recording of Train Song, undated
Box-Folder 4.02: Musical composition for Santa's Song, undated
Box-Folder 6.03: Gavotte, 1929
Box-Folder 6.04: A Merry-go-round of songs, 1946
Box-Folder 6.05: Various musical scores, circa 1950
My Girl of Yesteryear (1947), A Salute to Delta Kappa Gamma, Our Beautiful Portland, Vagabond's Song.
Box-Folder 6.06: Song of the Train, Santa's Ho! Ho! Song, 1949
Box-Folder 6.07: Short melodic pieces, Easter carol, Morningside, undated
Box-Folder 6.08: Sonata, miscellaneous manuscripts, undated
Series 4: Teaching records, 1932-1989
Records related to Plinkiewisch's teaching, primarily documenting efforts to incorporate opera into the grade school music curriculum. This series 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.
Box-Folder 1.21: Personnel and publicity materials Odessa, New York, 1932-1933
School programs and clippings, 1932-1933, and Plinkiewisch's employment contract for 1932.
Box-Folder 1.22: Personnel documents Stewart School, Garden City, New York, 1937-1970
Plinkiewisch's salary information and contract for 1937-1957 and her PTA Summer Program appointment for 1970.
Box-Folder 1.23: "Why Spring Was Late," script and programs hand-colored by students for their student operetta., 1939
Box-Folder 1.24: School songs and music festival, 1937-1940 and undated
Copy of "Our Songs," which was created by students circa 1940; the Stewart School song; and the program for the first Annual Music Festival at Garden City Public Schools in 1937.
Box-Folder 1.25: Programs, clippings, and other publicity materials for student operas, 1949-1989
Box-Folder 1.26: The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc. program supporting student opera, 1950-1988
Programs, brochures, booklets, articles and other materials related to the Education Department programs and They Shall Have Opera.
Box-Folder 1.27: Student opera manuscript "On Discovering Opera Early" and lecture note cards, undated
Box-Folder 1.28: Articles and clippings about Plinkiewisch's activities, 1958-1983
Box-Folder 1.29: Hofstra University contracts and teaching assignments, 1953-1969
Box-Folder 1.30: Papers, manuscripts, and talks, circa 1951 and undated
Manuscript draft of "Style in Music" and completed manuscript for "Singing: Grades 4-6," as well as notecards for presentations on a contemporary music project, children and music, and piano practice.
Box-Folder 1.31: Correspondence, 1937-1972
Miscellaneous correspondence and specifically related to teaching at New Paltz (New York) State Teachers College and Adelphi University.
Box-Folder 6.09: Stewart School children's musical plays and drafts of music, Circa 1940s
Box-Folder 6.10: Stewart School theater materials, 1939-1941
Student operetta "Why Spring Was Late" (1939), scripts for educational music magazine (1941), scenery and costume drawings.
Box-Folder 6.11: Stewart School theater and music manuscript materials, 1939
Student operetta "Why Spring Was Late," volume of script and music manuscript, other music manuscript.
Series 5: Training and education records, 1890-1956
Sub-Series 1: Oregon State College, 1890-1931
Books, a paper, lesson notes, and correspondence related to Plinkiwusch's time at Oregon State College.
Box-Folder 2.1: Paper, "The American Indian in American Music", undated
Box-Folder 2.2: Books, "The Freshman Girl: A guide to college life" and "The Music Educator", 1925-1928
The Freshman Girl: A guide to college life by Kate W. Jameson (1925) and 2 copies of The Music Educator by Lillian Petri (1926, 1928).
Box-Folder 2.3: Books, "Mind over muscle: A technical economy for pianists" and "Music fundamentals correlated Vol. II", 1924-1927
Mind over muscle: A technical economy for pianists by Lillian Petri (1924) and Music fundamentals correlated Vol. II by Lillian Petri (1927).
Box-Folder 2.4: "The material used in musical composition" by Percy Goetschius, 1923
Box-Folder 2.5: "The theory of music" and "The physical basis of piano touch and tone", 1890-1931
The theory of music by Louis C. Elson (1890) and The physical basis of piano touch and tone by Otto Ortmann (1925, inscribed to Helen Plinkiewisch from Lillian Petri in 1931).
Box-Folder 2.6: Correspondence and lesson notes with Kiriena Ziloti, 1935-1936
Sub-Series 2: Columbia University, 1931-1956
Box-Folder 2.7: Personal information and materials related to student work, 1931-1956
Personal information (1933, 1950), registration information (1934), record book from teachers college (1931-1947), academic records (1933-1947), degree plan, Graduate Record Exam (1950), exams (1947, 1951), graduation and commencement (1955-1956).
Box-Folder 2.8: Doctoral work on "A Contribution to the Understanding of the Music of Charles Ives, Roy Harris, and Aaron Copland", 1951
Doctoral project "A Contribution to the Understanding of the Music of Charles Ives, Roy Harris, and Aaron Copland," proposal (1951), outlines, comments from prominent composers and music educators (1951).
Box-Folder 2.9: Materials related to doctoral work, 1953-1956
Correspondence (1953-1955), oral exam schedule (1955), register of D.Ed. reports (1956).
Box-Folder 2.10: Research and background materials for dissertation, undated
Research & background materials; Charles Ives compiled references (2 vol.); "A Connecticut Yankee in Music," undated and unpublished manuscript by Lucille Fletcher.
Box-Folder 2.11: General information on Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, and Roy Harris, 1948-1951, undated
Box-Folder 2.12: Dissertation draft of Section 1, circa 1952
Box-Folder 2.13: Dissertation draft of Section 2: Ives, circa 1952
Box-Folder 2.14: Dissertation draft of Section 2: Harris, circa 1952
Box-Folder 2.15: Dissertation draft of Section 2: Copland, circa 1952
Box-Folder 2.16: Dissertation draft of Section 3, circa 1952
Box-Folder 2.17: Dissertation draft of bibliography, circa 1952
Box-Folder 2.18: Dissertation final draft, 1954
Series 6: Photographs, 1888-1985
Several photographs from the collection are available in Oregon Digital.
Box-Folder 2.19: Portraits of Plinkiewisch and candid shots with family and friends, 1908-1985
Box-Folder 2.20: Portraits and candid shots of Amy R. (Hansen) and Arthur Plinkiewisch (Helen's parents), 1888-circa 1935
Box-Folder 2.21: Photo and postcard album, circa 1909-1932
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.
Box-Folder 2.22: Photo and postcard album, circa 1909-1932
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.
Box-Folder 2.23: Paul and Lillian Petri, 1927-1935
Portrait of Lillian Petri, inscribed to Helen Plinkiewisch (1927); portrait of Paul Petri, inscribed to Helen (1929); Paul and Lillian Petri sitting in front of fireplace (1935); candid shots of the Petris (circa 1930-1935); "Casa Musica," the Petri home (1930-1935); Theta Chi (OSC) fraternity members (circa 1929); unidentified group of men with wrapped books (circa 1930).
Box-Folder 2.24: Stewart School operas and other musical performances, 1951-1973
Small set for Die Gotterdamerung; Frank LaVista painting puppets for The Magic Flute (1951); Scenes from AIDA (1958); Helen Plinkiewisch preparing students for La Boheme, to be broadcast over the radio (1959); Stewart Singers (1966, 1973).
Box-Folder 2.25: Slides of student operas, circa 1969
Carmen, 17 color slides (circa 1968); La Traviata, 9 color slides (circa 1970); La Boheme, 25 color slides (undated); unidentified opera with Old West theme, 25 color slides (undated).
Box-Folder 2.26: Metropolitan Opera stage crew photograph and slide sets showing operas, circa 1955
Metropolitan Opera stage crew, photograph (circa 1950). Slide sets: "A Visit to the Met," 21 color slides (circa 1950); "Onstage at the Met" featuring The Marriage of Figaro, 23 color slides (circa 1960); "Onstage at the Met" unidentified opera, 20 color slides (undated).
Box-Folder 5.1: Portraits of Helen and Amy Plinkiewisch, undated

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