Francis W. Richter collection, circa 1895-2017  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Richter, Francis W. (Francis William), 1888-1938
Title
Francis W. Richter collection
Dates
circa 1895-2017 (inclusive)
circa 1895-1938 (bulk)
Quantity
4.5 cubic feet, (3 document cases and 10 flat boxes)
Collection Number
Coll 584
Summary
The papers, photographs, and music scores of Francis W. Richter.
Repository
Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
97205
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
libreference@ohs.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English, German


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Francis William Richter was born in 1888 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Frederick William and Carolina Lena F. Richter. The family moved to Portland, Oregon during Francis’ childhood, and it was there that Frederick Richter, a violinist, served as musical director of Cordray’s Theater Orchestra.

Although blind from birth, Francis Richter demonstrated considerable musical talent at a young age, and he became known in Portland for his ability to perform classical pieces and his own original work on the piano. In 1907, Mrs. Alma Rogers successfully led a fundraising effort to sponsor Richter’s musical training in Vienna, and accompanied him during his 3 years of study in Europe. It was during this time that he mastered the use of a Braille machine to write text and music (he had previously composed works via dictation). After receiving a doctorate, Richter returned to Portland, and performed both locally and throughout the United States and Canada. He also taught piano, organ, and composition.

Following a brief marriage without children, he became reacquainted with his childhood friend Clara Rahn. The two developed a romance and married in September 1922. In 1924, the couple moved from Portland to Minnesota, where Richter continued to perform and teach, and served as the staff organist for Minneapolis radio station KSTP.

In 1938 Francis Richter and his wife moved to southern California with the intention that he would begin a career writing film soundtracks. However, Richter died suddenly on December 25, 1938 in Pasadena, California. He was buried at the Crystal Lake Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection primarily consists of sheet music written by Francis W. Richter. Included are the scores for Richter’s comic opera “The Grand Nazar,” his orchestral works “Symphonie in C Minor” and “Tone Pictures,” and shorter works. The collection also contains the sheet music for other composers’ works, including a braille transcription of Camille Saint-Saën’s “The Swan.” Additional materials in the collection include letters from Richter to his then-fiancée and future wife Clara Rahn, an account of Richter’s 1929 trip to New York, concert programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library prior to any use of reproductions. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use of reproductions may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright holders.

Preferred Citation

Francis W. Richter collection, Coll 584, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series A :   Biographical information ,  1949-2017 Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Biographical sketch by Mary Sue Waser and Karen K. French
2017
1/2
Xeroxes and printouts concerning Richter
circa 2017
1/3
Student essay, "Francis Richter, the Musical Genius"
English class paper by Willamette University student Ron Symons, whose grandmother had been Richter's neighbor. Includes a letter from Symons to Clara Rahn Richter.
1949 April 25-May 11

Series B :   Correspondence and personal accounts ,  1921-1938 Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/4
Francis Richter, Diary of trip to New York
Typed account by Richter about his trip to see a performance of Wagner's Ring Cycle.
1929 January
1/5
Letters from Richter to Clara Rahn
1921 July
1/6
Letters from Richter to Clara Rahn
1921 August
1/7
Letters from Richter to Clara Rahn
1921 September
1/8
Letters from Richter to Clara Rahn
1921 October-November
1/9
Letters from Richter to Clara Rahn
1922 January-April
2/1
Letters from Richter to Clara Rahn
1922 June-July
1/10
Letters from Richter to Clara Rahn
1922 August
1/11
Letter from Richter to neice, re move to California
1938 November 23

Series C :   Musical Scores ,  circa 1906-1920 Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1 : Symphonie in C Minor
circa 1916
Box/Folder
3/5
Orchestral score
3/1
Principal violin score
3/2-3/4
First violin scores
4/1-4/3
Second violin scores
4/4-4/6
Viola scores
4/7-4/8
Cello scores
5/1
Bass scores
5/2
Flute and oboe scores
5/3
Clarinet scores
5/4
Bassoon/contrabassoon scores
5/5
Trumpet scores
5/6
French horn scores
Cover of scores label instruments as "Corno I-II."
5/7
Trombone and tuba scores
5/8
Harp, timpani, and cymbal scores
Subseries 2 : "The Grand Nazar"
circa 1906
Box/Folder
6/1
Overture and songs
Comic opera composed by Richter, with words by George L. Hutchin.
6/2
First and second violin scores
6/3
Viola and cello scores
6/4
Bass scores
7/1
Clarinet scores
7/2
Oboe and bassoon scores
7/3
Flute scores
7/4
Trombone scores
7/5
Cornet scores
7/6
Horn scores
7/7
Timpani scores
Subseries 3 : "Tone Pictures"
Box/Folder
8/1-8/2
First violin scores
8/3-8/4
Second violin scores
8/5
Viola scores
8/6
Cello scores
8/7
Basso scores
8/8
Flute scores
8/9
Bassoon scores
8/10
Clarinet scores
8/11
Oboe scores
8/12
Horn scores
8/13
Trumpet scores
8/14
Trombone scores
8/15
Timpani and drum scores
8/16
Harp score
8/17
Conductor's score
Box/Folder
9/1
"Annie Rooney" scores
undated
9/2
"At the Shrine of the Rose"
circa 1920
9/3
March, "Don Quixote"
Score for band.
undated
9/4
March, "Grotesque"
1910 November
9/5
"Memory"
circa 1912
9/6
"My Beloved"
undated
9/7
Overture, "Pilgramage - Progress and Vision"
undated
9/8
"Quinlette"
undated
9/9
"Reponse a une Fluer pour Pinaforte"
undated
9/10
Waltzes, "Sounds from the Willamette"
undated
10/1
Song arrangements
undated
Subseries 4 : Music by others
Box/Folder
10/2
Beethoven, Third Piano concerto scores
10/3
Ede Poldini, "Marche Mignon"
Transcribed by Richter for orchestra.
10/4
Camille Saint-Saëns, "The Swan," piano score
Transcription in braille by Richter.
10/5
F. Waliczek, text "Herakles am Scheidewege"
1912
10/6
Miscellaneous sheet music by other composers
10/7
German song texts

Series D :   Other documents and ephemera ,  1912-1947 Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
10/8
Certificates from the American Guild of Organists
1918, 1919
1/13
Twin City Radio Weekly
1931 January 31
1/14
Memorial program for Dr. Franics Richter by Marjorie Ellis McCrady
1938 December 30
1/15
Memorial concerts
1940, 1947
1/16
Loose newspaper clippings
circa 1924-1938

Series E :   Photographs ,  circa 1895-1938 Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/17
Richter as a child
circa 1895-1898
Box 13
Richter as a child
Glass-mounted photograph.
Access to this item is restricted; facsimile in 1/17.
circa 1898
1/18
Concert program with photograph
1921
1/19, 2/2
Richter as a young man
circa 1907-1921
1/20
Richter as an older man
circa 1930-1938

Series F :   Scrapbooks ,  circa 1898-1925 Return to Top

Contain newspaper articles, concert programs, photographs, etc.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
Box 12
Scrapbook
circa 1895-1909
Box 11
Scrapbook
1909-circa 1925

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Blind--Oregon--Portland
  • Composers--Oregon--Portland
  • Personal Names :
  • Richter, Francis W. (Francis William), 1888-1938--Archives
  • Richter, Francis W. (Francis William), 1888-1938--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Portland (Or.)--Composers
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Printed ephemera
  • Scores
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sheet music
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • French, Karen K. (creator)
    • McCrady, Marjorie Ellis (creator)
    • Symons, Ron (creator)
    • Waser, Mary Sue (creator)