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Dorothy James papers

Identifier: 010.DJ

Scope and Contents

The Dorothy James Papers collection contains information on concerts, correspondence, employment papers, and many original compositions. The collection is arranged alphabetically and is divided into two series. Records date from 1920 to 1983.

The two series that are included in the collection are: Career and Legacy, and Original Compositions. The Career and Legacy series includes two sub-series of Concert Programs, and Correspondence. The Original Composition series includes nine subseries of Chamber Ensembles, Choral, Orchestral, Orchestra with chorus, Operas and Librettos, Organ, Piano, String Ensembles, Voice and Piano.


  • Creation: 1920 - 1983


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

Biographical Note

Doctor Dorothy James taught music theory and composition in the Music Department at Eastern Michigan University, previously known as Michigan State Normal College from 1927 to 1968.

James was born in Chicago, Illinois on 1 December 1901. She received a Bachelor's and Master's degree from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. While working at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, Frederick Stock then director of the Chicago Symphony encouraged her to further her study. With his encouragement James continued her study of composition at Eastman School of Music, and the University of Michigan.

In addition to being an excellent teacher, James was one of America's foremost female composers. She was honored for her achievements by receiving an A. Weidig Gold medal of Excellence in Compositions, and first prizes in multiple national music competitions. Her original compositions include orchestral, choral, organ music, chamber ensembles, and operas. Her works have been performed by the National Music High School Chorus and Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, Interlochen Youth Chorus and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.

Dorothy James was an active member Delta Kappa Gamma and Mu Phi Epsilon alumnae chapter. While teaching at Eastern Michigan University, James was the faculty advisor for Mu Phi Epsilon from 1950 until her retirement.

After her retirement, Dorothy James moved to St Petersburg, Florida where she resided until her death on 1 December, 1982.


3 Linear Feet (5 archive boxes, one flat box)

Language of Materials



Dorothy James was a Professor of music theory and composition at Michigan State Normal College from 1928 until 1969. James was also a nationally known composer. Her papers consist primarily of her original compositions as well as correspondence, clippings, and concert programs. The papers are arranged alphabetically. Records date from 1920 to 1983.

Dorothy James papers
Elizabeth Searls
2012 November 13
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Repository Details

Part of the Eastern Michigan University Archives Repository

Bruce T. Halle Library, Room 310
955 West Circle Drive
Ypsilanti Michigan 48197