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The Walter McCray Collection

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Walter McCray (1877-1959)

Walter McCray (1877-1959)

Dr. Walter McCray was the second director of the Department of Music at Pittsburg State University and served in that capacity from September 1914 to August 1946. He died on December 5, 1959.

McCray was a native of Kansas and a 1924 graduate of the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, and a 1931 graduate of the Columbia School of Music, also in Chicago. He was a student of Herman Belstedt, a premier cornet soloist, bandmaster, and composer. McCray also studied with Carl Busch, J. F. King, and Lenore Scott in Chicago, and with Harbard Basse at the Conservatory of Music in Stockholm, Sweden.

McCray's teaching experience included one year, 1899-1900, as director of Music in the Reno County Community Normal and High School in Nickerson, Kansas, and two years, 1901-1903, as head of the band department and teacher at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. From 1904-1920 he was conductor of McCray's Concert Band and gained wide experience as conductor of choral societies, operas, and orchestras, and as supervisor of school music.

In 1914 McCray came to Pittsburg State University, known then as the State Manual Training Normal School, as professor and director of the Department of Music. In the spring of 1915 he inaugurated an annual music festival for students in secondary education, the first undertaking of its type in the institutions of higher learning in Kansas.

Under McCray's direction, each year from 1915 to 1946 the Music Department of Pittsburg State University produced Handel's oratorio, "The Messiah," with assistance from guest performers and community members. More than twenty other major musical works were produced under McCray's direction during those years. McCray retired from the University in September 1947. For further information see also John K. Sehnert, "Walter McCray and the Music Department at Pittsburg State University," (Unpublished master's thesis, 1991).

Collection #10

Walter McCray (1877-1959)
Papers, 1899-1983

1.4 linear feet


Papers of Walter McCray, a well-known musician, who served as the second director of the Department of Music at Pittsburg State University from 1914 to 1946. The papers include personal and professional correspondence, photographs, programs, clippings, publications, musical scores, and miscellaneous items.


Most of the materials in the Walter McCray Papers were donated to Pittsburg State University in June 1961 by the McCray family. Donors of other materials in the McCray Papers are unknown.


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The materials in the Walter McCray Papers are incomplete, but provide a good overview of his musical career. The Papers are arranged into ten series:

The Biographical series consists of one biographical sketch of Walter McCray and a University vita sheet.

The Correspondence series contains personal and professional correspondence from 1901 to 1959. This series is arranged chronologically with undated letters at the end. Many of the letters congratulate McCray for successful performances. Others concern performance arrangements, negotiations with musicians, the establishment of the Phi Mu Alpha, Sinfonia, and Mu Phi Epsilon fraternities at Pittsburg State University, the history of the Kansas High School Music contests, various performances, and McCray's activities at the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburg. Noted correspondents include Carl Busch, Henry P. Eames, Charles Wakefield Cadman, Payne Ratner, and Clyde Neibarger.

The Photographs series includes portrait and performance views of Walter McCray, McCray in professional and family group photographs, travel photographs, the Pittsburg State University glee club, the dedication of McCray Hall in 1961, and photographs of Carl Busch, John Philip Sousa, Leopold Auer, and Jascha Heifetz.

The Programs and Performances series contains printed programs and advertisements relating to McCray's musical performances and to the dedication of McCray Hall. Includes performances at Nickerson and Bethany, Kansas, performances of McCray's Concert Band, the Independence Music Club, and the Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra, and performances of the "Messiah." Also included are church bulletins from occasions when McCray's sacred music was performed. This series is arranged chronologically with undated materials at the end. See also four volumes of [Programs of Symphony Concerts Attended by Dr. Walter McCray,] Kansas Collection 780.7802 P943.

The Clippings series consists of newspaper and magazine articles containing biographical information about McCray, information about his performances, and information about the construction of the Music Hall on the campus of Pittsburg State University. About one half of the clippings are dated and are arranged in chronological order. The undated clippings are organized by subject.

The Awards and Certificates series consists of documents endorsing McCray's nomination for an honorary doctorate from the Columbia School of Music; certificates of merit; certificates of election; and related materials.

The Publications series contains an advertising brochure, a royalty contract, and a typescript copy of Principles of Conducting, co-authored by McCray and Carl Busch. Also included is McCray's article, "Music in Our Educational Curricula," published in November 1938.

The Sheet Music and Scores series includes published and manuscript music authored by McCray and copies of published music inscribed to McCray by various composers and lyricists. This series is arranged alphabetically by title.

The Talks and Lectures series consists of copies of class lectures, speeches, and talks delivered by McCray. Includes two notebooks used in classes on the history of music.

The Miscellaneous series includes McCray's memoir of leaving Bethany College; a brief sketch of the McCray family; notes about the Spring Music Festival at Pittsburg; typescript copies of poetry and verse; a student's research paper on McCray's career from 1914 to 1922; blueprints for the construction of a chorus loft in 1935; financial records; and a program from the dedication of the Walter McCray Collection at Leonard H. Axe Library in 1983.


Biographical Series

f. 1 undated sketches

Correspondence Series

f. 2 1901-1906
f. 3 1910, 1914-1920
f. 4 1921-1924
f. 5 1925-1928
f. 6 1929-1930
f. 7 1931-1934
f. 8 1935-1936
f. 9 1937-1940
f. 10 1941-1945
f. 11 1946-1952
f. 12 1953-1957
f. 13 1957
f. 14 1957-1959
f. 15 undated

Photograph Series

f. 16 Walter McCray, portraits
f. 17 Walter McCray, conducting
f. 18 Walter McCray, group photographs with John P. Sousa, Carl Busch, and William A. Brandenburg
f. 19 McCray family and McCray Hall dedication
f. 20 McCray family, travel photographs from 1947
f. 21 Pittsburg State University glee club, Carl Busch
f. 22 John P. Sousa, Leopold Auer and Jascha Heifetz

Programs and Performances Series

f. 23 1899-1907
f. 24 1908-1910
f. 25 1911-1919
f. 26 1920-1927
f. 27 1928-1936
f. 28 1937-1945
f. 29 1946-1947
f. 30 1948-1958
f. 31 1961
f. 32 undated

Clippings Series

f. 33 1899-1911
f. 34 1915-1919
f. 35 1920-1927
f. 36 1928-1931
f. 37 1935-1940
f. 38 1941-1943
f. 39 1945
f. 40 1946-1947
f. 41 1948-1958
f. 42 1959-1960
f. 43 undated, Nickerson, Kansas, Normal and High School
f. 44 undated, Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas
f. 45-46 undated, Independence, Kansas, Concert Band
f. 47 undated, McCray's Concert Band
f. 48 undated, Pittsburg, Kansas, Municipal Band
f. 49-50 undated, Pittsburg State University Music Festival, Messiah
f. 51-53 undated, Pittsburg State University
f. 54-58 undated, Biographical and miscellaneous
f. 59 undated, Guest performances in various cities and churches
f. 60 undated, Fragments

Awards and Certificates Series

f. 61 undated, 1900, 1927, 1935, 1947

Publications Series

f. 62 Principles of Conducting
f. 63 "Music in Our Educational Curricula"

Sheet Music and Scores Series

f. 64 "Abide with Me" McCray
f. 65 "Autumn Twilight" McCray and Stork
f. 66 "A Ballad of Trees and the Master" McCray and Lanier
f. 67 "Blue Eyes" McCray and Haughawout
f. 68 "Come Unto Me" McCray
f. 69 "Echoes From the Music Hall" McCray
f. 70 "Good-Bye" McCray and Horner
f. 71 "I Will Praise the Lord" McCray
f. 72 "Montgomery County High School March" McCray
f. 73 "My Prayer" Hughes and Fields (Arrangement by McCray)
f. 74 "Nickerson Normal College March" McCray
f. 75 "Oraibi" McCray
f. 76 "The Plains" McCray
f. 77 "Sequoyah" McCray
f. 78 "Spirit Song" McCray and Willford
f. 79 "State Manual Training Normal March" McCray and Smith
f. 80 Sheet music inscribed to McCray
f. 81 Score for Handel's "Messiah"

Talks and Lectures Series

f. 82 History of Music, lecture notes
f. 83 America is Believing in Music//William A. Brandenburg, President of K.S.T.C.//The Further Education of the Music Supervisor//Music in America
f. 84 Phases of Music Taught in the Junior and Senior High Schools//Public School Music in Kansas//Sigma Alpha Iota//The Uplift of Music//War Time Music

Miscellaneous Series

f. 85 Memoir and family sketch
f. 86 Excerpts from letters and transcriptions of newspaper reports relating to McCray's musical career and performances
f. 87 Spring Music Festival, notes and press comments
f. 88 Poetry and verse
f. 89 "Walter McCray and the Music Department of the State Manual Training Normal School, 1914-1922"
f. 90 Blueprints, 1935
f. 91 Financial records, 1921, 1961
f. 92 McCray Collection dedication program, 1983


"Abide With Me"
Adams, Lena G.
American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, Illinois
American Federation of Musicians, Local #452, Pittsburg, Kansas
Armentrout, Lois
Auer, Leopold
"Autumn Twilight"
"A Ballad of Trees and the Master"
Barnhill, John F.
Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas
"Blue Eyes"
Bottenfield, O. C.
Brandenburg, William Aaron (1869-1940)
Brase, Hagabard
Busch, Carl (1862-1943)
Cadman, Charles Wakefield
Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburg, Kansas
Chisholm, Laura B.
Clarke, Herbert L.
Cline, Elton W.
Cochran, Elizabeth
Columbia School of Music, Chicago, Illinois
"Come Unto Me"
Cooper, Calvin
Coulson, Ursel E.
Coventry, Margaret
Crowley, Rex W.
Dawson, Eugene E.
Deacon, Stanley
Eames, Henry P.
"Echoes From the Music Hall"
Ellsworth, Fred R.
Fields, Ellen
First Presbyterian Church, Pittsburg, Kansas
Froesman, F. J.
Guthridge, Wallace H.
Hackett, Arthur
Halliday, Glen
Hankammer, Otto
Harvey, John
Haughawout, Margaret.
Heifetz, Jascha (1901- )
Horner Institute of Fine Arts, Kansas City, Missouri
Horner, Verne
Householder, S. L.
Hughes, Isabelle
Hutchinson, J. L.
Hutchman, J. Harper
"I Will Praise the Lord"
Independence (Kansas) Music Club
Jeffers, D.
Keith, Homer
Kennedy, Emery
Kidder, G. W.
King, Edwina Moore
Knights of Columbus, Pittsburg, Kansas
Kumm, Harry B.
Kumm, Mary
Lampton, Dorothy
Landon, Alfred Mossman (1887-1987)
Lanier, Sidney
Lanyon, E. V.
Lanyon, Nettie
Lanyon, Ruth
Leib, W. H.
Lucas, Alma
Marchbanks, Nellie P.
Mattox, Irene Reid
Maxwell, Lucia Ramsey
McCray's Concert Band
McCray family
McCray Hall
McCray, Walter (1877-1959)
McNally, Thomas
MacPhail, Don
McMillan, Ed J.
McNeill, John T.
Metropolitan Opera Guild, New York
"Montgomery County High School March"
Moore, J. T.
Mu Phi Epsilon
Munn, C. W.
Music Contests
Music - Study and teaching
"My Prayer"
Neiberger, Clyde
Nelson, Mary
"Nickerson Normal College March"
Nickerson Normal College, Nickerson, Kansas
Patmor, Jay N.
Peltz, Mary Ellis
Pennington, Walter.
Phi Mu Alpha, Beta Delta Chapter
Pittsburg (Kansas) Municipal Band
Pittsburg State University
Pittsburg State University, Music Department
Pittsburg State University, Music Festival
"The Plains"
Plummer, J. H.
Principles of Conducting
Ratner, Payne (1896-1974)
Riley, Homer W.
Robertson, Dora
Rodkey, Ralph D.
Rosenberg, Earl
Runyan, Alfred C.
Sandford, Anise
Sellmansberger, Elmer
Sellmansberger, Fred
Seymour, Marguerite
Seymour, Nora
Sheward, M. J.
Shute, Gertrude Sellmansberger
Showalter, Raney
Sigma Alpha Iota
Smith, Lena Martin
Sousa, John Philip (1854-1932)
Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra
Spencer, Allen (1870-1950)
Stork, Charles W.
Strawn, Dorothy
"Spirit Song"
"State Manual Training Normal March"
Street, Claude W.
Swarthout, D. M.
Swensson, Carl Aaron (1857- )
Trabue, Josephine
Trabue, Agnes
Wear, Muriel
Willford, Guy
Woods, Ruth
World War, 1914-1918
Yoos, Charles
Young, Agnes M.

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Last Modified: Jul 18, 2007 - 10:13

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