Crosby Adams Collection

Crosby Adams Collection

The L. Nelson Bell Library at Montreat College houses a large collection of items related to Mr. and Mrs. Adams. Included in the collection are scrapbooks, clippings, musical works composed by Mrs. Adams, photographs, and both personal and professional papers. The collection also includes books authored by Mrs. Adams, dolls from Mrs. Adams’ personal collection, and musical scores, books, and other items from the Crosby Adams School of Music.

The collection also includes numerous books from the Crosby Adams School of Music Library. Most of these books are integrated into the circulating collection of the Montreat College Library.

Many items from the collection have been digitized, and are available on-line at the Montreat College Digital Archive.

The digitization of this collection is 100% supported with federal LSTA funds made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

About Mrs. and Mr. Adams

Juliette Graves Adams and her husband Crosby Adams achieved national prominence in the field of music and music education during the latter years of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Mrs. Crosby Adams was a composer, author, lecturer, and concert pianist who achieved national attention throughout her career. Her most lasting contributions to American musical history are her compositions of children’s music and the numerous instructional books she authored on piano performance. Her instructional books were favored among music teachers throughout the United States. In addition to numerous instructional books, Mrs. Adams authored other works including Chapters in a Musical Life an autobiographical narrative and  Studies in Hymnology which was widely used in seminaries, churches and music schools. Mrs. Adams continued writing, teaching, and composing throughout her life.

Her husband Crosby Adams was a respected choral director in his own right and a teacher of music theory classes.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Adams were active in local, state, and national professional organizations. Mrs. Adams was granted honorary life membership in the National Federation of Music Clubs and the Music Teachers National Association and served on the executive boards of both organizations. She was a founding member and president of the Asheville branch of the National League of American Penwomen and in 1926 was named outstanding woman musician of the state by the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs.

In 1892 the Adams  established the “Crosby Adams School” in Chicago, which was the first school in America to include teacher-training in Public School Music. In addition to the public school music program, the Crosby Adams School of Music offered programs in instrumental music, vocal music, harmony, and music history.

While in Chicago, Mrs. Adams became friends with the famous American composer, Amy Cheney Beach. The two women corresponded frequently concerning their musical compositions, concerts, and works in progress and maintained an abiding friendship throughout their lives. Mrs. Adams also corresponded with noted composer Edward A. MacDowell and published articles on the musical life and contributions of Mr. MacDowell.

In 1913, the Adams relocated from Chicago to Montreat, North Carolina. There they built a home, which included a music studio where lessons in theory and performance were conducted. During the summer months, they conducted “teachers schools” in their mountain home where public music teachers from across the country would come to improve their teaching skills. The Adams played an active role in the musical life of the Montreat Normal School for Girls and Montreat-Anderson College (later renamed to Montreat College).

They continued their teaching and choral directing in Montreat and in Asheville, North Carolina throughout the remainder of their lives and continued to play an active role in professional organizations on local, state, and national levels. Mrs. Adams continued giving public concerts with her final concert occurring on her 92nd birthday. Both Mr. and Mrs. Adams passed away in 1951.

View the Digital Archive’s Crosby Adams photo gallery.