Alexander family papers ([1863]-1969, bulk 1894-1927)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Cheney J. Schopieray and Meg Hixon, November 2011
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Alexander family papers
Creator: Alexander family
Inclusive dates: [1863]-1969
Bulk dates: 1894-1927
Extent: 1 linear foot
Abstract:
The Alexander family papers document the family, life, and early career of pianist Margaret June Alexander (also known as Vonya Alexandre) throughout the early 1900s. The collection is made up of two journals kept by her mother, Myrilla M. Anderson, plus letters, writings, artwork, family photographs, printed programs, sheet music, and other materials related to this Decatur County and Indianapolis, Indiana, family.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

2004. M-4404 .

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copyright

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation

Alexander Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan

Arrangement

The collection is in a temporary arrangement.

Biography

John H. Alexander (1828-1919) served as a surgeon with the 27th Indiana infantry regiment during the Civil War, and later worked as a druggist. He married Mary Tarkington, author Booth Tarkington's aunt, and had at least one son, Joseph H. Alexander, who also worked in the pharmaceutical industry. Joseph H. Alexander married Myrilla M. Anderson (b.1869) in 1893, and they had one daughter, Margaret June Alexander, born on January 17, 1894. Margaret, a talented young pianist, performed throughout the country and pursued a musical career following her 1912 graduation from the Metropolitan School of Arts in Indianapolis, Indiana. She performed with Mischel Kurzene under the stage name Vonya Alexandre.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Alexander family papers document the family, life, and early career of pianist Margaret June Alexander (also known as Vonya Alexandre) throughout the early 1900s. The collection consists of two journals kept by her mother, Myrilla M. Anderson, plus approximately 1 linear foot of letters, writings, artwork, family photographs, printed programs, sheet music, books, newspaper clippings, and other materials related to this Decatur County and Indianapolis, Indiana, family.

Margaret's mother, Myrilla Anderson Alexander, wrote two journals during Margaret's early life and stages of her musical career. The first, kept between 1894 and 1896, documents Myrilla's experiences during Margaret's infancy and a list of musical lessons, associated fees, and required books. The second journal covers 1907 to 1917, and focuses primarily on Margaret's musical performances, complemented by enclosed newspaper clippings, correspondence, and programs.

The Alexander family papers include Myrilla M. Anderson Alexander's sketchbook of ink, watercolor, and charcoal illustrations. A hand bound book appears in the collection, written for Myrilla Alexander by R. E. Sylvester, which contains poetry and sketches.

The collection includes 4 letters by Myrilla Alexander, picture postcards, calling cards, 2 blank living wills from the state of Florida, and a 1945 marriage certificate for Carl F. Grouleff and Vonya Kurzhene. A typed document titled "Remembrances of Anna Stover and Edith Surbey" recounts the friends' lives from their early education through their ongoing religious charity work. Other items include a handwritten description of Margaret June Alexander's 1913 performance at Carnegie Hall, a list of quotations, and a certificate regarding the eligibility of Mary Alexander Tarkington and Caroline Anderson Haugh to join the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Approximately 110 photographs depict Margaret June Alexander, her performance partner Mischel Kurzene, and members of the Alexander, Anderson, and Tarkington families. An address book kept by Myrilla Alexander includes addresses and birthdays of family and friends.

The collection's printed items include programs for musical events, sheet music, newspaper clippings, and two books. Approximately 50 programs reflect Margaret June Alexander's musical career between 1907 and 1927. Obituaries for members of the Alexander and Tarkington families appear within the collection's newspaper clippings. Multiple copies of an undated, printed advertisement for "Dr. Alexander's Effervescing Headache Powders" are also present. The collection's 2 books are G. W. H. Kemper's A Medical History of the State of Indiana (Chicago: American Medical Association Press, 1911) and Joseph Tarkington's Autobiography of Rev. Joseph Tarkington (Cincinnati: Curts & Jennings, 1899).

Subject Terms

Subjects:
  • Alexander, Margaret June, b. 1894.
  • Artists--United States.
  • Child musicians.
  • Child rearing.
  • Indiana--History.
  • Infants--United States.
  • Music--Instruction and study--United States.
  • Pianists--United States.
  • Stover, Anna.
  • Surbey, Edith.
  • Tarkington family.
  • Women artists--United States.
  • Women pianists--United States.
Subjects - Visual Materials:
  • Alexander family.
  • Alexander, Margaret June, b. 1894.
  • Anderson family.
  • Flowers.
  • Kurzene, Mischel.
  • Tarkington family.
Contributors:
  • Alexander, Myrilla M. Anderson.
Genre Terms:
  • Address books.
  • Books.
  • Cartes-de-visite.
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Diaries.
  • Drawings (visual works)
  • Hair.
  • Legal documents.
  • Photographic postcards.
  • Photographs.
  • Picture postcards.
  • Poems.
  • Programs (documents)
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Sheet music.
  • Sketchbooks.
  • Tintypes (prints)

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
 
Alexander family papers,  [1863]-1969 [series] [View selected images of illustrated manuscripts]
Box   1  
Box   2  
Box   3  
Folder   : Oversize Manuscripts  
 1908-1914 and  undated (3 items)